South Yemen Separatists Use Houthi Truce to Expand Offensive Against al-Qaeda

Truce allows group to focus on growing Islamist influence

Al-Qaeda’s Yemen wing has been hitting the Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatists in southern Yemen in recent weeks. Indications are that deals taking pressure off the STC elsewhere may allow them to refocus. This includes a truce with the Houthis.

Fighting has been in Abyan Province, where al-Qaeda now controls local districts after recent fighting. The STC will not only push back there, but also in Shabwa.

Yemen’s al-Qaeda, or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has used the Yemen War to gain territory on the periphery, often cooperating with pro-Saudi forces in fighting the Shi’ite Houhis.

With the pro-Saudi side stalemated in South Yemen, they’re increasingly at odds with the UAE-backed STC. Deals are meant to see them power-sharing for the duration of the war, but both sides are fighting almost constantly.

The STC is a serious force in southern Yemen, and keen to maintain itself as a force if and when the war ends, to try to reassert South Yemen.

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.