Over the past few hours, Saudi-led coalition forces have continued to strip the Islah Party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that has been allied to the Saudis since the beginning of the invasion in 2015, of its military influence.
The latest action taken against Islah was enabling the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) militias to take control over the third directorate in Shabwah province, eastern Yemen.
According to local sources, the UAE-backed Shabwah Elite militia known as the “Shabwah Defence Force”, took control of the district of Jardan north of the city of Ataq, thus taking charge of protecting the oil supply lines between production fields and the export port.
The sources confirmed that the militia Shabwah Defence Force seized the weapons stores in the Jardan camp following directives issued by the commander of UAE forces in Shabwah, Saleh Majran al-Ameri.
The coalition toppled Islah-affiliated governor Bin Adio in mid-December, and appointed a new UAE-backed governor named Awad al-Awlaki.
The Shabwah Elite militia returned to Ataq after the “special forces” of the Islah led by Abed Rabbo Lakaab al-Sharif were expelled following armed clashes between the two sides in August 2019.
The UAE is reportedly seeking to root out dozens of Islah Party officials in the province’s executive offices, and replace them with a number of Emirati loyalists from Shabwah, Dhalea and Yafea.