2015-2016 Yemen Conflict
The Critical Threats Project has been tracking developments closely in Yemen as they unfold. Regular analysis of the crisis will be posted below.
Yemen Crisis Situation Reports, updated as needed
Gulf of Aden Security Review, updated daily
Yemen’s Military and Foreign Intervention
Yemen Frontline: October 2016, October 2016
Saudi Unit Deployments to the Yemeni Border, June 2015
Saudi-led Intervention in Yemen: Order of Battle, April 2015
Yemen Order of Battle, February 2015
Iran in Yemen
Iranian Involvement in Missile Attacks on the USS Mason, October 19, 2016
Signaling Saudi Arabia: Iranian Support to Yemen's al Houthis, April 15, 2016
Read more on Iran.
Escalation in the Red Sea: Yemen's Civil War, Iran and Saudi Arabia, October 14, 2016
A New Model for Defeating al Qaeda in Yemen, September 10, 2015
AQAP Jailbreak is Just Another Problem for Yemen, April 2, 2015
The Yemen Mess is Sparking a Full-Fledged Regional War, March 26, 2015
Why America’s Yemen Policy is Failing, February 13, 2015
In Yemen, No Good Options Are Left, January 22, 2015
Don’t Replicate the Failure of Yemen, September 11, 2014
Obama’s Counterterrorism Strategy is Already Failing, September 11, 2014
Yemen Model Won’t Work in Iraq, Syria, July 16, 2014
Yemen’s Pivotal Moment, February 12, 2014
COUNTERING AQAP AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE ISLAMIC STATE IN YEMEN
AQAP Expanding Behind Yemen's Frontlines, February 17, 2016
AQAP: A Resurgent Threat, September 11, 2015
Exploring ISIS in Yemen, July 24, 2015
Desknote: The Growing Threats of ISIS in Yemen, May 6, 2015
ISIS in Yemen: Fueling the Sectarian Fire, March 20, 2015
AQAP Hostage Somers is a Symptom of Yemen Model Problems, December 4, 2014
Warning: AQAP’s Looming Threat in Yemen, August 14, 2015
AQAP’s Campaign against the Yemeni Military, July 7, 2014
Read more on AQAP.
RISE OF THE AL HOUTHI MOVEMENT
Al Houthi Areas of Influence, updated as needed
Sana’a Under Siege: Yemen’s Uncertain Future, September 25, 2014
The al Houthi Victory in Amran, July 9, 2014
Yemen’s Counter-Terrorism Quandary, June 26, 2014
IN THIS SECTION
The Islamic State is present in Yemen and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. That reality may well lead U.S. policymakers to see Yemen as a front in the counter–Islamic State fight. That would be a mistake.
Iran almost certainly played a role in the missile attacks against the USS Mason near the Bab al Mandab Strait on October 9 and October 12. . Iran likely supplied the missiles and, at the very least, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) or Lebanese Hezbollah operatives provided technical expertise and modifications in support of those who launched the attack.
The deliberate targeting of U.S. Navy vessels from al Houthi-Saleh–controlled territory is a significant inflection in the Red Sea and a sign that Yemen’s civil war is becoming tangled in regional dynamics and conflicts. It does not make sense when seen in the context of only one the conflicts—the Yemeni civil war, the Iranian-Saudi conflict, and Iran’s more aggressive posturing in the region.
The frontlines of Yemen’s civil war have remained relatively fixed because neither side has the military strength to extend its influence significantly beyond the borders of its support base.
Yemeni military forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi will likely launch an offensive to seize control of the al Houthi-Saleh—controlled capital, Sana’a, in the coming weeks.
ISIS is prosecuting a campaign in Yemen designed to elevate its position on the global stage and compete with one of al Qaeda’s strongest affiliates. ISIS will likely surge in Yemen during Ramadan 2016 and attempt to derail ongoing efforts to bring stability and security to southern Yemen.
Iranian activities in Yemen are not about Yemen. They are, rather, part of the regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran that is now playing out on battlefields and in political and diplomatic arenas throughout the Middle East.
AQAP is well on its way to reconstituting the emirate it held in 2011 and 2012 almost unnoticed by the outside world. U.S. airstrikes have had no effect at all on its expansion and have not significantly degraded the group’s ability to target the United States. AQAP is becoming an ever-more serious threat to American national security, and no one is doing much about it.
An archive of the 2016 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate has been quietly expanding as the country descends further into civil war. It may be one of the few beneficiaries of Yemen’s collapse, other than the Islamic State, which is developing its own Yemeni franchise.