Friday, August 28, 2015

Al Qaeda in Arab Peninsula occupying parts of Yemeni port of Aden

A week ago, officials from exiled president's Mansour Hadi's government, claimed that Aden had been taken from Houthi rebels and that it would be the temporary capital for five years while the rest of the country was retaken from Houthi rebels.
So far, the Hadi government is still mainly located in Ryadh Saudi Arabia. Saudi-led bombing and supply of ground forces loyal to Hadi have forced the Houthis out of much of southern Yemen. The Houthis still control the capital Sanaa and many other areas. However, there has been an ominous development in Aden as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) has taken control of a western sector of the port city. What is even more surprising is that there were no reports of any major battles with the group. AQAP has raised its flag over a number of government buildings including the port complex. A CBC report indicates that AQAP controls important areas of the city according to local officials:Fighters took Tawahi district, home to a presidential palace and Aden's main port, and were patrolling the streets flying black banners, the officials said Saturday. The militants also took parts of Crater, Aden's commercial centre, and parts of the town of Dar Saad, just north of Aden, including an army base that their fighters turned into a training camp, they added.
The officials from the military spoke anonymously. A Yemeni government spokesperson refused to comment. In Tawahi, AQAP destroyed the main security building on Saturday a site they have been trying to destroy for years. A high-ranking military official claimed that authorities in Aden had given weapons supplied by the Saudis and allies to AQAP in March and April during the drive to oust the Houthis from Aden. AQAP also captured many weapons as they have taken more territory.
While the US has continued drone attacks against AQAP, neither the Saudis nor their allies have fought with AQAP in any significant way. AQAP has been one of the most effective forces countering the Houthi advance, often in alliance with local tribes. They have taken control of a large swath of territory during the civil war, taking the port of Mukalla, the capital of Hadrahmut province east of Aden. While the US makes battling AQAP a priority, the Hadi government and the Saudis appear to see them as allies in the fight against the Houthis first and foremost, even though when in power his government faced constant attacks from AQAP as they waged guerilla warfare against his regime..