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article imageOp-Ed: Yemen Hadi government and STC agree to ceasefire on Socotra

By Ken Hanly     May 4, 2020 in Politics
Fighting in the island of Socotra off the southern coast of Yemen halted as forces loyal to the Saudi-Supported Hadi government and the Southern Transitional Council supported by the UAE fought for the provincial capital of Hadibo.
Both sides agreed to a deal that would see them stop pushing into the area. Military vehicles and heavy weapons are to leave the area.
Forces loyal to Hadi government controlled Hadibo
The Hadi forces were being attacked by forces of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) a southern separatist movement that has been backed by the UAE. The STC has claimed it is operationally independent. Earlier Socotra Governor Ramzi Mahrous had said in a brief national TV broadcast that his forces had confronted the STC forces and managed to stop their advance.
Background
The UAE and the Saudis are nominally allies in a fight designed to drive out Houthi rebels who control most of the north of Yemen including the capital Sanaa. However, the UAE supported the STC and took over a number of provinces in the south of the country. There was an agreement with the UAE that the STC would receive important posts in a Hadi government which prevented escalation of the battle between the two allies. However, the Hadi government was unhappy with the idea of sharing government with the STC rebels. The STC for their part have now declared they rule the south. As Al Jazeera reported: "Early on April 26, 2020, the STC declares self-rule for the south, effective retroactively from midnight."A self-governing committee will start its work according to a list of tasks assigned by the council's presidency," it says."
Socotra is considered to be a very valuable location off the coast of south Yemen. The UAE is interested in establishing a substantial base there in the future. If their allies the STC had control of the island the UAE could count on being able to establish such a base. The Hadi government along with it supporters the Saudis would be loathe to have the island under the control of the STC. However, given the location of the island it is far from parts of Yemen that are controlled by the Hadi government. The island has historically been tied to South Yemen and it is reported that some groups on the island have been aligned with the STC for months. It seems likely that the present ceasefire will be fragile but at least for now the two sides can concentrate on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic..
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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