A Reading into the Meeting of STC and P5 Heads of Mission


Tue, 23-11-2021 03:34 PM, Aden

Ayad Qassem (South24) 

The earlier phase of the Yemeni war led to developments that can be described as "important", which were reflected to some extent on the mechanism of dealing with the international community and its major countries with the actors in Yemen, mainly in South.

This engagement shaped in light of the war consequences and the battles course between the internationally recognized government, the STC and the Houthis, on one hand, and in light of the blockage of the horizon that accompanied the efforts of the "stalled" peace process led by the UN Envoys, the US Special Envoy to Yemen, and other mediation efforts and Gulf states initiatives, on the other hand.

For the local observer in Yemen, especially in South, it was assumed that these changes in the course of international efforts came early, an expression of the reality imposed by the parties on the ground, as well as the nature of issues with deep roots, such as the issue of South Yemen or what is known as the "Southern Cause", which would have at least limited, if not prevented a series of military and economic failures, the deterioration of the living and humanitarian situation of citizens, and the growing threats of Houthis and "terrorist" groups.

It is not easy for the international decision-maker to have a different view of the facts on the ground, in light of the unremitting efforts of political, diplomatic and media bodies to distort the facts or flatten them with the aim of staying in the circle of traditional relations, prolonging the war, and investing it to expand the logistical and military gain of some local and regional parties and circumvent around the solutions of central issues.

The nature of the threats posed by the Iranian-backed Houthi group to local, regional and international security, as the Saudi-led Coalition accuses of reinforces the need to find local partners capable of keeping international interests safe. These threats may have been manifested in the Houthis’ insistence on rejecting international peace efforts and seeking to storm and control the city of Marib, the last stronghold of the government in North Yemen, or the excessive use of weapons, allegedly Iranian, in air attacks which targeted military, civilian, and public facilities inside Yemen and in Saudi Arabia, as well as threatening international navigation in the Red Sea.

It is known that the Saudi-led Coalition forces will not remain indefinitely in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has already withdrawn most of its military and human equipment from the cities of Aden, Shabwa, Mahrah and Hadramout in South Yemen, during the past three weeks. Moreover, the Coalition countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for example, will not be able to maintain their political influence which provides them with a measure of strategic security, whether with regard to land borders with Saudi Arabia or maritime traffic, without finding reliable partners.

There are those who read the Saudi invitation to the STC President to visit Riyadh in this strategic context. (1)

During the past weeks, the largest city in South Yemen, Aden, witnessed diplomatic efforts and an international movement that resulted in a number of "constructive" meetings (2) with the Riyadh Agreement government and the STC, the most important of which was the visit of the European Union ambassadors, the UN envoy and the US delegation to the city.

Therefore, it can be said that the nature of this strategic shift in dealing with the actors in Yemen is also reinforced by the talks held by the STC President with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council yesterday in Riyadh. The importance of the meeting stems from:

First: It is the first of this high level for the STC with the major five countries within the Security Council.

Second: It coincides with remarkable developments in the military scene, especially on the West Coast of Yemen, on the Red Sea.

Although the Joint Forces led-battles (their biggest component are the Southern Giants Forces), now southeast of Hodeidah, the nature of their goals is still not clear, if they are there only to prevent the Houthis from taking control of Marib, and therefore it can be considered as a stimulating "dose" over a table of political intersections and plans which has nothing to do with the liberation of Sanaa, or indeed it is a strategic step that paves the way for changing the course of the battles that could lead to radical political transformations.

Third: The meeting includes multiple international "poles" who hold different visions of the Yemeni crisis, its roots and final solutions that may lead to any peace process. But it does share the need for dialogue and the inclusion of all stakeholders in any political negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.

Thus, the results of this meeting are related to the extent of the STC's ability to promote its political, military, security, economic, and humanitarian agenda, and to provide balanced messages that remove much of the confusion created by political and media opponents during the past years.

It can be said that in addition to the stalled peace efforts so far, and the continued “provocations” of the Houthis (3) to the international community, such as the storming of the US embassy compound in Sanaa and the arrest of dozens of its local employees, the expansion of humanitarian violations against civilians, and the economic challenges faced by the areas under the control of the parity government, The return of AQAP activity, and the failure of the pro-government forces in Shabwa and some areas of Marib, probably prompted some international parties to re-read the scene in a different way to a large extent. Chief among them is the need to complete the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and the cooperation of its two parties to ensure the success of the government's efforts to lift the economic situation, provide basic services to citizens, and limit the continued collapse of the currency. 

Chairman of South24 Center for News and Studies

Photo: From the meeting of the STC President with the ambassadors of the five permanent members to Yemen (official)

South YemenSecurity CouncilUnited NationsRiyadh AgreementKSAUAEHouthi