Al Jazeera America quotes Rafik Hariri Center Acting Director Danya Greenfield on Yemeni President Hadi’s decision to transform the country into a six region federation:

Danya Greenfield, an expert on regional politics and economics at the Atlantic Council, told Al Jazeera that there is a major confidence gap between the south and central government – primarily because the government is unwilling or unable to deal with outstanding southern grievances.

“The south seeks a unified southern region with an autonomous government in order to be able to defend against marginalization by the northern state,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield said that the government did not prioritize the implementation of a 20-point action plan included in the final NDC agreement. The plan addressed outstanding grievances held by the south, including systemic discrimination and land seizures by northern groups with connections to the government.

“These were measures put in place for confidence building in the south, but southerners haven’t really seen tangible benefits. Ultimately a constitutional referendum won’t succeed unless Hadi demonstrates a good faith effort to implement the 20 points,” she said. “They must convince southerners that it is in their best interest to remain part of a unified state, otherwise it’s going to be nearly impossible to implement a federal system within a unified state.”

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