Will the Dismissal of the «Islah Man» in Shabwa Push the Implementation of the Riyadh Agreement?


Thu, 30-12-2021 08:42 PM, Aden

Abdullah Al-Shadli (South24) 

The decision to dismiss the governor of Shabwa governorate, South Yemen, Mohammad Saleh bin Adyo, who is affiliate to the Islamist “Islah” party [the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Yemen] raised questions about the extent of success that this decision can achieve in pushing for the completion of the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement between the STC and the Yemeni government in 2019, as it practically represents one of the points of the political aspect of this agreement, which includes the appointment of other governors in the governorates of South Yemen.

The decision to change bin Adyo and appoint sheikh Awad bin Al-Wazir Al-Awlaki, which was issued by Yemeni President Hadi on December 25 in agreement with the STC, coincided with another consensual decision on the 7th of the same month, which stipulated the appointment of a new administration for the Central Bank in Aden; Which was considered as signs of advancing the agreement sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

Although this decision was expected after Mohammad bin Adyo and Awad bin Al-Wazir were summoned to Riyadh in mid-December, following the escalation of tribal and popular rejection of bin Adyo with the Iranian-backed Houthi group seizing 3 districts in Shabwa within hours on September 21, it was already formed - according to analysts - to revive the Riyadh Agreement, and in preparation for correcting the governorate's military, political and social conditions, and the start of the battle to liberate its areas occupied by the Houthis.

Popular rejection

The voices of the people of Shabwa against the bin Adyo-led authorities have risen since last June. Despite their repressive methods and arbitrary campaigns that were launched indiscriminately against citizens, politicians, and journalists, these authorities were unable to curb the growing rejection towards them. Shabwa witnessed peaceful demonstrations that swept all the governorate’s directorates against the authority of bin Adyo during the past months, many of which the STC called for.

On June 18, the STC announced the suspension of its delegation’s participation in the consultations on the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, after the arrest of the former STC office director in Hadramout governorate, Mohammad Jaafar bin al-Sheikh and several members of the STC local leadership alongside him, while they were travelling through Shabwa, to be released hours later, zs a result of pressure from the Arab Coalition, according to informed sources.

On June 28, the Islah-affiliated forces in Shabwa suppressed a peaceful protest in "Abadan" area of the Nisab district, called by the STC in the governorate to denounce the arbitrary arrests and kidnappings of civilians. Heavily armed soldiers stormed the event platform hours before it started in an attempt to thwart it, but the demonstrations broke out in the neighboring "Saqam" area.

In response to the storming of "Abadan", the STC announced the "cessation of all forms of communication and direct contact" between its negotiating delegation in Riyadh with the government, the STC confirmed in a statement by their official spokesperson, Ali Al-Kathiri, the continuation of this step "until Shabwa Governorate is placed at the forefront of the Riyadh Agreement's priorities".
On July 7, demonstrations took place in all Shabwa districts on the "Southern Land Day", against the bin Adyo-led authorities. As a result of the suppression of the peaceful demonstrations with firearms, 6 demonstrators were injured. The pro-Islah Special Forces also arrested dozens of others in separate areas, especially the capital, Ataq.

In November, tribal and popular stands were held denouncing the fall of the districts of Beihan [Beihan, Ain, Usaylan] to the Houthis hands, amid accusations of the local authorities and the Islah forces of collusion with the Houthis. Military leaders in the pro-government forces in Shabwa also defected, accusing the Islah party of handing over Beihan districts to the Houthis.

All these events coincided with the arrival of the advisor to the Yemeni president, Awad bin Al-Wazir Al-Awlaki, to his hometown in Nisab district, early last November, coming from the UAE, after an absence of years. Al-Wazir led the tribal stances against bin Adyo, before he was appointed governor of the governorate.

Riyadh Agreement

Regarding the expected positive repercussions of bin Adyo’s dismissal on the Riyadh Agreement, the military analyst, Brigadier General Mohammad Jawas Al-Adani told “South24”: “We saw the military impact after the dismissal of Governor bin Adyo. Bin Adyo was primarily an obstacle to the implementation of the outcomes of the Riyadh Agreement.

As for the editor-in-chief of NewsYemen, Nabil Al-Soufi, what happened in Shabwa "does not represent the dismissal or appointment of a governor only," noting that bin Adyo "was not practicing his role as a governor, and turned into a ruler for the governorate who implements his political party's agenda."

Al-Soufi told "South24", "There are no such powers that he exercises in his position according to the constitution that he claims to abide by," pointing out that "the bin Adyo alliance and the Islah do not see Shabwa but mere oil and corruption."

Al-Soufi described bin Adyo as the "obstacle to the Riyadh Agreement", considering that his dismissal "may help unravel the status of the Agreement and push it forward."

Al-Soufi considered that the priority required of the new governor is to "restore order to Shabwa", and that "no political role is required of him at the present time" as well as for a rapid control of the security situation.

In contrast to Jawas and Al-Soufi, journalist and political analyst Salah Al-Saqladi ruled out that the dismissal of bin Adyo would push the implementation of the Riyadh agreement.

Al-Saqladi told "South24", "We do not expect an imminent implementation of this agreement by the "legitimacy" and the Islah party in particular," noting that "through the party's indignant responses to the decision to dismiss bin Adyo and the decision to send the Giants' Forces to Shabwa, we realize the party's intentions regarding the agreement".

Al-Saqladi claimed that "legitimacy" believes that it has been targeted by these decisions.

He continued, "the Islah party and "legitimacy" see in Shabwa a private ownership and they are crushing anyone who approaches the liberation of this oil province," warning that the Riyadh Agreement "will face more obstacles to abort it, unless there is a strict stance from the Saudi-led Coalition towards obstructing party.

Regarding the role of bin Adyo [who rejected Hadi's decision to appoint him as an advisor after his dismissal], Al-Saqladi said that this role "would be without any doubt subversive." Meanwhile, Al-Soufi called on the people of Shabwa to hold bin Adyo accountable for what he had committed "if he wanted to return as a citizen."

Beihan liberation

On the 27th of this month, military forces from the "Giants Forces" arrived in Shabwa governorate, two days after the dismissal of bin Adyo. A statement by the Southern brigades said that these forces, which arrived in Shabwa, "will contribute to the liberation of Beihan districts from the Houthis."

On this, military analyst Mohammad Jawas al-Adani expected that "there will be a swift and sweeping attack to liberate all the districts of Beihan," considering that this "will positively impact the Marib front in favor of 'legitimacy'."

Mohammad Jawas suggested that the Shabwa Elite Forces that were expelled from the governorate since August 2019 will "certainly" return to Shabwa, "because it is also among the provision of the Riyadh Agreement binding on all parties."

It should be noted that Ataq Airport, the capital of Shabwa, was subjected to a missile attack on Tuesday evening, after the Giants Forces deployed at the airport. The Giants media director accused the Houthis of carrying out the attack, noting that "there are no casualties thanks to the precautions taken by the Giants forces."

The Giants Forces also published a video on Wednesday showing their entrance and control over the airport.

Journalist and editor at South24 Center for News and Studies
Photo: The new governor of Shabwa, Awad Al-Awlaki, is sworn in before Yemeni President Hadi (official)

South YemenGiants ForcesJoint ForcesHouthiIslahSpecial ForcesSTCGovernorShabwa