Al-Qaeda occupies more and more territories in Yemen

Al-Qaeda occupies more and more territories in Yemen

For almost a year – from March 26th 2015 – the air fleet of the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia with the support of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE has been bombing regions of Yemen controlled by rebels. The number of land troops which have been sent to support the expelled president Hadi surpasses 10 thousand people. However, the operation of the Arab coalition hasn’t brought any results.

Alexander Kuznetsov, deputy director of the Institute of Forecasting and Political Settlement of Conflict Situations, says: “The goal was to make a victorious blitzkrieg in Yemen in the shortest possible time to eliminate or suppress the military gangs of the Houthis and the part of the Yemeni army that remained faithful to Ali Abdullah Saleh and participated along with them in the war, and return the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to Sana'a. This did not happen. Saudi Arabia's decision to conduct a military operation was a mistake from the very beginning, because its effects were not calculated to the end.”

Kuznetsov thinks two factors influenced the decision of Saudi Arabia to start the operation in Yemen.

"Firstly, there were the redundant fears of the Saudi leadership about Iran's interference in Yemeni affairs. According to publications, which then appeared in the newspaper ‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’ and other newspapers, there was a whipping up of a threat of Iran surrounding Saudi Arabia from all sides, taking Saudi Arabia into a pincer, that there are Iranian military instructors in Yemen, advisors, weapons and so on. In my opinion, it was all very exaggerated. The Yemeni conflict was caused by internal factors, not external. And, thus, the Saudi leadership got into a kind of trap. It is unclear who laid this trap. Maybe they got into the thrall of their own views. Maybe the Iranians themselves successfully conducted this propaganda operation,” Kuznetsov says.

"The second factor. After the death of the previous king, Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, who was a moderate politician, very careful, and if he was still alive, of course, that military operation would not have happened, a new leadership arrived. The younger people have decided to emphasize the independence of Saudi policy, which may interfere in some conflicts through direct use of force, and to solve some issues without relying on the US as guarantor of the security of Saudi Arabia."

“But the blitzkrieg failed, the rapid military operations failed. Instead of this, a protracted military conflict has appeared, which poses a threat to Yemen and the region as a whole. There are about 6 million refugees and displaced persons in Yemen, a great number of people on the brink of starvation. The economy and infrastructure of the country have been completely destroyed. Yemen had been a very poor country, even by Arab standards. But now, apparently, it is a country on the threshold of a humanitarian catastrophe. The military successes of the coalition are extremely low. The civil war continuing in the country, the instability, the lack of central government, the absence of state institutions, the lack of control, leads to the fact that Al-Qaeda occupies more and more territory, unfortunately. This group extracts the maximum benefit from the continuation of the armed conflict in the country. And the farther it goes, the stronger Al-Qaeda is getting, the stronger the terrorist group will become. And soon they won’t be putting forward any requirements, they will be making their demands,” Kuznetsov considers.