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NightWatch 20150226

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For the night of 26 February 2015

Yemen: The security situation is deteriorating. In his speech on 26 February, Abdalmalik al- Houthi accused President Hadi of being a pawn of Saudi Arabia and the US. He warned that domestic political factions would fail if they aligned themselves with Hadi. Al Houthi said the Saudis, "support fighting, and finance problems. All those who want the worst for Yemen are allying with Hadi."

"Our elder sister, the Saudi kingdom, doesn't respect the Yemenis and wants to impose here in Yemen the sequence of events and divisions that happened in Libya," al-Houthi said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar re-opened their embassies, in Aden, not in Sana'a. The Arab Gulf states are siding with the south

Stratfor reported that its sources reported the Houthis "will attack" Sunni tribes in southern Yemen. NightWatch has received similar information via separate channels. The reports are plausible, but not confirmed.

Stratfor also reported that the Houthis and their opponents seriously are considering a two-state solution to the instability. NightWatch has received similar information. In addition US Secretary of State Kerry accused Iran of contributing to the Houthi takeover in Sana'a. Iran strongly denied and denounced the US accusation.

Comment: The Houthis are in danger of overreaching politically and overextending militarily. In just a few weeks, they abandoned their stated policy of supporting a new inclusive government that was not corrupt and decided to become the government. Houthis are taking over as many Yemeni military bases and facilities as they can.

The Houthis have not provided an adequate explanation for the policy switch, but it apparently has tempted them to move into the more hostile regions of southern Yemen.

Open sources contain little information on the nature and extent of Iranian involvement. In his speech, Al-Houthi hinted at new benefactors, when he talked about alternatives to the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The southern tribes are fractious, but the relocation of the Saud, UAE and Qatari diplomatic missions might signal behind-the-scenes efforts to finance and forge a unified stand against the Houthis. If the Houthis succeed in consolidating control of Yemen, pro-Iranian countries will exist on three borders.

NightWatch expects Yemen to fragment violently, meaning it will devolve into civil war.

Ukraine: Ukraine has begun withdrawing its heavy artillery. News sources in different locations reported Ukrainian convoys removing guns from the line of contact today. The rebels announced they plan to complete their withdrawal by 4 March.

Comment: The ceasefire is holding. For the second day, both sides reported no deaths due to combat.

Correction: The Russian naval base in Syria is at Tartous, not Latakia. Thanks to Feedback for catching the error.

Special Administrative Announcement

A NightWatch Special Administrative Announcement last June informed Readers that changes were on the horizon for NightWatch. To better serve you, we conducted a survey of Readers' preferences. We received an overwhelming and positive response. Long-time Readers will note that NightWatch has incorporated the preferences and changes Readers said they wanted most. Included in these changes is the conversion of NightWatch to a paid subscription, which will begin 16 March 2015.

To our valued Readers, we are extending the enrollment date for current subscribers to 31 March 2015 during which time you will continue to receive NightWatch free of charge. In addition to a complimentary two week sign-up period, you will also receive a 40% discount on the monthly cost of $3.49 if you sign up for an annual subscription at a cost of $24.99.

As the period for subscription nears, we shall publish directions about how to sign up and make payment, starting 16 March. NightWatch has been a free service for eight years. We hope through subscriptions we can continue to provide this service for years to come.

End of NightWatch for 26 February.

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