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East Yemen former ruling dynasty calls to revive Mahra Sultanate

Amid Saudi Arabia’s growing military influence over the easternmost corner of Yemen, Al Mahrah’s former ruling dynasty wants independence.

“It was not our will to be integrated into Yemen, we were forced to,” claimed Abdullah bin Essa al-Afar, whose late father was the last sultan of the Mahra Sultanate of Qishn and Socotra. In 1967, the ruler was deposed and the region incorporated into newly formed South Yemen, thus discontinuing a generations-old hereditary dynastic tradition.

Half a century later, Afar told Al-Monitor about the intention to revive the sultanate in a bid to counter an influence campaign led by the United Arab Emirates since 2015 and Saudi Arabia since late 2017 over the remote Yemeni governorate of Al Mahrah.

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