“The Salvation Demonstration in Seiyun” - October 14, 2022 (South24 Center)

How Do Hadramis View the Shape of the State of «South Yemen»?


Fri, 28-10-2022 11:55 PM, Aden

Abdullah Al-Shadli (South24)

The governorate of Hadramout is considered the strategic depth for South Yemen. It is geographically the largest governorate and similarly at the level of population. Moreover, it is somewhat of storehouse of wealth and massive natural resources. As for decades of constant demands and endeavors to gain South’s independence and to restore their state, Hadramout represents the backbone of this desired state.

Hadramout has played a basic role as being part of former liberation movements and the STC currently. The main cities of the governorate which is divided into the Wadi and Coast host dozens of major popular events in which tens of thousands participated to demand the restoration of the desired state of South Yemen.

Along with the demands to restore the state of South Yemen who entered a merging unity with North Yemen in 1990 before the Southern-Hadrami President Ali Salim Al-Bidh unilaterally announced disengagement in 1994, the current Hadrami elite sticks to the federal shape of the desired state far off from the previous absolute centrality.

In this report, “South24 Center" highlights the views of Hadrami figures who are affiliate to different political and social segments including those who are close to the Yemeni Islah party which has lately adopted a slogan to “separate” Hadramout from South Yemen.

Restoration of South Yemen

Academic Doaa Bawazir, the member of Southern Women Higher Committee believes that “the restoration of the Southern state is a foregone conclusion".

She told “South24 Center”: “It is the will of people from Aden in the west to Al-Mahra and Socotra in the east. Restoration of the South state has become a popular issue for those whose will has been represented in the peaceful Southern movement (Hirak).

Saleh Bazeqama, Deputy Head of the so-called “Hadramout Inclusive Bloc (Alliance)“, believes that the millions who demonstrated in Hadramout for the sake of South Yemen represent the Hadramis’ aspirations.

He told “South24 Center” that the “people of Hadramout conveyed their message through these successive demonstrations of millions, the latest of which was (the Salvation Demonstration) in Seiyun”.

Hadramout will never walk out of South Yemen's alignment

Abdulrahman Al-Jafri, Head of the STC office in Seiyun told “South24 Center” that “the Yemeni unity no longer exists”.

He added: “The Southerners handed over a state with all its institutions, airports, companies and currency in addition to giving up the presidency to the Yemen Arab Republic with sincere intentions. However, the other side betrayed the unity agreements and assassinated political and military figures”.

For his part, Dr. Omar Bagrdana, Head of "Al-Marifa Center for Studies and Strategic Researches" believes that “the restoration of South Yemen will be a source for the region’s security and stability and a strong factor to put an end to the recurrent state of conflict in Yemen”.

He told “South24 Center” that “the core of the conflict is the issue of the people of South Yemen". Moreover, the desired stability won’t be attained without a fair solution for this issue”.

However, journalist Abdulrahman Batis said that he lacks the same degree of enthusiasm towards the restoration of South Yemen, especially if Hadramout is part of this state.

He told “South24 Center” that “Hadramout will enjoy a prospect future with being independent from South Yemen. Hadramout does not need more intra-Southern conflict. Southerners themselves only see oil fields and wealth in Hadramout”.

Although Batis stressed on the idea of avoiding the intra-Southern conflict by the independence of Hadramout, he believes that Hadramout was not part of South Yemen to return to it. He added: “We have the prerequisites of a state and we don’t need other governorates, even the Southern ones”.

The shape of the state

Publicly, the STC, in which Hadrami figures hold senior positions, adopts a federal project of the South Yemen state the STC seeks to restore.

As for the shape of the state, Bagrdana said: "The federal state is the one wanted by the Hadramis. Hadramout is looking forward to being an independent region which has full powers in light of a Southern federal state".

Doaa agreed with that view adding that "Hadramout and all Southern governorates aspire for the federal state".

She added: "This is the state which preserves the right of each governorate for a fair partnership in all fields of life and the state institutions as well as ensuring privacy, social justice and the wealth rights".

