Yemeni government, Transitional Council make headway
ADEN – Yemeni political sources confirmed that the consultations hosted by the Saudi capital Riyadh between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) have made progress in achieving a consensus on the shape of the next government to be announced under the Riyadh agreement and the accompanying political and administrative measures.
The sources expect decisions to be issued simultaneously in the next few days by the government and the STC within the context of preparing for the implementation of the agreement concluded between the two parties last November, and that includes removing the political, military and media causes of tension, before going into the details of the ministerial portfolios and the names of the candidates for them from the different components participating in the Riyadh agreement.
The Arab Weekly has previously reported that the parties participating in the Yemeni consultations sponsored by the Saudi government in Riyadh agreed to grant the Southern Transitional Council six of the 12 ministerial portfolios allocated to the south, while the other six portfolios will go to other Yemeni political components, with the STC retaining veto rights on the candidates for these portfolios.
According to the high-ranking sources who talked to The Arab Weekly, the implementation of the political provisions of the Riyadh agreement will start before that of the military ones. Observers believe that the major dispute about the political aspects of the agreement and their complexity contributed enormously to delaying the implementation of the agreement. An agreement is expected soon about the appointment of a governor for Aden and a chief of police from the STC, before embarking on the final consultations about forming a quota-based government.
Yemeni observers linked the political escalation and security tensions witnessed in the governorates of Hadramaut, Mahra and Taiz in the past period to the heated conflict over strengthening the political presence of the different components in the consultations on the implementation of the Riyadh agreement and the formation of the government, on the one hand, and to the efforts of certain southern parties loyal to the government to demonstrate their ability to disrupt and confuse the consultations if they came to be ignored, on the other.
Sources in the STC, however, considered that this activity falls within the context of the strategy of “spawning” and cloning southern components that do not exist on the ground, with the aim of achieving political gains and playing down the real size and influence of the STC, which was able to mobilise mass demonstrations in Hadramaut, Mahra and Socotra.
Yemeni sources pointed to the success of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia in containing and disabling all efforts aimed at thwarting the Riyadh agreement, despite the emergence of an anti-agreement current from within the Yemeni government, where a pro-Qatar current is still present inside the legitimate institutions and working through them to undermine the implementation of the agreement and fuel differences.
In this context, well-informed Yemeni sources indicated that three Yemeni officials held intensive meetings in the easternmost province of Mahra (on the borders with Oman) to implement a package of escalatory measures aimed at obstructing the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement on the ground and creating new centres hostile to the Arab coalition in the liberated areas.
According to the sources, the meeting was attended by Interior Minister Ahmad al-Maysari, resigned transport minister Saleh al-Jabwani and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Abdulaziz Jabbari, all three of them represent the Qatari current within the government, andwith the participation of tribal and party leaders loyal to Doha and hostile to the coalition, such as Sheikh Ali Salem al-Harizi.
Yemeni sources ofThe Arab Weekly had earlier warned of suspicious moves to turn Mahra governorate into an advanced activity post for the Doha current in Yemen with the complicity of influential figures in the Yemeni government who had worked on strengthening the presence of pro-Doha and pro-Muslim Brotherhood elements inside the military and security institutions and the border crossings in Mahra. They also succeeded in mounting a military and tribal mobilisation during the past few days in the governorate, which has become apparent in the spread of hundreds of armed anti-Arab coalition militants in the governorate and at its entrance points, and in their efforts to quell the popular demonstrations called for by the STC.
Yemeni sources expect the progress in the political track of resolving internal differences in the camp opposing the Houthi coup made by the Saudi-led Arab coalition to be accompanied by the widening of the chaos fomented by the Qatar current and the Muslim Brotherhood rejecting the Riyadh agreement.
In the past few days, Mahra and Taiz governorates witnessed significant tension, described by Yemeni sources as part of the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar current inside the Yemeni government to abort the progress made in the consultations on the implementation of the Riyadh agreement. In fact, these consultations are expected to lead to the removal of some causes of the existing tensions, most notably the Minister of Interior Ahmed Al-Maysari. The Arb Weekly sources have confirmed that the latter has adopted a policy of forcing the alignment of the security institutions with Doha’s agenda.
The sources warned against the ongoing collusion between the influential leaders inside the Yemini government loyal to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, which now controls some of the liberated governorates.
All information point to the fact that these governorates have become a spawning environment for the Qatari and Turkish agenda in Yemen and for anti-Arab coalition sentiments. If such conditions persist, they may during the coming period create a new reality that will further complicate the Yemeni scene and work in favour of the Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis in Yemen.