Yemeni political actors met in Aden and called for the establishment of an alternative capital to Sana’a in either Aden or Taiz, both former capitals, on February 15. There appears to be growing support for an alternative government or regional autonomy throughout Yemen. Sana’a-based politicians reached an agreement to form a new transitional council composed of underrepresented groups, but could not agree on a way forward for Yemen’s executive branch.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reinforced the concept of Iran’s “Economy of Resistance” in a February 18 speech as a reaction to the West’s continued economic pressure on Iran. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani added that the resistance economy did not imply Iran would close itself off from the global economy.
Al Shabaab claimed credit for the bombing of a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, that killed and injured dozens of people, including Somali government officials, on February 20. Al Shabaab has lost control of some of its strongholds in Somalia, but still maintains its capability to conduct asymmetric attacks.