Muslim Brotherhood’s Socotra setback deals blow to Turkish influence in Yemen

Another wave of Brotherhood escalation is expected in Shabwa province.

Yemeni political sources described ending the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Socotra as an end to Turkey’s attempts to turn the island into its gateway for encroachment in Yemen.

The sources confirmed the existence of a link between the recent tensions in Socotra and the role of leaderships affiliated with Qatar and Turkey. These figures worked to fuel conflicts and to prepare for the pro-Doha current in the Yemeni government to completely take control of the strategic island in the Indian Ocean.

Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood media officials and activists renewed their media attacks on the Saudi-led Arab coalition, accusing it of colluding with the Southern Transitional Council (STC), and called for alternative solutions such as creating a new coalition in Yemen led by Ankara, and establishing an alternative military council to the “legitimacy” camp.

The political sources considered the campaigns assailing the Arab alliance and raising the possibility of Turkish intervention in Yemen in response to the losses incurred by the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, as indicating the growth of the anti-coalition voices within the legitimate government and its institutions that are dominated by the Reform Party (the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Yemen).

The sources said that the participation of the Qatari and Turkish media in the attacks on the Arab coalition over the events of Socotra Island, and the participation of prominent Yemeni political leaders in the campaign aimed at questioning the goals of the coalition, constitute a new attempt at political blackmail and at dragging the coalition forces to clash with the Yemeni forces hostile to the Houthis, foremost of which is the STC, whose forces are participating in the battlefronts against the Houthis in Saada, the western coast, and ad-Dali.

Informed political sources expected that the coming period will witness further sliding in the Yemeni government towards the Turkey-Qatar axis, which they considered to be the main cause of the failure to implement the Riyadh Agreement. They also expected further escalation in political and military tension with the forces and components not subject to the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the STC and the joint resistance forces on the west coast.

On Saturday, a Yemeni government source launched an unprecedented attack on media belonging to the Arab coalition, after it published information about the background of the confrontations in Socotra Archipelago which had ended with the STC forces taking control of the city of Hadibu, the capital of Socotra province and of all the strategic points in the province, including the headquarters of the local authority and security and a number of other vital facilities.

In a news broadcast on the official website of the Yemeni Cabinet, the Yemeni official called on “the coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to compel the Transitional Council to stop its militias’ mucking around, causing chaos, and aggression and start implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement.”

Graphic map of Yemen locating the island of Socotra. (AFP)

The Arab coalition sees that addressing the shortcomings inside the Yemeni government camp can only be done by implementing the terms of the Riyadh Agreement as an introduction to a comprehensive reform of the legitimacy camp’s structure, improving its political and military performance, reducing corruption and besieging the Qatar current within that camp. Achieving that is seen as  the starting point for the plan to improve services, organise the army and direct all military, political and media capabilities towards confronting the Iranian project in Yemen.

Political sources revealed to The Arab Weekly that another wave of Muslim Brotherhood escalation is also to be expected in Shabwa province, where the former Minister of Transport, Saleh al-Jabwani, is continuing his activities of creating anti-Arab coalition militias with Qatari funding. According to the same sources, new arms shipments have arrived in the city of Ataq, the stronghold of the Muslim Brothers in Shabwa and where al-Jabwani had established his first recruitment and training camp.

The sources also confirmed the emergence of signs of expected Muslim Brotherhood actions in the provicness of Hadramaut and Mahra, with Qatari funding as well, in the context of a plan to transfer tension and confrontations to the liberated governorates in the south, while the Houthis continue to control large areas in Al-Jouf. Reports had indicated that these areas were handed over to the Houthi militias in response to The STC’s takeover of Aden in August 2019.

These reports were confirmed by the French publication Intelligence Online, as it confirmed the escalation of Turkey’s activities in Yemen through members of the Turkish Relief Organization in place in the governorates controlled by the Yemeni Muslim Brothers, and through the heavy involvement of Yemeni Brotherhood leaders, foremost among whom is the tribal sheikh and Istanbul-based businessman Hamid al-Ahmar.

The Arab Weekly has previously reported on the signs of a covert agreement between the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen and the Houthis, under the auspices of Turkey, Iran and Qatar, to share areas of influence in Yemen, with the Houthis controlling northern Yemen, in exchange for supporting the Brotherhood’s ambitions to acquire the southern regions.

Observers believe that the emergence of Turkish ambitions in the region and the emergence of two axes, one of which includes Turkey, Qatar, Iran and the other led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, will cast a shadow on the map of internal alliances in the Yemeni scene, which will necessitate the removal of the current loyal to the Turkey-Qatar axis in the Yemeni government, and making clear political distancing from the positions of this current, positions which have started creating confusion within the government and Arab coalition camp, obstructing this camp’s strategy and reshuffling its priorities in such a way as to serve the interests of the anti-coalition camp and defeat the objectives of the legitimate government itself.

Arab Observer

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