The region’s reliance on Israel: Insights from a former Al Jazeera journalist

Adnan Al-Ameri, a Yemeni-British journalist, wasn’t worried about being interviewed for an Israeli newspaper. He stated, “So be it. I’ll speak my mind however and wherever I need to.” The ex-journalist for Al Jazeera of southern Yemeni descent spoke to The Jerusalem Post from London, where he has lived for the past several years, working as a freelance journalist and publicist. He was born in Warrington, England to parents who emigrated from Aden, in South Arabia. Al-Ameri studied journalism at the October 6 University in Cairo, then returned to London and worked as a producer for the Arab News Network (ANN), an Arabic-speaking channel set up by Assad regime opponent – and first cousin of Bashar Assad – Siwar al-Assad. Following his short experience in London, Al-Ameri moved on to Doha to work for the media gargantuan and Qatari mouthpiece, Al Jazeera. “I presented and produced shows about technology and other subjects. I didn’t even begin to grasp anything about the political aspect of the channel.” The southern part of the Arabian Peninsula is a poverty-stricken area, torn by civil war, in what appears to be a vast battlefield for proxy wars between traces of Iranian, Qatari, and Saudi Emirati influences. The country internationally recognized as Yemen is currently split between the northern part with its capital in Sana’a, where a Houthi-led government is in alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood party Al-Islah (notedly, the Houthis are Iranian-backed Shia, whereas the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni), while the southern part is claimed by a Saudi Arabia and an UAE-backed independentist faction, eager to proclaim its statehood of South Arabia, with Aden, the important port city as its capital. As a native of Aden, Al-Ameri said he views himself as an unofficial ambassador of the independent South Arabia, with a mission to use his platforms to carry the voice of this forgotten cause worldwide. Al-Ameri also stressed the ideological differences between the north and the south. “Look at the Houthi slogan for instance. It openly says, after wishing death to America and Israel, ‘a curse upon the Jews.’ This is racist rhetoric – from a formal form of government! You won’t find much of that in the south.” Al-Ameri isn’t hesitant to discuss an alliance between Israel and an Arab force in Yemen openly. “Let me reassure you that though people may have their prejudices, they’re also very intrigued,” Al-Ameri explains calmly. “They know that our own allies see in Israel a potential ally and we trust them wholeheartedly. Even during the war there were videos circulating online showing people from the South tearing away billboards in support of Gaza.” “I have a dream of visiting Israel, maybe even through a formal invitation,” he allows himself to drift away. “I want to host a Twitter Space from Tel Aviv, document everything I see for the eyes of our youth, showcase to the youth of South Arabia that Israelis are human just like us, that they live and work like us, that they have cafes and tourism and all. This would make an immense impact and fill their hearts with hope for a better future.”