Yemen's internationally-acknowledged government has appointed Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak as the new prime minister, replacing Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed.
This unexpected move is anticipated to provoke dissatisfaction from the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. Bin Mubarak takes over during a period of heightened tensions in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, marked by a series of Red Sea attacks by Houthis, leading to retaliatory actions from the United States and Britain.
The announcement of Bin Mubarak's appointment came through a decree issued by Yemen's presidential council, as reported by the official Saba news agency. The former foreign minister is recognized as a strong opponent of the Houthi rebels, who had previously abducted him in 2015, holding him captive for several days. Bin Mubarak, a former ambassador to the US, previously served as the chief of staff of Yemen's presidential office and held the position of the country's envoy to the United Nations in 2018.
Experts suggest that Bin Mubarak played a significant role in the Saudi-led coalition that intervened against the Houthis in 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government, following the Houthis capture of the capital, Sanaa, in the previous year. Mohammed Al Basha, a Yemen expert with the Navanti research group, noted that Bin Mubarak's appointment is likely to escalate tensions between the Houthis and the internationally-recognized government, considering his history as a longtime adversary of the rebel group.
The Houthis, aligned with the anti-Western and anti-Israel "axis of resistance" supported by Iran, have been disrupting Red Sea shipping for several months, prompting retaliatory actions from the US and the UK. The appointment of Bin Mubarak as the new prime minister is expected to further strain the already complex dynamics in Yemen's ongoing conflict.