Institutional Prerequisites for the STC “Coup” in Aden and Perspectives on the Jeddah Deal

Fatima Saleh & Ahmed al-Sharjabi

YPC Research Debrief   •   October 23, 2019

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Peace talks between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) facilitated by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah are said to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Saudi Arabia is said to become the monitor of the agreement’s implementation and has already taken control of vital infrastructure in southern Yemen, including the airport and port of Aden. The Kingdom invited the negotiating parties to talks in August 2019, after the STC had pushed Saudi’s ally, the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, out of the interim capital of Aden earlier that month. For the STC, the move was another step toward restoring southern independence. By the same token, it represented an enormous blow to the internationally recognized government and its position as “legitimate” representative of a unified Yemeni state. The “coup” became possible after the STC and its sympathizers had come to dominate United Arab Emirates (UAE)-supported security institutions. With UAE troops currently being replaced by pro-unity Saudi troops, the STC’s ability to assert itself politically and militarily has been curtailed. Yet, the STC will hold onto its long-term goal of seeking independence, and it will attempt to do so through the security sector institutions that the southern movement has gained influence over since 2015.