Who Is Abdul Latif Al-Sayed And What Impact Will His Assassination Have On Developments In Yemen?

Sunday 13 August 2023 - 11:36

The reappearance of terrorism and bombings in Yemen can be considered as an important and influential incident, especially in the southern areas of the Arab country. These sorts of attacks, which are known as the method of fighting by terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and their like-minded cults, can sometimes inflict deadly blows upon the other sides.

As a result of such tactics, the assassination of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed could also lead to unpleasant events for the Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces.

Following a ceasefire between the Saudi-led coalition and the Ansar Allah movement, tension and conflict shifted within the factions affiliated to the Saudi-led coalition, and the chaos caused by this conflict caused Al-Qaeda to be able to attract new financial resources, to be able to advertise again in two important governorates of Shabwa and Abyan. So, the Al-Qaeda terrorist group succeeded in recruiting members and returning to competitions in occupied areas of Yemen.

Read more: Latest Developments On Yemeni Fronts; What Is Happening In Occupied Areas? (Map)

For weeks, we have witnessed bombings and assassinations in the north of Abyan Governorate, the last of which was the killing of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed, commander of the Southern Transitional Council forces in Al-Jannan region in Mudiyah district of the governorate.

Al-Qaeda used C4 explosives in this attack and in addition to Abdul Latif they attacked five other STC militants, whose conditions have not yet been determined, and it seems that there is no senior official among them.

Who is Abdul Latif Al-Sayed?

Abdul Latif Muhammad Husein Bafaqih, known as Al-Sayed, was one of the local commanders of Ja’ar town on the coastal areas of Abyan Governorate who joined Ansar al-Sharia (Al-Qaeda’s ally in Yemen) during the downfall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government and took control of several coastal cities of Abyan, including Ja’ar and Zinjibar towns.

After the establishment of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government, like many local commanders, he was attracted by this government’s financial proposals and separated from Ansar al-Sharia.

His new position led to the strengthening of his social base and he became one of the local commanders of the Southern Committee. With the formation of the Southern Transitional Council, Al-Sayed joined Major General Eidros Qasim Al-Zubaidi and commanded various conflicts in southern Yemen, including southern conflicts with militants of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, frequently called al-Islah Party, in Abyan Governorate.

Read more: The Senior Commander of STC Assassinated In Abyan Province

What are the dimensions of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed’s assassination and its impact on developments in southern Yemen?  

The assassination of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed was not the first operation that Al-Qaeda carried out to strike the Southern Transitional Council.  

Also, this was not the first assassination attempt against Abdul Latif Al-Sayed, and several unsuccessful attempts had been made to kill him before, in one of which his left eye was injured and in a bombing on May 10, 2021, he was injured in the hand.  

The assassination of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed took place a few days after he was appointed by Eidros Qasim Al-Zubaidi, head of the Southern Transitional Council, as commander of the Hizam al-Amni (Security Belt Forces) forces in Abyan Governorate.   

As soon as he received the post, he offered peace to the tribes allied with Al-Qaeda and sent representatives to request that their militants stop attacking the STC forces in exchange for joining the armed forces of the Southern Transitional Council and settling in Mudiyah and Al-Mahfad districts.

It seems that this proposal was a serious threat to Al-Qaeda’s future in southern Yemen. to such a great degree that they had to remove him from their path. What Al-Qaeda and its supporters want is to intensify conflict and reduce the power of the Southern Transitional Council in southern Yemen.  

This is in line with Saudi Arabia’s objectives, and from this perspective, the claim of media outlets affiliated to the Southern Transitional Council about Saudi Arabia’s financial support for Al-Qaeda is not a false report and there is a possibility of such support from them.  

The assassination of Abdul Latif Al-Sayed was a great loss for the Southern Transitional Council and the successor vacuum could lead to the collapse of STC positions in Abyan Governorate.

This trend has many dimensions and in order to analyze it, we must wait for US movements on the southwestern coast of Yemen, Al-Qaeda’s reaction to the vacuum of STC command in Abyan Governorate, as well as actions by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia in southern Yemen and so on.

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