Regionalism Threatens the Unity of the Southern Transitional Council

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-11-23 11:44 AM UTC


The 56th anniversary of the independence of South Yemen and the departure of the final British soldiers from Aden on November 30, 1967,will be celebrated within a week. On this anniversary, the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) aspires to make decisions that will bring it closer to declaring the State of the South.


The STC seized Shabwah in August 2022, and it has been attempting to take over the oil-rich Hadramout province. However, Saudi Arabia obstructed the STC attempts to control Hadramout fully. While the STC has grown powerful over the past six years,  old disputes have revived, and such disagreements may lead to its dismantling. 


Sheba Intelligence obtained audio recordings revealing the escalation of regional discourse within the members of the STC, which makesYemenis in the southern provinces recall the civil war between two factions within the Socialist Party in January 1986, in which thousands were killed.


Dozens of armed men from Yafa’a tribes gathered in the Al-Tawahi district in Aden. This gathering, according to its advocates, comes after its people felt marginalized, accusing STC political, military,and security leaders of plundering their lands and insulting their tribes. Yafa’a tribe is one of the largest in Yemen and is considered the second pillar, after Dhale, on which the STC relies. 


One of the leaders affiliated with the Yafa’a tribesaid in an audio recording,” We must prepare to strike with an iron hand to discipline Shalal’s followers.” Shalal Shayea is the former Aden security director and is affiliated with the Al-Dhalea tribes.


The fever of regional conflict moved from the field to the closed meetings of the supreme bodies of the STC. The regular meeting of the presidency of the STC, which was held on Tuesday in Aden, was halted for hours after mutual threats of liquidation between leaders in the Council. Some of them are affiliated with the Al-Dhale tribes, and others are affiliated with the Yafa’a tribes, which belong to Abyan and Lahj provinces.


Sources who attended the meeting told Sheba Intelligence that the Speaker of the National Assembly and Acting President of the STC, Abdullah Al-Kathiri, who belongs to Hadramout, was able to reduce the tension that almost led to an armed clash between the members of the two tribes and the meeting was adjourned for hours.


Some of those affiliated with the Yafa’a tribesaccused the President of the STC, Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, of abandoning the southern issue and the right to self-determination and aligning with political negotiations to secure his political future, especially after his appointment as a member of the Presidential Leadership Council. 


That matter aroused the anger of the member of the Presidency of the STC and the former governor of Al-Dhale, Fadl Al-Jaadi, who accused those who questioned Al-Zubaidi’s loyalty to the southern issue of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.