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Southern Transitional Council

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Southern Transitional Council
المجلس الانتقالي الجنوبي
al-Majlis al-Intiqālī l-Janūbiyy
FormationAden Historic Declaration
  • Draft committee formed: 20 October 2016
  • Delegated: 4 May 2017
  • Inaugurated: 11 May 2017
FounderMajor General Aidarus al-Zoubaidi
TypeSecessionist organization
Transitional government authority
PurposeRestoration of sovereignty of South Yemen
HeadquartersTawahi District, Aden, Yemen
OriginsThe Southern Movement
South Yemen
Secretary General
Governor of Aden/ Ahmed Hamid Lamlas
Board Chairman, & President
Major General Aidarus al-Zoubaidi
Board Vice-Chairman, & Vice-president
Hani Ben Brik
Chairman of the National Assembly
General Ahmed Said Ben Brik
Main organ
Council’s Presidency Board
AffiliationsRepublic of Yemen (2022–)

The Southern Transitional Council (STC; Arabic: المجلس الانتقالي الجنوبي, romanizedal-Majlis al-Intiqālī l-Janūbiyy) is a secessionist organization in southern Yemen. The 26 members of the STC include the governors of five southern governorates and two government ministers. It was formed by a faction of the Southern Movement. It was established in 2017, and it has called for and worked toward the separation of southern Yemen from the rest of the nation as it previously was until 1990.

Declared on 11 May 2017, the council is headed by the former Governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, as president, with former minister of state Hani Bin Breik as vice-president.[2] The formation of the council was authorized a week earlier by the Historic Aden Declaration, announced at a rally protesting the dismissal of al-Zoubaidi from his post as governor.[3] The STC, a major party to the Yemeni Civil War, claims to rule most of the territory in southern Yemen.[4][5][6][7]

In April 2022, STC joined the Presidential Leadership Council, after then-Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned and transferred presidential powers to the newly formed body. STC head Aidarus al-Zoubaidi became the Vice President of the new government.[8][9] STC increased its influence in the council by enlarging its membership to three out of the eight, through internal reorganization in May 2023.[10]


On 27 April 2017, a presidential decree was given by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi dismissing Aidarus al-Zoubaidi from his post as governor of Aden due to his close ties with the United Arab Emirates, which President Hadi described as "acting like occupiers" in the city.[11] This was met with large demonstrations in the city in support of the deposed but popular Zoubaidi.[12]

Aden Historic Declaration
إعلان عدن التاريخي
Iʿlān ʿAdan at-Tārīḵiyy
The text of the document in Arabic
PresentedMay 4, 2017
Date effectiveMay 4, 2017
LocationFreedom square, Khormaksar district. Aden
PurposeDelegating M. General Aidarus al-Zoubaidi to declare a national political leadership to administrate and represent the South

In 4 May 2017, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi announced a speech which the STC describes as the "Aden Historic Declaration" (Arabic: إعلان عدن التاريخي, romanizedIʿlān ʿAdan at-Tārīḵiyy). The speech was delivered in Aden's Freedom Square (Arabic: ساحة الحرية, romanizedsahat alhuriya), formerly known as Exhibition Square in Khormaksar district.[13][14]

With the help and support of the UAE, the STC was formed on 11 May 2017 with al-Zoubaidi as its leader.[15] Immediately, President Hadi called the council illegitimate.[16][5][17][18]

Beginning on 28 January 2018, separatists loyal to the STC seized control of the Yemeni government headquarters in Aden in a coup d'état against the Hadi government.[19][20]

In January 2018, as the head of the STC, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi announced a state of emergency in Aden and that "the STC has begun the process of overthrowing Hadi’s rule over the South".[21]

On 27 August 2019, tensions continued to escalate in southern Yemen after the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces (SBF) lost territories to troops loyal to the Saudi-backed government of President Hadi. The troops advanced on the capital Aden and instead of engaging in street fighting, took positions outside of the city in order to prevent civilian casualties.

On 29 August 2019, to stop government forces from advancing and reclaiming the capital, the UAE carried out airstrikes on government positions outside of Aden, which killed and injured over 300 government soldiers.

Despite membership in the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the UAE fell out with Hadi's government after the former accused Hadi of aligning with the Islah party, a powerful party, which it viewed as ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood.[citation needed]

The STC declared self-governance on 26 April 2020.[22] The government said local and security authorities in the provinces of Hadramawt, Abyan, Shabwa, al-Mahra, and the island of Socotra dismissed the move as a "clear and definite coup".[23] In Aden, the movement's attempt was successful, as it occupied all governmental institutions.[24]

In order to deal with the infighting between the Yemeni government forces and those of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council, a new cabinet was formed with the backing of neighbouring Saudi Arabia.[25] The formation of the new unity government in December 2020, which includes equal numbers of representatives from each region of Yemen's northern and southern areas, was the result of over a year's worth of intense negotiations mediated by the Saudis, and was meant to end the infighting so that the two sides could fight together against the Houthi rebels in the ongoing civil war.[26][27]

