Yemen: No One Is In Charge


October 18, 2014: The Shia rebels now control all or part of nine of the 22 provinces. The Shia rebels are fighting  Sunni tribesmen in the north (less and less) and south (more and more) as well as AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) Islamic terrorists who are sending suicide bombers and gunmen into areas where Shia rebels are operating. Despite all the opposition the Shia rebels keep advancing, mainly because the army and police do not oppose them and sometimes cooperate with them. The government has little to say about this curious and unpublicized (at least by the army) development. This has led to accusations that former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was from the north, has a secret deal with the many army officers who once loyally served him to stand aside and let the Shia rebels take control of the capital. This does not make a lot of sense because Saleh always opposed restoring the autonomy the northern Shia lost in the 1960s. Then again, Saleh may have changed his mind if the new deal included immunity from prosecution for past corrupt acts. Meanwhile army commanders have made no public statements explaining their lack of resistance to the Shia rebels. At the same time both the army and the Shia rebels are fighting AQAP and pro-AQAP Sunni tribes in the south. AQAP is trying to rally the southern Sunni tribes to help form an AQAP led religious dictatorship in the south (for a start) and eventually all of Arabia. There is not a lot of enthusiasm for a religious dictatorship in the south but forming a new Sunni Arab state in the south is popular, especially if it includes the oil fields.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab oil states in the Persian Gulf) agrees that Yemen cannot be allowed to disintegrate. For one thing that would provide Iran with another ally (the Shia tribes of the north). At the moment the GCC is trying to determine exactly what is going on with the Yemeni government and army. Both still exist, but the army is not opposing the Shia and the government can do nothing without permission from the Shia rebels who now control the capital. Yemen needs a new coalition to run the country because the one that existed until September has ceased to function, at least when it comes to the Shia rebels occupying the capital and the growing number of cities and provinces the Shia have taken control of.

Shia and Sunni tribal militias in Ibb province (150 kilometers southwest of the capital) agreed to a 24 hour truce. Skirmishing in this area has been going on since the 14th.

October 17, 2014: In the southeast (Ibb province) a clash between Shia and Sunni militias left six Shia and two Sunni tribesmen dead. In the southeast (Bayda province) Shia rebels were ambushed by AQAP gunmen and several Shia were killed. Despite that the Shia rebels, with the cooperation of the local army garrison, took control of Radda, which had long been a base for AQAP. The commander of the army garrison was a supporter of deposed dictator Saleh. There was several days of fighting in Radda, leaving over a dozen dead and many more wounded before AQAP conceded defeat and left the town.

AQAP announced that is now fully backed ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant). AQAP didn’t say it had joined ISIL, but urged all Moslems to support ISIL in its fight against the West and its Arab allies who were now bombing ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

October 16, 2014: Shia rebels captured the town of Harad and a major border crossing with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis moved more troops to their side of the border and increased border patrols in the area.

In the southeast (Ibb province) AQAP men raided the town of Udain, killing five policemen. Udain is 20 kilometers west of the city of Ibb, which the Shia rebels now occupy.

October 15, 2014: In the southeast (Ibb province) AQAP entered Al Adeen and attacked government facilities, leaving six soldiers dead and six soldiers and police wounded.

The U.S. announced rewards totaling $45 million for information leading to the death or capture of eight AQAP leaders.

The oil pipeline to the Red Sea was bombed again, halting flow of oil and much needed income for the government. The 320 kilometer long pipeline extends from oil fields in Marib province to the Red Sea export terminal.

October 14, 2014: In the north (the Saudi border near Munde) Shia rebels skirmished with Saudi troops who were setting up a border post on the Yemeni side of the border. This part of the Saudi effort to construct a barrier system (an enhanced fence) along 1,800 kilometers of its Yemen border. This is unpopular with many of the tribes on the Yemen side as it prevents them from freely crossing with their flocks, as they have done for centuries.

Shia rebels took control of the port of Hodeida (200 kilometers west of the capital).

October 13, 2014: President Hadi appointed the Yemen UN representative Khaled Bahah as the new prime minister. Balah was approved by the Shia rebels and must now form a government satisfactory to both Sunnis and Shia.

Saudi Arabia called on Iran to withdraw its support for the Shia rebels in Yemen. Iran denied any involvement, despite considerable evidence otherwise. Inside Iran the mass media is quite happy with the way things are going in Yemen. The Saudis fear that Iran is gaining another ally as it already has with the Assad dictatorship in Syria and the Shia Hezbollah militia in Lebanon which is so powerful that it can usually veto any government policy it disagrees with. In all three of these countries the Shia are a minority which, via Iranian support, have come to gain a disproportionate amount of political power.

October 11, 2014: In the south (Hadramout province) an AQAP roadside bomb killed two soldiers and wounded three others.

October 9, 2014:  In the capital an AQAP suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a political demonstration killing 47 Shia. In the south (Hadramout province) AQAP used a suicide bomber and gunmen to attack several army targets. The attackers were repulsed but killed 20 soldiers.

Yemen's newly appointed prime minister (Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak) quit 33 hours after getting the job when the Shia rebels made it clear that he was not acceptable.

October 8, 2014: In the southeast (Bayda province) AQAP made three attacks that left ten policemen dead. This was apparently done with the approval of local tribal chiefs who recently announced that they believed the local police were working with the Shia rebels.

October 5, 2014: AQAP posted an undated video to the Internet showing Islamic terrorists killing 14 Shia soldiers in Yemen.

October 3, 2014: In the north (Amran province) a bomb planed inside a car went off leaving two dead and ten wounded. It was unclear if this was the work of Shia or Sunni terrorists.





Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close