UAE-Backed Separatists Take South Yemen Oil Fields

STC forces seize Ataq

Fighting over the future of South Yemen continues to grow, with fighters of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a separatist movement backed by the UAE, amassing gains in the Shabwa Province, most recently taking the important city of Ataq.

Shabwa has seen a lot of shuffling of local leaders at orders from the pro-Saudi government. The STC and the government have been fighting off and on in recent years, despite attempts at power-sharing.

The most recent focus in Shabwa is to take over oil and natural gas fields, where the Giants Brigade, a very successful STC force, has been overrunning oil fields.

It’s not clear what anyone’s long-term  plan is, but the French government is said to be in talks with the UAE about sending Foreign Legion into Shabwa to protect gas exports. The gas would be meant for Europe to replace what gone been missing since the Russia-Ukraine war cut off supplies.

With warring nations keen  to get more foreign interest in Yemen, they may see the gas deal as leverage for French involvement. It’s not clear how this is going to shake out, but clearly there is a rush for Shabwa.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.