AQAP, currently active in Yemen, was established in 2009 and is considered a branch of al-Qaeda.In the same year, the United States included the organization on the list of terrorist entities, and its positions and leaders were targeted by drones.
On October 12, 2000, al-Qaeda launched an attack on the American destroyer Cole, killing 17 US soldiers and carrying out two operations, the first on July 2, 2007, targeting Spanish tourists at the Marib temple, and the second on 17 September 2008 targeting the US Embassy in Algiers Sana’a.
The failed attack on a US passenger plane in Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009, and then the booby-trapped packages in 2010. The organization also adopted attacks abroad, including the attack on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo 12 dead on January 7, 2015.
The elements of the organization controlled the coastal city of Mukalla, capital of Hadramout province, since the beginning of April of the year 2015.
Al-Qaeda is concentrated in the neighboring provinces of Shabwa and Abyan, which have increased its activity because of the support it receives from Mukalla, taking advantage of the absence or lack of readiness of state institutions in the liberated provinces of Houthi militias and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
It has several training camps for its elements and newcomers, as well as a large stockpile of heavy and medium military equipment and vehicles, as well as large quantities of ammunition, which was obtained from the 27 Mika Brigade of the Second Military Zone after entering the city of Mukalla on April 2, The organization has huge sums of money worth several billion Yemeni riyals stolen from the branch of the central bank in the city, which is now used to finance its military operations. The organization also tries to manage the affairs of the city through the establishment of several institutions such as security management of the organization to maintain security within City and court legitimacy to separate the citizens’ issues
Arab alliance against al – Qaeda
A joint military operation against al-Qaeda in Yemen, involving the Yemeni army, and elements of the Saudi and UAE Special Forces, was announced on April 25, 2016 by the Arab Coalition Command for Support of Legitimacy in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia.
The coalition leadership said: The operation resulted in the early hours of the killing of more than (800) members of al-Qaeda and a number of their leaders and the escape of the rest of them.
The statement said that this comes within the framework of the joint international efforts to defeat the terrorist organizations in Yemen and support the legitimate Yemeni government to exert its influence and control over the Yemeni cities that fell under the control of al-Qaeda. The most important is the city of Mukalla, the stronghold of the organization. And the rest of Yemen’s cities.
A strong blow to al-Qaeda in Yemen
The al-Hadrami elite forces seized support and air support from the Arab coalition forces against Ansar Allah last February on the pockets of al-Qaeda terrorist operatives in Hadramout province in eastern Yemen.
The spokesman for the second military region of the Yemeni army, Hisham al-Jabri, in a statement received by “Sputnik” copy of it, that the elite forces of Hadramit cleared today, the main plot of the elements of al-Qaeda terrorist in the valley of Mesini west of the city of Mukalla, the capital of the province of Hadramout fully, and they suffered heavy losses And a large number of dead and wounded.
The “Hadhramaut” forces are composed of soldiers belonging to clans who support the exiled regime in addition to local recruits from Hadramout province. They were formed by the Arab coalition forces under the supervision and training of Emirati officers and financed by Saudi Arabia.
Why Al-Qaeda is weak in southern Yemen?
According to local sources, the spread of al-Qaeda and its control in the southern regions of Yemen has declined in recent months, an unprecedented two years ago, in conjunction with the deployment of Yemeni forces, trained by the UAE forces, which operates the front and the presence of the coalition in the south of the country
With the deployment of government forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates in different parts of Abyan and Shabwa provinces, al-Qaeda’s control in the southern provinces of Yemen has largely receded after it was controlled or spread by early 2016, Starting from the outskirts of Aden (the center of the southern governorates), passing through cities and scattered areas in Abyan and Shabwa, to Mukalla, the center of Hadramout province in the east.
Al-Qaeda in Yemen is one of the strongest branches of international organization in the world. It has benefited from the war in the country for more than two years, spreading in vast areas to the south, but the spread has fallen to government campaigns for nearly a year and a half. Was exposed in the first half of this year to an unprecedented wave of US raids, reaching dozens. However, many factual data indicate that the organization is not lost in a way that can be considered a “defeat”, as it is a tactic or as a result of internal factors linked to the Al Qaeda strategy that the developments in the country in recent years have altered or created. Differences in the ranks of the organization’s leaders in view of it, as well as the experiences experienced by the control of cities sporadically, and prompted him to adopt local political methods, as well as adopted by armed violence.
Political Studies Unit*