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article imageOp-Ed: Yemen STC separatists take control of key island Socotra

By Ken Hanly     Jun 22, 2020 in Politics
The internationally recognized Hadi Yemen government which is supported by Saudi Arabia has lost control of the large island off the south of the Yemen coast to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) a UAE-backed separatist group.
Hadi Yemen government calls action a coup
The UAE is already an ally of the STC in establishing separatist control of the south of much of the mainland. However, the Saudis support the Hadi government which is opposed to the separatists and wants a united Yemen. The STC wants a separate state in the south as existed some time ago. The UAE hopes to have a Southern Yemen within which it will have considerable influence. STC control of Socotra will help further such an aim.
UAE and Saudis are nominally united in a fight against the Houthis
The Hadi government and the UAE are nominally united in fighting the Houthi rebels who control much of the north of Yemen including the capital Sanaa. The Houthis are supported by Iran. Together with the UAE the STC has taken control of much of the south of the country causing an internal struggle and fighting the Saudis who support Hadi. There was an agreed upon ceasefire in which the STC was to be given seats in the Hadi cabinet. However, the Hadi government resisted the terms.
The Saudis may be tiring of the Hadi government's resistance to Saudi attempts to resolve the situation and come to a peace agreement. The Hadi government sees Saudi agreements with the UAE and STC as a betrayal and that seizure of Socotra by STC as another betrayal.
Ceasefire agreement between Saudis and STC
According to the Saudi-led military mission fighting the Houthis, the Yemen government and the STC have agreed not only to a ceasefire but to begin talks on implementing an earlier deal; The former coalition allies agreed to a ceasefire in Abyan province a major hotspot and de-escalation of tension in other areas.
The STC and the Hadi government also agreed to hold meetings on implementation of the 2019 Riyadh agreement according to coalition spokesperson Turki al-Malki. The statement was carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. It seems that the Saudis have persuaded the Hadi government to go along with the peace terms. The Saudis appear to want to end the war and the STC are willing to accept the terms of the deal it would seem. If Hadi does not comply his government will probably lose the support of the Saudis. The Saudi campaign has been roundly criticized by many especially for a bombing campaign that has killed many civilians and destroyed infrastructure creating a humanitarian disaster.
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
More about Socotra, Yemen Saudi relations, Southern Transitional Council
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