The Hadhrami National Council and the Southern Transitional Council

Are they echoing or conflicting with each other?
Dr. Abdullah Awbal
July 10, 2023

The Hadhrami National Council and the Southern Transitional Council

Are they echoing or conflicting with each other?
Dr. Abdullah Awbal
July 10, 2023

The story began at the end of May 2023, when the Transitional Council headed to Mukalla with its leaders, forces and armored vehicles to hold a meeting of the National Assembly. Here, a number of characters and tribal figures converged to object to this step, which they considered provocative, and soon the invitation came from Riyadh, where they spend a full month discussing the naming and drafting the ToR document for the new Hadhrami entity.

This was followed by the announcement of the Hadramout National Council, chaired by Badr Ba Salma, to prepare for a larger Hadhrami conference, then the practical steps began with the visit of the Saudi delegation, accompanied by the head of the Presidential Leadership Council, Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi who delivered his famous speech, which was as if he endorsed announcing the self-administration of Hadramout Governorate.

Undoubtedly, those who were surprised by this Hadhrami move did not follow well the phases of the Hadhrami movement since 1996. The first demonstrations against the regime at the time took place in Mukalla, after the 1994 war, which expelled the leadership of the Socialist Party from the unity partnership, and the regime’s tampering with the public sector, spreading corruption, and distributing land to buy Loyalties to its supporters and tribal chiefs.

In 2011, the "Hadramout Tribes Alliance" was formed, followed by the convening of the "Hadramout Inclusive Conference", which appears to be purely Hadhrami movements. Indeed, in November 2011, when the Cairo Conference was held under the chairmanship of former President Ali Nasser and co-chaired by Minister Mohammad Ali Ahmed and Saleh Obaid, 11 figures from Hadramout University introduced a document deeming Hadramout as a state on its own, and that linking it to the south after independence in November 1967 was a historical crime. However, this claim was not accepted at the time, and was considered an illogical suggestion, which led to the withdrawal of the owners of this document from the conference.

Why is the Transitional irritated?

No one denies the Transitional Council's dissatisfaction with the announcement of the Hadhrami National Council, (and the connotation of the word (National) here is critical, because it may be imagined that it denies its Southernness or even its Yemeniness).

There is no justification for this resentment, as the Transitional Council came in the same way as the Hadhrami Council. It was established with generous financial and military support from the United Arab Emirates and with the explicit blessing and full approval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nonetheless, the establishment of the Transitional Council was a reaction to the decision to sack the pro-Emirati governors. Rather, it was a quick and ill-conceived reaction, without even having a reference document defining its tasks, objectives, alliances, and strategies. As for the Hadhrami Council, it is a reaction to what they considered a provoking move by the STC, but at least the name of the new entity was discussed and agreement was reached on its goals and mandates.

The Transitional Council exists with the support and sponsorship of the Arab Coalition, and it is obvious that the Hadhrami Council enjoys full and explicit Saudi support and patronage. Rather, the legitimate forces waged internal wars in order to ensure the Transitional Council's dominance over Aden and the south alone. However, the coalition also dealt with the Transitional Council as a political cover to achieve the agenda of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and dealt directly with the leaders of the belts and elites without going through state institutions or the transitional leadership to the extent that they dealt with these forces directly without their salaries passing through the central bank or parallel banks.

And now that these elites, security belts, support and backing forces were left without salaries, instead, they were allowed to seize lands and impose illegal levies that burdened and exhausted the citizens.

I believe in supporting the formation of self-initiated councils in each governorate, even if they were not supported, where people should be allowed to manage their own issues, and each governorate chooses its leadership, while the central government coordinates the work of local administrations and administer the resources.

Just as the Hadhrami have the right to govern their province, the people of Aden have the right to administer their province as well.

Is it self-administration and not imposed on the governorates, which takes place based on the citizens choosing who represents them, leads them, while they have the right to dismiss them is a proper choice or results in uncontrolled chaos?

Some say that the establishment of these federal entities without relying on the constitution and the law will lead to wide-ranging chaos.

In fact, chaos is happening now, and the state is almost non-existent and its functions are absent. We are currently subject to the chaos of the militias, whose actions, north and south are not control or questioned. These forces, which were intended to be an alternative to the official state institutions, have turned into a heavy burden on the citizen. Therefore, withholding the salaries of these forces while they possess weapons means freeing their hand to impose illegal levies and royalties on citizens, persecute merchants and loot their goods, as there is no authority or law that prevents them from committing these disgraceful practices. 

Thus, Yemeni people must establish their own alternative institutions to protect each other, and to form the nucleus of the future state, and any state must be federal based on the sharing of power and wealth according to a law that is being subject to a popular referendum.

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