Skip to main content

Riyadh Agreement at risk of collapse in southern Yemen

Tensions flare between Saudi and UAE aligned forces.

On March 31, a source within Yemen’s Health Ministry accused militants loyal to the United Arab Emirates-aligned Southern Transitional Council of stealing nine ambulances provided by the World Health Organization to fight COVID-19. Southern Transitional Council official spokesman Nizar Haitham denied these allegations to Al-Monitor, emphasizing the council’s cooperation with the UN health agency and the Yemeni Ministry of Health against the threat of the novel coronavirus. Nonetheless, the episode reflected the recent upsurge in hostilities between the Yemeni government and the council.

The escalation of intra-coalitional tensions in southern Yemen was triggered by Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in blocking four Southern Transitional Council officials from returning to Aden for political negotiations March 13. This incident caused the council to warn of negative consequences for Yemen’s peace process and revealed Saudi Arabia’s frustrations with the UAE’s last-minute correspondence with Riyadh about the planned return of council officials from Jordan. Clashes erupted between the council and Yemeni government forces March 20, and on April 1, Saudi Arabia expanded its deployments of elite forces in Aden to guard against future hostilities instigated by the council.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.