South Yemen Separatists Demands Govt Forces Withdraw

Govt pullout is condition for unity agreement

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), the main separatist group in South Yemen, issued a statement Wednesday demanding that the Hadi government withdraw all forces from southern and eastern provinces, terming it a precondition for a return to the unity government.

The STC has long sought to split Yemen back along its pre-Saleh lines of north and south, and doesn’t see a role for the Hadi government in the south. The Saudis convinced them to join a power-sharing deal after the STC physically took much of the south.

This might’ve worked, but the Hadi government followed up by resisting giving any power to the STC, arguing they were never elected, whereas Hadi was at least nominally elected in a rigged, UN vote.

While the Saudis gave lip service to eventually fixing this, the STC had by this point given up. Now, they suggest that the only way they want to come back to this process at all is if the Hadi forces withdraw first.

This will likely be rejected, though if they did withdraw, it’s not clear if the STC would try to just take over outright or work on a deal with them as de facto occupiers of South Yemen. Likely when it is rejected the STC will use it as evidence that Hadi never wanted to make a deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.