UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) took on Tuesday, escalating steps on the ground along with other political steps, in an indication to its breaching Riyadh agreement, which was expected to witness a breakthrough within days, with the kingdom’s pressure to implement the political and military sides.
This coincides with widening differences between Saudi Arabia and UAE on more than one front.
On the military level, STC pushed more reinforcements to Abyan province in conjunction with its announcement on establishing a new camp in Socotra in addition to direct its forces to raise the combat readiness in Aden. Meanwhile, the council’s media quoted from a source in his delegation, which is currently in Saudi capital, saying, the delegation formally informed the Saudi side that it had abandoned its commitments made during the negotiations in Riyadh related to the ceasefire with Hadi, and his intention to leave Saudi Arabia in a step that may undermine all the understandings that ended with signing Riyadh Agreement a year ago and the subsequent attempts to implement it.
The council’s movements in Abyan indicate its direction to explode a comprehensive situation against Hadi’s forces stationed there, especially in light of threats made by leaders in the council and include suggestions of a desire to expand the base of confrontations with Hadi to Shabwah, as his move in Aden, which coincided with Saudi Arabia’s implementation to the military aspect, by deploying units loyal to it in the city’s streets confirms the accusations against him on refusing to let his factions leave the city.
Although STC justified these escalatory steps with the recent battles with Hadi’s forces in Abyan, which left dead and wounded in the ranks of his forces, the council’s threat to transfer its delegation from Saudi capital to Emirati capital indicates to the existence of Emirati motives behind the escalation, especially with regard to Socotra island, where UAE established a new camp for its forces. Similar to the creation of a Saudi camp earlier this week, and the French newspaper Intelligence Online considered it an escalating step against UAE.
The escalation towards Shabwah province, where it witnessed an oil-sharing agreement between Hadi and his deputy Ali Mohsen, indicates to UAE resentment with the moves sponsored by Riyadh and it aims to reduce the presence of UAE in the most important areas of wealth that UAE is looking forward to keep the share of its followers in the next government, and it has been the most prominent files of disagreement between the two allies, since signing Riyadh Agreement in November last year.