STC in Hadramout: Performance Assessment


Tue, 05-04-2022 05:35 PM, Aden

Abdullah Al-Shadli (South24) 

STC in South Yemen enjoyed wide grassroot support since its establishment on May 4th, 2017. Within 5 years, it has been able to grab attention with its milestone successes at political and field levels.

The emergence of The STC has acted as the last hope for the majority of Southerners following years of failure by the Southern "Hirak" to establish institutional alignment representing the Southern interests and defending them.

However, those successes and popularity have been met with doubtness by some parties in the South and beyond. The STC also failed to manage some files and issues such as the 2018-Shabwa War. Since its establishment, the STC has been subjected to a very strong war at political, media, and even military levels but it has been able to overcome many of them. In the Southern governorates, the STC enjoys a tangible grassroot incubator but some believe that this popularity does not exceed the governorate’s coastal areas according to what locals told “South24”. 

Successes and failures

Politicians told “South24” that “the STC has achieved big successes within a short period. This is represented in supporting the popular bloc and local components as well as enhancing the Hadrami elite forces. 

However, some believe that the STC failed to achieve this and that its demands conflicted with other parties such as the Inclusive Hadramout Conference led by Amr Bin Habrish. [1]

In contrast, the Head of the Popular Escalation Committee in Hadramout, tribal sheikh Hassan Al-Jabri believes that the STC has been the main backer of the success of the Hadrami uprising to demand the governorate's rights. Al-Jabri added that their relationship with the STC is good and that the latter's support of the uprising's outcomes gained it more popularity. [2]

Although the former local Head of the STC, Dr. Mohammad Jaafar Bin Sheikh Abu Bakr had taken this mission in difficult and limited circumstances, local journalists told "South24" that his predecessor, Brigadier-General Saeed Al-Mohammadi, has been able to complete the mission in a different way.

Amidst these developments, media expert, Omar Bahchwan, said: "There is no doubt that Brigadier General Saeed Al-Mohammadi has a strong character which suits the nature of the stage in Hadramout.

Journalist Farouk Al-Akbari agrees that Brigadier General Al-Mohammadi has reactivated the STC more than ever and made big real changes. He added that the current stage requires "attracting big and new figures to the STC to strengthen its popularity".

According to Al-Akbari, "one of the prominent achievements of the STC in Hadramout is its ability to unify the grassroot fabric under one banner, support the Hadrami uprising and stand behind people. It has adopted a clear stance for driving out the 1st Military District from Wadi Hadramout". 

Some residents believe that the local authorities in Hadramout work to curb the STC which has bigger popularity. 

Saleh Paredi, from the city of Mukalla, said: "It is natural for the new military leadership affiliated with the STC in Hadramout to play a stricter role than its civil predecessor".

In contrast, Naef Al-Qarzi, a local from Ghail Bin Yamin district, believes that both STC leaderships have not made remarkable achievements.

Al-Qarzi told “South24”:” the STC was more balanced in the past but it now leads itself to the abyss and intervenes in matters belonging to the local authorities which do not hesitate in serving Hadramout”.

Activists told “South24” that “the current stage in Hadramout requires strong immense wisdom, especially in light of the obstacles that face the local authorities which continue playing a neutral role towards all parties.

The Performance of the STC in Hadramout

While some believe that the STC’s performance in Wadi Hadeanout has been pale, journalist Amjad Sobeih told “South24” that “the opposite is true”. He pointed to last month STC’s decision of appointing a new leadership in Wadi Hadramout. He believes that “this leadership will use the grassroot presence, enjoyed by the STC in the Wadi areas”.

Sobeih added”: the popular attraction towards the STC in Wadi Hadramout is huge but it has been weak as a management”. He attributed this to the weak performance of some of the STC’s circles including the media, the popular, the organizational, the cultural, and the financial sectors. 

Quite the opposite, Al-Qarzi said: “the STC is totally absent from the political scene in Wadi Hadramout ".

Meanwhile, Paredi justified “the dim performance of the STC in Hadramout as a result of the security situation turmoil".  He added that "this murkiness does not belong to the same perspective that could appeal to some".

He elaborated:  "If we look at things from this narrow perspective, the local authorities, which were responsible for the governorates affairs prior to the STC don't enjoy any popularity in these areas".

Paridi believes that the STC enjoys a big popular incubator in Wadi Hadramout. He talked about the size of the popular response to the events called for by the STC despite being harassed by the 1st Military District.

Al-Akbari agreed with this view by saying that the "STC presence in Wadi Hadramout is as strong as in Hadramout Coast".

The STC sponsored the first session of the founding body of "the Confederacy and the Inclusive Bloc for Hadramout and South" held in Seiyun at the beginning of last March.

The STC relationships

The Yemeni Government seeks to affect the loyalties of the local tribes as well as the political and community parties in Hadramout. The Yemeni Vice President still holds his grip on the oil wells on Wadi Hadramout. There are some Hadrami businessmen and politicians in addition to other figures in the KSA who have close ties with Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar and support the anti-STC moves in Hadramout. 

The Yemeni system has long sought to doubt the other Southern parties' relationships with Hadramout. Some research and media bodies portray Hadramout as being threatened by Al-Dhalea, Yafa, and Abyan. They also depict the STC as being subjected to the decisions of some figures in these areas. One citizen told "South24" that: "This is a typical way to make a distraction about the growing Northern influence in Wadi Hadramout". 

Sheikh Salem Al-Mohamady told "South24" that "most of the tribes which have a history of national struggle and look forward to independence support the STC moves".

 "It is natural to find some who are hostile to the STC to maintain their interests. But as soon as the common interests come to an end, the wrongdoer will know his right direction”. He added

On the other hand, journalist Mohammad Baabbad disagrees with the latter's view as he believes that the STC in Hadramout does not stand with the people". He asked about the reasons for the STC's silence toward people's suffering. [3]

Baabbad believes that "this silence towards killing the demonstrators in Mukalla, Al-Shihr and Wadi Hadramout cities makes the STC a partner in these acts committed by the local authorities. Instead of meeting people's demands, the authorities shot and killed them" He claimed. 

The STC called the local authorities earlier to deal "wisely" with protestors and avoid using live ammunition to disperse protesters. [4]

Journalist Al-Akbari said: "The STC has a great impact on the political reality on the ground". For him, the STC is the most powerful compared with any other forces currently". He described the relationship between the STC and the Hadrami citizens as "firm" and "well-established" regardless of the attempts of other forces to doubt this.

On the other hand, locals conveyed to "South24” their resentment towards the lack of the STC's media strategies regarding the interaction with the local communities. "The STC doesn't have influential TV channels or press outlets in Hadramout". Some of them believe that the local communities need more openness and clarity about the fate and the future of Hadramout under any future administration for the STC and its political project".

Limited local Hadrami parties adopt projects that support the Yemeni unity or call for Hadramout independence from the Southern decision.  However, those voices are not accepted by a large sector of the street. But according to people, the ball is in the court of the STC itself.

On October 24th, 2017, the STC's leadership announced its local branch in Hadramout. The STC President, Major General Aidrous Al-Zubaidi appointed Muhammad Jaafar Bin Sheikh Abu Bakr as Head of the local leadership before appointing Brigadier General Saeed Al-Mohammadi as his predecessor.

Editor and Journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies
Photo: Extracted from an event called by the STC in the city of Seiyun, Wadi Haramout in February 2022 (South24)

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