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South Yemen insurgency
Part of the Yemeni Crisis

Governorates that previously formed South Yemen in red
Date27 April 2009 – 16 September 2014
(5 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)
Location
Result Escalated into a full-scale civil war with foreign intervention. Southern Transitional Council formed in 2017.
Belligerents

Government

Pro-government tribes[1]

Supported by:

South Yemen Southern Transitional Council (since 2017)

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders

Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh
(until 2012)
Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi
(since 2011)
Yemen Ahmed Saleh
(2000–2012)
Yemen Mohammed Basindawa
(2011–2014)
Yemen Khaled Bahah
(2014–2016)
Yemen Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr
(since 2016)
Yemen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar
(since 2016)
Yemen Muhammad Nasir Ahmad Ali

Yemen Abdullah al-Thuraya 

South Yemen Aidarus al-Zoubaidi
South Yemen Hassan Baoum* (POW)
South Yemen Fawaz Baoum* (POW)
South Yemen Tahir Tamah
South Yemen Tareq al-Fadhli
South Yemen Ali Salim al-Beidh
South Yemen Yasin Said Numan
South Yemen Ali Saleh al-Yafee 
South Yemen Ahmed Bamualem (POW)
South Yemen Ali al-Saadi (POW)
South Yemen Ali Saif Mohammed
South Yemen Mohsin al Twairah

South Yemen Abbas Tanba 
Casualties and losses

254 killed[5]
1,900 injured[5]

(Government claim)

1,800 killed[6][7]

500+ Detained (over 350 released)[8][9]
*Released

The South Yemen insurgency was a series of protests and attacks on government forces in southern Yemen between 2009 and 2014. Although the violence was blamed on elements within the southern secessionist movement, leaders of the group maintained that their aims of independence were to be achieved through peaceful means, and claimed that attacks were from ordinary citizens in response to the government's provocative actions.

The insurgency came amid the Shia insurgency in the country's north that was led by Houthi communities. Southern leaders led a brief, unsuccessful secession in 1994 following unification. Many of them were involved in the secession movement. Southern separatist insurgents were active mainly in the area of former South Yemen but also in Ad Dali' Governorate, which was not a part of the independent southern state.[10]

After the outbreak of the Yemeni Civil War in late 2014, the separatists briefly ended their insurgency against the government in order to push back the Houthi offensives in southern Yemen. In April 2017, the breakaway Southern Transitional Council was announced, and southern separatists once again engaged in periodic clashes with Hadi-led forces in the context of the civil war.

Background

In 1990, North Yemen and South Yemen united into one country, but in 1994, South Yemeni army units staged an armed revolt against what they considered corrupt crony state rule by North Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The revolt however failed as Saleh enlisted Salafi and Jihadist forces to fight against Southern forces of the Yemeni Socialist Party.[citation needed] However, after 15 years, in 2009, prominent Southern Islamist leader Tariq al-Fadhli, who had fought for the Mujahideen in the Soviet–Afghan War, broke his alliance with President Saleh to join the secessionist Southern Movement. This gave new power to movement, in which al-Fadhli became a prominent figure. That same month, on 28 April, a revolt in the South started, with massive demonstrations in most major towns.[citation needed]

Insurgents

The political movement behind the so-called 'insurgency' is a group called the Southern Movement. Led by exiled South Yemeni leaders and opposition figures, this group calls for peaceful protests. However, their protests have recently often turned into riots, some with armed fighters. The insurgency has occasionally been linked by the Yemeni government to Islamist groups, including ex-military commanders and South-Yemeni tribes. South Yemen is home to several jihadist movements, some of which are believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, most notably a group called the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. Naser al-Wahishi the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula expressed support for the South Yemeni separatist movement.[11] However leaders of the Southern Movement were quick to deny any links with al-Qaeda.[12] Many believe that Saleh's government is using al-Qaeda as a means to win international support against insurgencies in the North and South.[citation needed] As a response to such accusations, Tariq al-Fadhli - one of the leaders of the southern movement - posted a video of himself on YouTube raising the American flag with the national anthem over his compound in an attempt to openly distance himself from Al-Qaeda.[13]

There are many leaders within the movement, including Fadi Hassan Ahmed Baoum who is head of the Southern Movement's Supreme Council. He was arrested and later released by Yemeni authorities. Meanwhile, Tahir Tamah has been said to be behind the group's militant faction.[9]

Timeline

2009–2011 insurgency

2011 Yemeni revolution

Main article: 2011 Yemeni revolution

Situation in March 2012, showing the area where there was presence of South Yemen resistance
Situation in March 2012, showing the area where there was presence of South Yemen resistance

Post-Revolution (2012)

The southern movement, like the Houthis rejected a GCC brokered deal between the GPC and Al-Islah and boycotted the February 21, 2012 presidential election leaving Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as only candidate.[59]

2013

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2014

An activist with Southern Movement confirmed the clash, saying the attackers belonged to the militant Southern Resistance group.[4]

See also

References

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Post–Cold War conflicts in Asia