On April 27th, the Saudi puppet government in Yemen has warned of a catastrophe if the country’s powerful separatist movement forges ahead with its declaration of self-rule over the key port city of Aden and other southern provinces.
On April 26th, the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced the self-rule of Aden city in Yemen.
Aden is the government of the Saudi-backed puppet government in the country, that’s fighting over the Houthis.
The Southern Transitional Council’s armed forces were deploying in Aden, where the seat of the government backed by the Saudi-led military coalition is located. Until now this included the STC.
The Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared a state of emergency and said it would “self-govern” the key southern port city of Aden and other southern provinces.
The council accused Yemen’s Saudi-backed government of corruption and mismanagement.
“The Southern Transitional Council announces a self-administration rule in the south, as of midnight Saturday, April 25th 2020,” the council’s statement read.
Muhammad Al-Hadhrami, Yemen’s foreign minister, said the STC’s latest move amounted to a withdrawal from the Riyadh agreement.
“The announcement by the so-called transitional council of its intention to establish a southern administration is a resumption of its armed insurgency … and an announcement of its rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh agreement,” Al-Hadhrami said in a statement.
“The so-called transitional council will bear alone the dangerous and catastrophic consequences for such an announcement,” he added.
It is unlikely that the STC took the decision without UAE’s backing, so this is another signal that Riyadh’s allies are losing confidence in the Kingdom’s abilities to settle the conflict against the Houthis.
Alkhader Sulaiman, a spokesman for the STC based in the United States, told Al Jazeera the separatist group was forced to take matters into its hands because of the government’s failure to provide basic services.
“This is not an event that just sprung out of nowhere. This is a pile-up of mismanagement, misgovernance, especially in south Yemen, which has been Houthi-less for four years now. Unfortunately, things have deteriorated humanitarian wise. The situation, in terms of basic services, is minimal,” he said.
“In the past few days, there has been a complete shutdown of electricity, water and sewage services.”
He accused the Saudi puppet government of failing to deliver on the Riyadh agreement and said: “We are still calling for a ceasefire, de-escalation on all fronts. We want things to go smoothly and we want to be able to deliver aid, battle this pandemic across the country and we want to be able to contain the situation.”
The UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said he found the STC move concerning. “Now, more than ever, all political actors must cooperate in good faith, refrain from taking escalatory actions, and put the interests of Yemenis first,” he stressed.
This isn’t the first time the STC has attempted to take things into its own hands.
Earlier in April 2020, the STC took Socotra island under its control, after which the Saudi-led coalition recaptured it.
In August 2019, it started attacking the Saudi-led coalition’s forces in Aden in a series of clashes.
Clashes began on August 9th and ceased briefly on August 11th 2019 following a meeting between the Saudi Crown Prince and UAE. The STC agreed to withdraw from several checkpoints it had captured during the clashes and UAE denied supporting STC’s clashes against the Saudi-led coalition.
STC vacated some positions in Aden on August 17th 2019.
Clashes continued with lower intensity in Aden on August 16th 2019 after STC forces refused to withdraw from some of their captured positions. On August 21st, UAE rejected allegations that it was behind the developments in Aden.
On August 29th 2019 Saudi-led forces recaptured most of the neighborhoods they had lost to the STC, including Aden’s International Airport. By the next day however STC forces recaptured most of Aden again. The Saudi-led coalition accused UAE of launching airstrikes against its troops, killing at least 30.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Collapse Of Riyadh Agreement: UAE-backed Forces Declare De-Facto Independence Of Southern Yemen
- Military Situation In Yemen On April 26, 2020 (Map Update)