In April 2022, STC formally became part of the Presidential Leadership Council, the new governing body of the Republic of Yemen established after the resignation of the former president. STC head Aidarus al-Zoubaidi became the new Vice President.[8][9] During the STC congress held between 4–8 May 2023, the resolution of "Southern National Pact" was adopted, demanding the incorporation of Southern movement in the Yemeni peace process under an "independent framework". Houthi insurgents vehemently denounced the congress and its resolutions. Nevertheless, STC managed to increase its share in the Presidential Leadership Council to three members out of the total eight seats.[28]

In December 2023, the Southern Transitional Council reportedly said that it was willing to cooperate with Israel to fight against the Houthi ship attacks.[29]


STC head Aidarous al-Zoubaidi has stated that the goal of Southern congress in May 2023 was to kickstart a national dialogue and reconciliation process, with the objective of strengthening Southern territories from Houthi aggression. STC has regularly raised the "southern question", advocating Southern Movement's representation in the Yemeni peace process.[30]

STC is strongly opposed to Iranian attempts to control the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait and dominate the waterways of the Red Sea through its Houthi proxies.[30] Describing themselves as secular nationalists opposed to theocratic system, Aidarous states regarding the May 2023 re-organization of the PLC:

"It was necessary to strengthen the cohesiveness of the south and prepare for any Houthi attacks. The Houthis are reinforcing themselves and could attack anytime... They live and they survive during war, not during peace."[30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forster, Robert (2017). "The Southern Transitional Council: Implications for Yemen's Peace Process". Middle East Policy. 24 (3): 133–144. doi:10.1111/mepo.12295. hdl:20.500.11820/eb7d2018-0f05-478d-aa15-3b38cdd796fa.
  2. ^ Forster, R (September 2017). "The Southern Transitional Council: Implications for Yemen's peace process" (PDF). Middle East Policy. 24 (3): 133–144. doi:10.1111/mepo.12295. hdl:20.500.11820/eb7d2018-0f05-478d-aa15-3b38cdd796fa.
  3. ^ "Aden Historic Declaration". Southern Hirak. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  4. ^ The New Arab (16 May 2017). "GCC: Aden-based Southern Transitional Council 'doomed to fail'". alaraby.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Banished Aden governor forms independent "South Yemen" council". alaraby.co.uk. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  6. ^ Saudi Research & Marketing (uk) Ltd. "Thirty Southern Figures Reject Transitional Council in Aden – ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English". english.aawsat.com. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Separatist group announces self-rule in southern Yemen". Al Jazeera. 26 April 2020. Archived from the original on 26 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b Ghobari, Mohamed (7 April 2022). "Yemen president sacks deputy, delegates presidential powers to council". Reuters. Aden. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  9. ^ a b Al-Sakani, Ali (19 April 2022). "Yemen inaugurates new presidential council". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 1 March 2023.
  10. ^ "Yemen's Southern Transitional Council reshuffle strengthens body, analysts say". National News. 9 May 2023. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023.
  11. ^ Hearst, David (12 May 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Yemen president says UAE acting like occupiers". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 12 May 2017 – via middleeasteye.com.
  12. ^ "Yemenis march against Hadi after sacking of Aden governor". Middle East Eye. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017 – via middleeasteye.com.
  13. ^ "PA-X: Yemen Timeline: Conflict Events & Peace and Transition Documents". peaceagreements.org. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  14. ^ "اليمن: إعلان عدن "التاريخي" وآراء المتظاهرين". bbc.cu.uk. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  15. ^ Farrukh, Maher (2 November 2017). "Threat Update: Yemen and Southern Secessionism". Critical Threats. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  16. ^ "GCC rejects formation of Yemen transitional council". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  17. ^ al Qurashi, Ibrahim (12 May 2017). "Hadi Rejects 'South Council,' Urges Members to Clarify their Stances". english.aawsat.com. Asharq Al-Awsat English. Archived from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Yemen gov't rejects formation of "southern transitional council" – Xinhua | English.news.cn". news.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Separatist clashes flare in south Yemen". BBC News. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Yémen: les séparatistes sudistes, à la recherche de l'indépendance perdue". Le Point. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  21. ^ Jonkers, Brecht (29 January 2018). "South Yemen separatists send reinforcements to Aden". AMN (Al Masdar News). Archived from the original on 29 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Yemen separatists declare self-governance of south". news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Yemen provinces reject separatists' claim to self-rule". news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  24. ^ Wintour, Patrick (26 April 2020). "Crisis in Yemen as Aden separatists declare self-rule". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  25. ^ "At least 22 killed, dozens wounded in Yemen airport attack". Al Jazeera.
  26. ^ "New Yemen gov't sworn in after Saudi-brokered power-sharing deal". Al Jazeera.
  27. ^ Al-Batati, Saeed (26 December 2020). "Yemen's new government sworn in, ending months of wrangling". Arab News.
  28. ^ Furlan, Marta (29 March 2023). "Developments In Southern Yemen: Significance, Implications, And Prospects For Peace". Orion Policy Institute. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023.
  29. ^ "Yemen's STC 'ready to work with Israel' against Houthis". New Arab. 12 December 2023. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  30. ^ a b c Wintour, Patrick (23 June 2023). "Yemen peace talks must accept country is divided in two, says southern leader". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 June 2023.
  31. ^ Hilton, Daniel (23 June 2023). "Yemen vice-president". Middle East Eye. Archived from the original on 23 June 2023.