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International Military Review – Yemen, Jan. 27, 2016

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The situation in Yemen remains complicated with a clear tendency to escalation. Indeed, the UN-backed peace talks serves merely for solution of local humanitarian goals – humanitarian aid, prisoners swap etc – amid constant clashes on the ground.

Taiz, Marib and partly Hodeida are centers of military activity which could be called “military operations”. Standoff in the other parts of Yemen has a nature of a guerilla war. Military experts note that troops of the Saudi-led coalition don’t almost participate in the ground operations. Their presence has a defensive character and they won’t participate in any full-scale military operations. Local para-military and terror groups are the main participants of the war. The Saudi Arabia’s idea of united Arab forces has failed. This is why the Saudi-backed Hadi government can’t get advantage in this war even with Saudi Arabia’s air support.

The Hadi government’s inability to secure Aden city exemplifies the challenges that arise amid a lack of loyal ground forces. Local militant groups, including AQAP, ISIS, secessionists, and others, continue to operate in the city.

The U.S. and its allies counterterrorism operations in the country is a mostly a PR myth. AQAP still operates with relative impunity in Yemen supporting the Saudi Arabia’s anti-Houthi efforts. Reports indicate that coalition warships entered al Mukalla port on January 19. However, AQAP controls al Mukalla and benefits from the ability to move resources through the port. AQAP continues to control Hadramawt’s capital city.

At the moment, the military situation could be described as a stalemate. The Hadi’s government hasn’t created a loyal and capable ground force, the Saudi-backed militants aren’t loyal to Saudi’s proxy government in Aden and the Houthi alliance hasn’t enough forces to launch full-scale offensive operations and turn the tide in own favor.

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