Political Observation - Instability in Yemen and Dominance of Southern Transitional Council over Socotra

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Instability in Yemen and Dominance of Southern Transitional Council over Socotra 

On Friday 19 June, UAE-backed forces of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) stormed the building of the local administration in Socotra. Sources confirmed to Al-Jazeera that STC forces dominated the building of the Socotra security directorate in the city of Hadiboh, as clashes continued between government forces and armed STC operatives around the western gate of the city. A government source told Aljazeera that the Yemeni presidency had contacted Saudi authorities and requested their intervention in Socotra but to no avail. 

The unfolding events in Yemen fall within the framework of the American initiative in the region and specifically within the context of liquidating the remnants of the “Arab Spring Revolutions” through the deep state and the forces averse to the volition of the people of the region who have not been allowed to rebel against the regimes and who have only been assisted by the West to let them vent their anger, make them despair of achieving liberation and revival, and to bring them back to the house of obedience, thus paving the way for an impotent Middle East due to the sectarian, ethnic, regional and federal fragmentation, and due to the distortion of the identity, effacement of the memory and the unprecedented squandering of resources, not to mention the official Arab regimes’ grovelling to enter into an alliance with the Jewish entity and their collusion to liquidate the Palestinian issue and safeguard the interests of the West in the region. 

This narrative is reflected in the reversal of the balance of power and in the heavy blow dealt to the Islamists after they had been exhausted in the bid to contain and frame the intifada, and in the shift of the compass of animosity away from the Jewish entity towards Iran which in turn has fared well in its role as a scarecrow to the states of the region. It is also reflected in the haste of the rulers to deal openly with the Jews, and the arrangements pertinent to Donald Trump’s initiative in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. And the Yemeni struggle is categorised within the framework of this strategic transformation that has transferred the leadership of the phase from Qatar and Turkey to Saudi and the Emirates. The struggle is aimed at liquidating the forces credited for the Arab revolutions and finalising the stages of dismantling and restructuring the region, especially as the main actors in the events, namely Saudi, the UAE and Egypt, are the most affected by the revolutions and the most belligerent towards the people of the region and towards what is dubbed as “political Islam” such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, al-Nahda Movement Tunisia, Justice and Construction Party and the armed groups in Libya, the Congregation for Reform (al-Islah) in Yemen and the National Congress Party in Sudan. 

As the forces of the STC entered the city of Hadiboh, capital of the Socotra governorate, the council announced that it had completed its dominance over the governorate from those it described as “Muslim Brotherhood militias”. And although federation is the theme of the American initiative for the countries of the region, the precedent of Yemen’s division and the sectoral struggles providing fuel for its fragmentation anew, such as exploiting the assassination of General Munir Mahmoud al-Mashali on 1 August 2019, commander of the 1st Brigade affiliated to the STC, by the Council’s vice-president Hani bin Breik in order to implicate the government of Hadi and the Congregation for Reform in the assassination and seeking to dominate Aden, thus over-shadowing the Houthis’ claim of responsibility, all this, in addition to the steps undertaken by the STC since it rebelled against the Hadi government, such as declaring a state of emergency and establishing self-rule for the southern governorates, indicates very clearly that the steps aimed at liquidating the remnants of the Congregation for Reform and the military and tribal forces that backed the revolution, headed by the vice-president General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, are underway, as well as the steps aimed at undermining the “legitimacy” of president Hadi and undertaking robust practical actions to separate the south of Yemen from the north, especially as the structure of the forces backed by Saudi and the UAE were from the onset prone to strife and division between the leaders of the STC and the Hadi government, and they were overburdened with the sectoral struggle and the consequences of the 1994 war, against a backdrop of the regional stances between Abyan, the hometown of president Hadi, which backed the north in confronting the secession, and al-Dali, which sided with the secessionists.

Hence, there is no struggle between Saudi and the UAE as some observers may imagine, but rather an exchange of roles mingled with the personal wishes of bin Salman and bin Zayed with each one of them attempting to project himself as the more influential servant of their American master in the Yemeni issue. What corroborates the collusion of Saudi and the UAE during the recent events in weakening the government in Aden further and empowering the STC with the so-called legitimacy, thus heralding the secession of the south that had been initiated by the STC by rebelling against president Hadi and announcing its “preparation for the rise of the state” with the blessing of Saudi and the UAE in August 2019 is perhaps the apprehensions expressed by Dr Mohammed Saleh Ahmed Jumeh, Permanent Delegate of Yemen to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and his request on Friday 19 June 2020 to call his government to account by saying: “The unfolding events in Yemen indicate that the Yemenis should call the legitimacy into question”, in addition to the statements by the sheikh of the Socotra tribes and some officials in which they accused Saudi and the UAE of colluding with the STC, especially as the Saudi forces were mere bystanders during the events of Socotra. This confirms the doubts expressed by certain leaders about the despicable role Saudi and the UAE played in the coup staged by the STC against the Hadi government in August 2019. In this context, deputy parliament speaker Abdul Aziz Jabari accused Saudi and the Emirates of “cutting the throat of the legitimacy from ear to ear” and described their crime as more repugnant than what al-Houthi had done by saying: “al-Houthi did not harm the legitimacy the way you have done”. Interior minister, Ahmed al-Maysari, for his part accused the presidency institution and Saudi of “keeping silent over the UAE-backed coup of the STC”, which indicates the collusion of president Hadi with the UAE, Saudi and the US through the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths in aggravating the situation and driving the country towards division. Griffiths has been weakening the south and attenuating its frontline, hampering the negotiations between the Houthis and the Yemeni government, and cooling the battlefront between Ansar Allah and the Alliance by confining the negotiations to humanitarian, health-related and peripheral issues; and this will enable al-Houthi to tighten its grip on the north and prevent the unity of Yemen, and at the same time, regulate the process of division and end the Yemeni war to coincide with the arrangements for handing the reins of power in Saudi to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman who has made his war in Yemen part of the exigencies and credentials for assuming power. 

The gloomier scenario however is that the recent events, i.e. the seizure of Socotra by the STC is directed by the Emirates towards fragmenting south Yemen and turning it into a federation, especially after the STC announced on 25 April 2020 that it had assumed the self-rule in Aden and surrounding areas and previously expressed its intention to “recapture the federal independent state of the south.”

Those collaborating rulers have filled the hearts of the Muslims with pus due to their innumerable crimes. It is high time the men of this Ummah who believe in the promise of their Lord, the guidance of their Book and the Sunnah of their Messenger ﷺ took their rejection of these regimes and their protests against them further, turning them into a disciplined and fruitful action leading to toppling those collaborating criminal rulers from their thrones, saving the lives of the Ummah’s children and restoring her unity and dignity.

“O you who have believed If you remain conscious of Allah, He will endow you with a standard by which to discern the true from the false.” [al-Anfal-29] 

28 Shawwal 1441h
20 June 2020