Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operates out of Yemen, a fragile state plagued by a myriad of socio-economic and security challenges. The population of Yemen faces high levels of poverty and unemployment, a low literacy rate, and an addiction to a drug called “qat.” Furthermore, Yemen’s natural resources are depleting. The al Houthi movement in the north has increased its influence substantially since 2011. The Southern Movement leadership is calling for secession and the re-establishment of a South Yemen. Both pose an existential threat to the government and place a significant strain on its resources and security apparatus. The combination of these factors creates an environment in which AQAP finds shelter, allowing it to train and prepare for attacks. This section provides analysis and background information on the security challenges in Yemen.
In Yemen, No Good Options are Left, National Review Online
Obama's Counterterrorism Strategy is Already Failing, U.S. News and World Report
Don't Replicate the Failure of Yemen, The Weekly Standard
Update on the Crisis in Yemen, May 16, 2011
Al Qaeda and its Affiliates Exploit Yemen Unrest, April 4, 2011
Yemen Protests Update, March 28, 2011
Anwar al Awlaki - Militant Islam's Global Preacher, March 12, 2010
A Missed Opportunity in Yemen? February 4, 2010
Yemen, AQAP, and a Way Forward, January 21, 2010
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He's Back: Implications of Saleh's Return to Yemen, AEI Center for Defense Studies, September 23, 2011
IN THIS SECTION
The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) claimed a coordinated attack in Yemen’s capital hours after it occurred. The timing of ISIS’s spectacular attack may mark the beginning of an ISIS Ramadan offensive in Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) ability to produce and train new leaders remains unabated despite years of Yemeni and U.S. counterterrorism operations. AQAP’s resilience stems from its formalized mid-level leadership structure with three components: a chain of command, a training and education program, and a consistent promotion process.
Saudi military deployments to the Yemeni border since Operation Decisive Storm (now Operation Restoring Hope) was launched on March 25, 2015, are drawn from both Royal Saudi Land Forces and Saudi Arabian National Guard units.
This Order of Battle (ORBAT) describes the structure and placement of the Saudi-led coalition forces involved in Operations Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope in Yemen.
Mohsen Rezaei, Iran's Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, praised the leader of Yemen’s al Houthis, Abdul Malik al Houthi, in an open letter on March 28.
The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham claimed credit for a deadly attack in Yemen. The targets of the attack match traditional ISIS methodology, designed to stoke sectarian war, and are a sharp deviation from historical al Qaeda’s practice.
The Yemen Order of Battle (ORBAT) describes the structure and placement of the Yemeni Armed Forces down to the brigade level.
There is no easy strategy for success in Yemen. But one thing is certain: A partnership with the Houthis— who prefer to run the country as puppet masters from the wings, infiltrating rather than controlling the Yemeni military and governmental institutions—is not the answer.
The al Houthi movement, an armed Zaydi Shi’a group that fought six wars with the Yemeni state between 2004 and 2010, expanded its influence in Yemen considerably in 2014.