Sun - 19 Jan 2020 - 11:05 PM ،،،

 The third and final part of the Egyptian Fajr interview with President of the Southern Transitional Council, Aidroos Al Zubaidi.

Fajr: Have elements from the  Brotherhood betrayed you in favor of the Houthis. Is that why you are not using air raids in your operations ?
Al Zubaidi: Yes, the Brotherhood handed several positions to the Houthis  and leaked several misleading coordinates, as result of that many civilians were victims of those raids specially in Sanaa. The Muslim Brotherhood betray their homeland and they export terrorism.

Fajr: The Houthis targeted the Baha’is. How will you preserve the rights of the minorities in the future southern state?
Al Zubaidi: In the southern state those minorities had rights and were able to practice their lives and their religions freely including the Hindus, they were all able to practice their religious sermons freely. Their places of worship still exist till this day. Law protects all.

Fajr: What is your response to the humanitarian organisation that accuse the STC of deporting the northerners ?
Al Zubaidi: Our problem is with those who are loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, they continuously accuse the STC ,while they carry on importing terrorism through Al-Qaeda and Isis.

Fajr: Is the Straight of Bab-el-Mandeb secure ?
Al Zubaidi: The Arab coalition participated in the war, we expected the Egyptians to play a strategic role. Egypt should cooperate with the south because the straight is important.

Fajr: Does the Houthi threat the straight ?
Al Zubaidi: The straight of Bab-el-Mandeb is very secure, the southern resistance is stationed there and the Saudi coastal guards are based in Mayun island, the Houthi threats are not anywhere near .

Fajr: Does that security extend to the Red Sea ?
Al Zubaidi: The Houthis still place a threat on the Red Sea navigation, specially near Hodeidah and Koria Moria islands, Hodeidah is an obstacle in securing the coast.

Fajr: How is your relationship with Egypt ?
Al Zubaidi: We have a strong relationship with the Egyptians but we do not announce it. Soon we will exchange visits with Egypt and the UAE has good relations with them, they arrange visits for us. The south will have strategic relations with Egypt because we share vital international trade routes .

Fajr: What are the difficulties you face ?
Al Zubaidi: The key difficulty I face is fulfilling the southern peoples’ dream and to reinstate the southern state with its own flag as well as our return to the Security Council and the Arab League .

Fajr: Where do you place the southern women and their rights in the future southern state?
Al Zubaidi: In the Presidency of the STC there are three females Niran, Suhair and Muna in addition to females in the administrations at the STC. We believe that the women are half of the society.

Fajr: Is there unemployment among southern women?
Al Zubaidi: There is unemployment in both sexes not only women.

Fajr: How do you see the destruction in the past and what about the  lack of cinemas?
Al Zubaidi: There were cinemas in the past but they were closed by the previous regime. There are attempts to reopen the monies, theatres are restored in Malla, there are plans to produce a joint film between the Egyptians and people from Aden.

Fajr: Behind every great man there is a woman, what do you say to that?
Al Zubaidi: There are 4 women in my life starting with my mother and my sister my daughter and my wife. My first wife suffered from the pressure of work, our relationship struggled, which led to our separation. With my second wife my situation was better she was fortunate that Decisive Storm saved the day and we are in a much better situation on the ground.

Fajr: What were the reasons behind the first separation?
Al Zubaidi: The situation was challenging, I was without any pay and the economical situation was difficult, I was staying  frequently in hide outs in the mountains for months, that increased the level of distress and tension between us, therefore the only solution was to separate and to concentrate on the main  issue.
Fajr: What is your opinion on Khat and its wide spread consumption in the south?
Al Zubaidi: Before the unity, Khat was only allowed two days a week, now the youth consume it regularly and they would commit anything to get it including criminal acts like theft. Khat is not different than drugs. When we have our independent state we will be able to control this phenomenon but now it is difficult because the north depend on it as a source of income. After separation it will be easier.

Fajr: Salary delays for soldiers How do you see it?
Al Zubaidi: There was a gap after the UAE's forces exited following that the Saudi forces took over the military file, so salaries were delayed for two months but now the salaries will be paid again.

Fajr: What is your message to the legitimacy?
Al Zubaidi: We do not trust it, we consider it a corrupt government.

Fajr: What is Your Message to the southern people ?
Al Zubaidi: We promise the people that we will secure the route to an independent state with Aden its capital.

Fajr: What is your message to the International community ?
Al Zubaidi: The southern issue is the key to the Yemeni issue, if it is solved then all the problems in Yemen will  be solved.

Fajr: What is your message to the Egyptian people?
Al Zubaidi: We love the Egyptian people, we consider Egypt to be the leading Arab country, and we rely on the Egyptian role in the Arab and Islamic world, and in the return of the South.

Fajr: How do you recall your days traveling amongst the mountains?
Al Zubaidi: Without the popular support we would have not continued the fight. The people opened their homes form me and their sons used to look out for me.

Fajr: Did you expect that the southern issue would reach to where it is now ?
Al Zubaidi: Of Course not and if we did, we would have failed.

Fajr: What is the difference between the struggle and political life ?
Al Zubaidi: The struggle is clear, but politics foresees the reactions of others which is a heart rending act.

 Translated by Sahar Noman

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