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October 30, 2012

Map of Abyani Tribes: Methodology

Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent wing of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is still a threat in southern Yemen. Local tribal militias are a de facto mainstay in holding territory recently regained from the group.  These militias achieved success against Ansar al Sharia in June 2012 by partnering with the Yemeni army and security forces.

The reliance on tribal militias, called popular resistance committees, to hold territory creates a requirement to understand the tribes and the inter-tribal relationships in and around the militias’ areas of operation. The Critical Threats Project has mapped out the tribal regions in Abyan, al Bayda and Shabwah governorates by developing new methodologies that rely on open-source reporting. This slide presentation describes the methodology developed for and used in the Abyani tribes map, part of the publication “Abyani Tribes and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.” The slides detail the methods and sources used, and give three examples of how a tribal area is plotted.