Saleh Bazeqama believes that "the confederal shape of the state is fair for Hadramout and South Yemen".

An independent Hadramout

Bazeqama criticized the voices who call for dividing South Yemen and separating Hadramout from it. He said: "These calls will fail as there is a little support for them. They won't impact the voices and demands of millions of Hadramis and Southerners".

He added: "These calls adopt external agenda related to political parties such as the Islah party and other Northern elites. They are tied to the cessation of interests of certain figures".

He called on those who stand behind such demands to judge things by mind and denounce the personal interests. He added: "They were absent from the scene at a time when all of us had to back the Second Hadrami Uprising and its demands".

Bagrdana believes that the successes achieved by STC at the expense of the Islah Party are behind the emergence of these voices.

He added: "After the losses incurred by the Islah Party in most of South Yemen's regions, the party is trying to mix cards by taking cover behind the Hadramout separation project hoping to take Hadramout as an alternative nation instead of Marib and Sanaa".

However, Bagrdana said that the way by which STC deals with the eastern parts of Hadramout may be one of the loopholes exploited by the Islah Party.

He elaborated: "There is a weakness in the STC’s political and social performance. There is no certain qualitative mechanism to address Hadramout's eastern part".

He indicated that these areas have their own peculiarities and their private feature which differs from other South Yemen’s governorates".

He believes that “STC has to be open with all segments of the society, especially the tribes to convey an image about the next state of South Yemen. It has to assure them that the people of the governorate will be partners there in a fair way".

On her part, Doaa believes that the calls to separate Hadramout from South are "against the desire, tendencies and sacrifices of the majority of its people".

She said: "These forces won't be able to affect the public demand no matter how much they try to mix cards or pretend that they are keen on its rights. All of them are outside the historical movement and the Southern national pulse which dominates the governorate's locals".

On the other hand, Abdulrahman Batis believes that the "demands for Hadramout independence became a must in light of divisions among Hadramis. This demonstrate that there is a wild desire to alienate Hadramout from the failed Southern project" according to him.

Threats against the Hadrami will

Whatever are the Hadrsmis' wishes and their future aspirations, it seems that there are many things that threaten the independence of their decision making. This includes the Northern forces deployed in the oil-rich governorate since 1994.

Basically, the First Military District in Wadi Hadramout constitutes the biggest of these threats. The First Military District consists of Northern brigades whose presence dates back to the pre 2015 war and who have not participated in any battle".

Although the Riyadh Agreement [November 2019] stipulates on moving the First Military District to the battle fronts against the Houthis, this has not been achieved yet despite the establishment of PLC in April this year.

Commenting on the First Military District and their presence which is against the Hadramis' will, Bazeqama said: "We don't consider it as an obstacle at all".

He added: "Our conscious youth who are thirsty to freedom can expel them by force but we seek to drive them out by peaceful means in light of the Riyadh Agreement without shedding a single drop of blood".

Doaa believes that "the First Military District forces may be a threat against the Hadramis' will currently. However, it is just a matter of time before Hadramis being able to impose their will regarding the restoration of South Yemen state".

Bagrdana stressed on the necessity to find out alternatives to the First Military District in Hadramout as "it will leave big vacuum after liberating the Wadi from its presence ".

He indicated that "stirring tribal chauvinism will continue to rely upon to what extent STC and PLC are able to contain and control the situation in the valley and to attract the tribes".

But contrary to other Hadramis, Abdulrahman Batis doesn't see any threats in the First Military District.

"These forces are patriotic like those based in Al-Mahra". He alleged that "the real danger is represented in the STC's forces which claim protecting Hadramout," he explained

Over the two past months, the cities of Wadi Hadramout and the Desert have witnessed dozens of events and peaceful demonstrations to demand the exit of the Northern forces and replacing them with Hadrami forces. This popular movement comes as part of the "Hadrami Uprising" that broke out late last year and has carried many demands. It also stressed that Hadramout is part and parcel of South Yemen.

Journalist and editor at South24 Center for News and Studies

South YemenHadramoutSeiyunDemonstrationIslahSTC