Yemen is sliding into chaos, UN special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, told Al Arabiya News Channel late Wednesday, saying "we believe the situation is very dangerous. Yemen is on the brink of civil war.”
“The United Nations’ position vis-à-vis the Yemeni crisis is clear: conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means,” Benomar added. “The United Nations has no choice except to stay with Yemenis to support them in this situation and help them work a deal."
He said that “all” Yemeni factions had contributed to the political and economic disturbance.
"They are all party to what has happened so far, they have all made mistakes and follies and sometimes groups resorted to violence to realize political aims. And some groups used political maneuvers to impede the political process,” the envoy added.
Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seized a large Yemeni army base during a dawn attack Thursday, Al Jazeera reported, and the government responded with airstrikes just hours later.
Ansar al-Sharia, an umbrella group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, captured the compound in the southern province of Shabwa after several hours of heavy clashes, residents and local news outlets said.
The fighters claimed via Twitter that they had set off a suicide bomb at the gates and “imprisoned most of the soldiers inside.” The base had held a brigade of up to 2,000 government soldiers.
A local tribal source told Al Jazeera that in seizing the base, the group had acquired a total of 25 tanks, dozens of armored vehicles and trucks and some anti-aircraft rockets.
Al-Qaeda and other Sunni Muslim militias have increased their attacks since the Houthis — a pro-Iranian Shia Muslim group – seized Sana'a in September.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has no plans to take military steps to safeguard its interests in neighboring Yemen following the Houthi takeover, a senior Gulf official told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The GCC strongly condemned what it described as a “blatant coup” by the Houthi rebels against the legitimate government of outgoing president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, warning that it undermined the peaceful transition of power and showed a disregard toward national stability.
The GCC has called on the UN Security Council to act swiftly to put an end to the coup before Yemen descends into further unrest.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, a senior GCC official said there was currently coordination among the six member states to formulate a firm stance towards the situation in Yemen.