Yemen's Southern Transitional Council reshuffle strengthens body, analysts say

Decision empowers STC 'politically, militarily and security-wise'

Yemen's Southern Transitional Council chief Aidaroos Al Zubaidi at a national assembly meeting in Mukalla in 2019. AFP
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A reshuffle in Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council to include two additional members of the ruling Presidential Leadership Council has made it the strongest body in the country's south, analysts say.

STC head Aidaroos Al Zubeidi — who is also vice president of the PLC — appointed Giants Brigades chief Abdul Rahman Saleh Zain Al Mahrami to the body and made former governor of Hadramawt Faraj Salmeen Muhammad Al Bahsani the council's vice chairman.

As Mr Al Mahrami and Mr Al Bahsani are both members of the PLC, the STC now includes three of the PLC's eight members.

“The reshuffle itself has been expected as the STC is now in its sixth year since launch, but some of the names included were not,” Jacob Sufyani of the South24 think tank told The National.

“This reshuffle strengthens the STC politically, militarily and security-wise as the Giants Brigades and STC — the two strongest bodies in Yemen's south — are united.”

Created in April 2017, the STC supports independence from Yemen's north, to bring the situation back to what it was in 1990 before the south, then-known as the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, was united with the Yemen Arab Republic.

A source at the STC told The National the reshuffle would improve performance as previous leaders of the council were “not up to par”.

“The council was set up in 2017 during a difficult and sensitive time and there was not enough time to accurately assess and select the most efficient leadership,” the source said.

“The reshuffle also came to allow other southern components, which have recently joined the council, to become active members of it.”

It also came on the heels of the Southern National Consultative Meeting, which concluded in Aden on Sunday. During the meeting, several southern bodies also officially joined the STC.

One of the meeting's most significant outcomes was the signing of the Southern National Pact, which says the “south state is built on the basis of a federal, democratic, civil, Arab and Islamic state”, with the political system based on the separation of powers and “political pluralism”, South24 reported.

The SNP criminalises “the establishment of political parties on religious, sectarian, ethnic or regional basis” and upholds “values of tolerance, moderation, coexistence and acceptance of others”.

It also calls for equal rights between men and women and the reformation of state institutions to be more inclusive towards women and youths.

More announcements are expected within the STC's General Secretariat and the National Assembly, the source said.

Updated: May 09, 2023, 3:14 PM