#15 (tie)

Southern Transitional Council (US), Ltd.

Registered: May 2018

NEW Supplemental
(Dec. 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020)

NEW Informational materials

In the six-month period ending May 31, the US branch of Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) received $146,000 from the STC’s UAE office to cover expenses (the UAE backs the STC). The STC’s US foreign agents sent dozens of emails to congressional aides, as well as to the National Security Council, the State Department and USAID officials. According to the filing, the STC is also in the process of opening a New York branch office “with a sole mandate to follow up with our work as related to the United Nations.” The STC also disclosed distributing press releases on humanitarian issues, including floods and COVID-19, as well as on the conflict and cease-fire in Yemen.

Independent Diplomat
(for Southern Transitional Council)

Hired: Sept. 2018

NEW Supplemental
(Nov. 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020)

Independent Diplomat was paid $71,000 by Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) in the six-month period ending April 30 (of the $71,000 paid by the STC, $31,000 was for Europe-based programming). For the STC, Independent Diplomat disclosed participating in an April 29 virtual briefing on South Yemen to international NGOs.

Qorvis Communications
(for Yemen)

Hired: Feb. 2019
Contract: $60,000/month

NEW Supplemental
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

NEW Registered foreign agents
Senan Enad
Sophia Mestas

NEW Terminated foreign agents

In the six-month period ending March 31, Qorvis communicated with various news outlets and congressional outlets, while it also “engaged with” the Washington Institute for Near East Peace and the Middle East Institute “regarding an event.”
Account supervisors Jonathan Ewing and Jared Shapiro stopped working on Qorvis and the firm's Yemen account on Nov. 1 and Feb. 7, respectively. Senan Enad and Sophia Mestas have registered to work on the account.

Yemen hires its own lobby shop as Saudi patron loses clout


Julian Pecquet



Julian Pecquet is the Editor of Special Projects for Al-Monitor, where he supervises the award-winning Lobbying Tracker as well as managing long-form stories. Before that he covered the US Congress for Al-Monitor. Prior to joining Al-Monitor, Pecquet led global affairs coverage for the political newspaper The Hill.

Posted: September 11, 2019

Yemen's government in exile in Riyadh has acquired its own representation as its patron Saudi Arabia loses clout in Washington.

The Yemeni Embassy in Washington retained Qorvis/MSLGroup in February for $60,000 per month to provide “public relations capacity building, media relations, events, content creation, stakeholder engagements, research and polling.” Qorvis has separately represented Saudi Arabia since 2002, touting the kingdom's intervention against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015 as a humanitarian endeavor.

The most recent available lobbying records show that the firm's half-dozen registered agents for Yemen reached out to key lawmakers in February and March as Congress debated US participation in the war. These include the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho; ranking member Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; and Middle East subcommittee Chairman Mitt Romney, R-Utah, as well as Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee's Near East panel.

Qorvis lobbyists also repeatedly emailed the offices of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the co-sponsors of legislation to end US support for the Yemen coalition. Both the House and Senate passed the resolution this spring in a bipartisan rebuke of the Saudi intervention's high civilian death toll but could not override President Donald Trump's veto. Democrats in the House and Senate, however, have vowed to continue the fight, notably by seeking to prohibit US funding for the war.

Lawmakers have also stepped in by seeking to block US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for use in the Yemen campaign. In an unprecedented move, Trump's State Department in May sought to bypass Congress by declaring an emergency with regard to Iran, only to have the Senate respond by voting to bar $8.1 billion in arms transfers to the Saudis and the Emiratis in another tacit bipartisan rebuke of the war.

In the end, Trump vetoed the Senate bill. But the president is also growing tired of the war: Late last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration wants to hold direct talks with the Houthis in Oman.

The Yemeni Embassy continues to receive support from Saudi lobbyists. Former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., of Hogan Lovells, for example, invited lawmakers to a Capitol Hill briefing on the Houthis' use of landmines on behalf of Ambassador Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak in June.

Yemen's Washington outreach is complicated by a separate lobbying push from the UAE-backed separatists of the Southern Transitional Council. The council paid Grassroots Political Consulting $135,000 from the time the contract began in January 2018 through its termination at the end of November to lobby Congress for South Yemen's “sovereignty and independence.”

And in May 2018, the council launched its own operations in Washington led by Abdulsalam Mused, who identifies as the director of the council's General Directorate of Foreign Affairs in the United States and Canada. Mused delivered remarks on Capitol Hill last September but does not appear to have filed any of the semi-annual activities logs required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

“We ask your support for our people's right to self-determination,” Mused said. “We are confident that solving the southern cause will positively contribute to the peace and security of the whole region.”


Main lobbying firm:
Qorvis Communications




Total lobbying and PR spending for 2018



  • Yemen reaches power-sharing agreement with southern secessionists
  • White House prevents congressional arms sales restrictions
  • Negotiations with Houthi rebels make progress
  • State Department's Hook says Houthis not controlled by Iran
  • Congress seeks end to US support for Saudi-led intervention
  • Yemen patron Saudi Arabia faces diminished clout in Washington

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