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Separatist Group Declares Self-rule in Southern Yemen

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), a separatist organization seeking self-rule in Yemen but at the same fighting alongside the central government in a civil war against Houthi rebels, declared early on Sunday that it would take full authority for areas under its control. These areas include parts of Aden, the southern port city to where the government fled after the Iran-backed rebels captured the capital Sanaa more than five years ago. The government denounced the declaration, calling it “dangerous.” Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami said it meant “a resumption of [the STC’s] armed insurgency.” Yemen’s government is backed by Saudi Arabia, which has led a Sunni coalition against the Shi’ite Houthis. The STC’s primary backer has been the United Arab Emirates, until recently a member of the coalition; both, however, are steadfast opponents of an Islamist party that makes up much of Yemen’s government. In its declaration, the STC said it intended to take over Aden’s airport and sea port, as well as the city’s central bank. In a Twitter post, its vice president, Hani Ali Brik, accused the Yemeni government of corruption and ineptitude.