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UAE abandons South Yemen collaboration leaders

A shockingly humiliating interview of South Yemeni separatist leaders Aidarous al-Zubaidi and Shallal Shaye in the Emirati press, has sparked supicions that the United Arab Emirates is planning to abandon its Southern Transitional Council proxy forces to their fate.

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SANA’A – A shocking media event taking place on the news channels of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has spurred suspicions amongst experts that the Emiratis are actively looking to abandon the South Yemeni separatist collaboration leaders it has been supporting for years.

Aidarous al-Zubaidi, UAE-appointed “governor” of Aden and leader of the Southern Transitional Council, the leading organisation working towards the secession of South Yemen under Emirati control; and his chief of security Shallal Shaye, appeared on an Emirati news channel in a surprisingly badly prepared and carried out interview, which according to some was staged on purpose to ridicule the two collaborators in public.

According to several sources, the Emirati media channel deliberately made Zubaidi and Shaye appear on air without giving them any preparation time or without prior notificaton on the content of the interview. If true, this could mean that the media appearance was meant to show the two in a position of weakness.

The United Arab Emirates, while officially a major partner of Saudi Arabia in the invading coalition that has been attacking Yemen since March 2015, has increasingly shown unwillingness to continue the war against Yemen in recent months. In July, Abdul Khaliq Abdullah, advisor to the Emir of Abu Dhabi, called for a negotiated end to the hostilities.

Officially, the UAE has been supporting South Yemeni separatism since the start of the war, in the guise of the Southern Transitional Council. However, at several occasions, deadly violence has broken out between Emirati forces and separatist militias, most notably after the UAE arrested and jailed separatist commander Walid al-Idrissi in May. The agenda of South Yemeni secession runs directly against the Saudi goal of bringing the entirety of Yemen under control of the Hadi regime.

While the Emirati forces officially exercise control over the key southern port city of Aden, their unclear position on which side to support in rebuilding the region has led to increased violence between South Yemeni separatists, supporters of the Saudi-backed regime of ousted former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Wahhabi terrorist organisations.

Aidarous al-Zubaidi himself had formerly declared a state of emergency in Aden in January 2018 and declared his intention of overthrowing the Hadi regime in the South. Some experts believe that this latest media treatment of Zubaidi is a sign that the UAE is about to abandon him and refuse his services any longer.

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