STC actions on Socotra raise questions about fate of Riyadh agreement

Debriefer
2020-12-26 | Since 2 Month

STC president Aidarous Al-Zubaidi

SANAA (Debriefer)--Saudi Arabia has recently succeeded in convincing the Yemeni government to accomplish the political arrangements in the Riyadh agreement and accept formalities regarding the military and security part of the agreement.
Observers linked the move to regional and international changes, particularly the results of the US presidential elections.
However questions are raised whether the agreement will hold or not and whether president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi will continue to identify with plots against his meager legitimacy, particularly actions of the southern transitional council aimed at strengthening its presence in a number of southern provinces.
A local source in the archipelago of Socotra revealed on Friday that the UAE-backed council has set up a new military site in west of Socotra island, days after the new government was formed. 
The council took over the archipelago in June after battles with the government forces.
It relocated troops and military equipment from the first Marine Infantry Brigade to the new site in the area of Shawab, the source said, suggesting that the move was taken in coordination with the Saudi and UAE forces stationed in the island.
The UAE, a member of a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, has been seeking to annex the archipelago for years. The intervention has now provided it with the best opportunity to do so directly and through the STC.
Recently, reports said UAE and Israeli experts visited Socotra as part of a plan to construct a spy base on it.
The new military site has raised questions about the seriousness of the coalition to implement the Riyadh agreement and bring peace to the country.
In recent months, the council set up two military sites in the areas of Momi and Ras Qutaynan.
The Riyadh agreement was signed by the former government and the council in November 2019. In July this year, the two sides accepted a mechanism presented by Saudi Arabia to accelerate its implementation. Both the agreement and the mechanism included terms for political and military and security arrangements.
The military arrangements include that both sides pull their forces out of cities and redeploy them to locations they were at before August 2019 and that they never set up new military sites.
Setting up new military checkpoints and sites by the council in a number of provinces including Socotra coinciding with the implementation of the military and security part of the agreement is an obvious breach of the agreement which calls for normalising the situation and empowering the local authorities, military analyst Col. Najib Al-Jaberi said.
"These actions will create new obstacles to the implementation of the long-awaited agreement which is overseen by Saudi Arabia and on which the Yemeni people pin their hopes," he said.
The council's actions on Socotra and actions of the security belt forces in Aden are a clear message about the future of the agreement and its real objectives, he added.


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