Yemen's Southern Separatists Seek to Dislodge Hadramout-Based Opposing Military Forces

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-02-04 06:20 PM UTC


The President of the Southern TransitionalCouncil, Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, demanded that the cities of the Hadhramout Valley and Desert and Al-Mahra Governorate be handed over to the Hadhrami Elite Forces, a move aimed at boosting the separatist takeover of South Yemen. 

Al-Zubaidi said in a speech yesterday, "The complete chaos that the cities of the Hadramout Valley and Desert and Al-Mahra are experiencing requires the handover of the security file to forces that belonged to these areas." 

The Hadhrami Elite is a secessionist military force backed by the UAE. Over the past six years, the separatist forces have taken over all southern provinces except for Hadramout and Al-Mahra. 

Lately, the separatists have intensified efforts to dislodge the Nation's Shield Forces and other military units loyal to the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC), which is the UN-recognized authority in Yemen. 

The PLC established the Nation's Shield Forces last year with support from Saudi Arabia. The present escalation of the southern separatistspoints to the continued UAE-Saudi rifts in Hadramout. 

While the two Gulf countries launched a war on Yemen's Houthis and liberated South Yemen from Houthi forces in 2015, they pursued divergent agendas and supported conflicting militant groups. 

Last year, Saudi Arabia began improving its relations with the Iran-backed group after seven years of war. The two sides were about to sign a peace agreement. However, the Gaza-Israel war impeded the peace progress. 

The Saudi-Houthi rapprochement frustrated the UAE, according to a Gulf diplomat. The diplomat told Sheba Intelligence, "Abu Dhabi informed the Office of the United Nations Envoy and the Office of the United States Envoy that it is completely frustrated with Saudi Arabia's efforts to end the war in Yemen at a time when the Houthis are launching naval attacks on the Bab al-Mandab Strait."

Today, the escalation by southern separatists in Hadramout mirrors the UAE-Saudi deepening rift in South Yemen.