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UAE-backed STC in Yemen ‘secret friends’ with Israel

June 22, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Aidroos Al-Zubaidi, President of the Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC), 10 August 2018 [Ali Mahmood Mohammed/Twitter]

According to an article in Israel Today, the UAE-backed Yemeni separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) are “secret friends” with Israel and that a new state in the Middle East had been declared behind closed doors, referring to the STC-held territory which includes the interim capital of Aden and more recently the seizure of the Socotra island from the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

The piece, which suggests the Port of Aden “casts a friendly eye on the Jewish state”, cites a recent press conference held by the STC which expressed a positive attitude towards Israel, although the issue of diplomatic relations are yet to be discussed.

Hani Bin Briek, the vice-chairman of the STC, tweeted that “relations between Israel and Qatar are very good” and also recounted former Israeli President Shimon Peres’ visit to Doha and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Oman. “Arabs and Israelis agree on a two-state solution, and Arab countries normalizing relations with Israel.”

READ: After Libya, will Turkey defeat the UAE in Yemen?

The stance on normalising ties with Israel follows current trends among Gulf states, including the STC’s patron, the UAE.

The report also states that many Israelis reacted positively and welcomed the developments of a “new autonomous state in Yemen”, with sources telling Israel Today that Tel Aviv has been conducting secret meetings with the STC.

Meanwhile, on Friday, leader of the Houthi movement, warned Saudi Arabia and the UAE against normalisation with Israel. “Saudi Arabia and the UAE are siding with Israel, which is the chief enemy of the Muslim world,” Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi said in a televised speech broadcast live from the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The Houthi leader has previously stressed that Yemen stands with the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.

The Emirati-backed group, which is led by former Aden governor Aidrus Al-Zoubaidi, announced in April its autonomy, although this has been rejected by the internationally-recognised Yemeni government-in-exile as well as the UN. Earlier this month the STC also confirmed it had withdrawn from the so-called Riyadh Agreement, which was a power-sharing deal intended to end the on-going conflict between the STC and the Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.

READ: UAE-backed Yemen separatists evict Socotra residents from the island