National Shield Forces, Affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Create Instability in Hadhramaut… Details

The growing capabilities of the National Shield Forces, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and claiming to be part of legitimacy and the Presidential Council, raise concerns in Yemen‘s Hadhramaut province about disrupting the security balance in favor of these forces, at the expense of the Southern Transitional Council forces.

According to the Arab London newspaper, the forces are working to recruit new recruits and supply their units with weapons and equipment. Informed sources have also confirmed plans to increase their numbers and develop their weapons, in both quantity and type.

Sources do not rule out the possibility of transforming the National Shield Forces, announced by the Presidential Council about a year ago before leaders of the Reform Party – the Muslim Brotherhood‘s arm in Yemen – infiltrated them, into a primary army in Hadhramaut by dismantling other forces operating in the province and integrating them. This is part of the process of consolidating military and security decisions under the internationally recognized Yemeni authority as a step toward unifying the armed forces, which is expected to be a major component of any future political settlement of the Yemeni conflict. However, it is impossible for the Presidential Council to dismantle the elite Hadrami forces belonging to the Southern Transitional Council and operating primarily in the coastal area of Hadhramaut. Yet, fears persist that these forces may be weakened by attracting some of its soldiers and officers to the National Shield Forces due to their financial capabilities.

The sources state that the financial difficulties faced by members of the security and military forces in areas outside Houthi control due to irregular salary payments did not affect the members of the National Shield Forces, who continued to receive financial grants directly despite the crisis, distributed at their workplaces.

In recent days, signs of discontent have appeared among the ranks of the elite forces operating in the coastal region of Hadhramaut due to the disparity in privileges offered by the National Shield Forces to their members compared to those offered to members of other forces.

Members of the Hadrami elite forces have warned against division and fragmentation within the ranks of those affiliated with the leadership of the second military region, as well as the possibility for a number of members to seek other alternatives, including joining the National Shield Forces brigades, which are open to all without distinction of age, identity, or military rank.

According to Aden Time, members of the Hadrami elite forces are demanding to be included in the recent unified decision on salaries and incentives, which excluded those over the age of thirty-five.

The latter described this decision as arbitrary and unfair to them, considering it a denial of their role over the many years of serving the second military region, enduring the harshest conditions while confronting Al-Qaeda terrorism, and suffering from the interruption of their salaries for long periods without abandoning their military obligations.

The National Shield Forces are primarily concentrated in the Hadhramaut Valley in the northern part of the province. However, military sources claim that among their autonomous objectives is expansion into the coastal region, including the city of Al-Mukalla, where the forces of the Southern Transitional Council are stationed, which advocates for the restoration of the independent state of the South.

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