The STC: Dynamic Change in the FACE of Complexities


Sun, 04-07-2021 02:35 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

Since his return to the South Yemeni city of Aden on the first day of May, the STC’s President Aidarous Al-Zubaidi has not yet completed the process of comprehensive structural and institutional change inside the STC on the security, military, political and organizational levels.

The STC is the most organized entity in Yemen in light of the current conflict as well as the most influential and popular power in South according to researchers.1

The latest dynamics of change come in conjunction with the STC’s ambition to restore South which has united with North politically in 1990, as well as to boost  its position as “the bearer of Southerners’ aspirations” and a representative of their cause in the face of the complexities which obstruct its path.

Over the past period, the STC has been subjected to internal and external criticism after a stage of organizational deadlock that has affected its work during the past months due to its leaders’ preoccupation with the military and political conflict against Hadi Government, on the one side, and against the Houthis on the other side.

The military and security side

According to military observers, the decision to separate security and military forces is the most important among the recent changes. Al Al-Zubaidi announced the separation between Security Belt Forces and the Support & Reinforcement Brigades, which are the most prominent forces in South along with Storm (Asifa), Thunderbolt (Saeka), Resistance, and Giant Brigades.

On June 25, Al-Zubaidi appointed Brigadier Mohsen Al Wali to command the Security Belt Forces, and Brigadier Mokhtar Al Noubi as Deputy Commander. He also selected Brigadier Saleh Al Sayed to be the new Commander of Support & Reinforcement Brigades, and Brigadier Ali Nassir Al Moaakar as the latter’s Chief of the General Staff.

Support & Reinforcement Brigades have participated effectively in the STC’s battles against the “terrorist” groups such as the Arab Peninsula’s Qaeda. Brigadier Munir Al Yafi (Abu Al Yamama) is one of the most prominent founders of “Support Brigades” who was killed by a missile attack claimed by the Houthis in August 2019.

Al-Zubaidi has agreed to move the “Support Brigades’ commanding Headquarter outside the governorate of Aden and merge it within the Ground Brigades (Army)of the Southern Forces to operate under the leadership of the Ground Forces, under the Ministry of Defense.

The STC’s President has assigned the Security Belt Forces to perform the “police and security missions” and to work within the structure of the Interior Ministry.

Leaders of the Backup and Support Forces during the handover ceremony (official)

These decisions have been justified as being part of STC’s preparations to implement the military side of the Riyadh Agreement which actually includes such items.

However, such an Explanation could collide with the attempts of the other party of The Agreement as it is unlikely, according to observers, that the forces affiliated with the Yemeni Presidency implement the military side of the Agreement and withdraw from the southern areas they have reseized in 2019 as well as Hadhramaut in which they have been based much earlier.

In general, the STC believes that such decisions are correctional measures for South’s military and security establishments, and for eliminating the duplicity in missions which has caused a lot of troubles in the southern governorates, especially Aden, after the recent clashes among members of these units in Sheikh Othman.

Earlier to the decision, Captain Mohammed Al Naqip was appointed as the Spokesman of the South’s Army and Security.

In early June, Al-Zubaidi appointed former Aden’s Security Chief, General Shalal Ali Shaye’a as a Commander-in-Chief of The Counter-Terrorism Forces after a series of operations and threats by the Arab Peninsula’s Qaeda against STC as its affiliated forces.

By solidifying the role of the Security Belt as police forces, and separating them from the army, as well as appointing leadership to combat terrorism, a tendency could be noticed towards boosting South’s security amid the increase of “terrorist attacks” against southern forces.  The STC has accused members of the government of President Hadi of supporting such attacks. However, there is no governmental denial of that.

These decisions were preceded by field visits conducted by Al-Zubaidi and other STC’s military and political leaders to various army and security camps, in the axes of Abyan, Yafa, Al Dhalea and Radfan.