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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (ISIS) have already used the recent success of the Saudi Arabia-led forces to increase their territorial control and boost their actions in central and southern Yemen. The US and Saudi Arabia believe the coalition’s recent series of victories will push different Saudi-backed militant groups to commit to self-styled Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Nonetheless, militant group leaders clearly understand that the only reason for the recent success is strong support from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates armored units. So, the separatist Southern Resistance won’t state an official allegiance to the Saudi Arabian doll Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
- August 6, Al Houthi forces increased attacks along the Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border. The main attacks were concentrated at the Saudi border provinces of Jizan and Najran. Earlier, Al Houthi forces allegedly shot down a Saudi Apache helicopter in the Haradh region of the Saudi-Yemeni border on August 5. Meanwhile, the Saudi-trained forces and armored vehicles were deployed from the town of Sharura and are advancing through Ma’rib and Shabwah in preparation for an attack on Sana’a.
- August 6, Egypt agreed to deploy naval troops to assist in guarding ports controlled by Saudi forces and train pro-Hadi militants to protect the Bab al Mandab sea-lane.
- August 6-10, AQAP militants launched a series of attacks against al Houthi positions in Jabal al Hama, Jabal Hirmaz, al Zahar, Dhi Na’im, and al Bayda city in al Bayda on August 6 and from August 8 to August 10. Separately, AQAP militants raised black flags as a sign of control in Lahij and Aden. Earlier, they took the government palace in al Hawta city, after pro-Haid forces seized it on August 4. Also, AQAP seized the towns of Rabat, al Lahoum, and al Masaabin in Aden on August 5. The militants established military bases there.
- August 4-7, Al Houthi government and their allies and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition with its puppet Hadi’s government continue efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict with a “diplomatic approach”. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed claimed that Saudi Arabia responded favorably to the Yemeni peace plan. The UN stated on August 4 that the Arab League was ready to send international observers to Yemen if Hadi forces and the Yemeni government could negotiate a ceasefire. An Omani plane arrived at Sana’a International Airport to transport an Al Houthi delegation to meet with Ahmed in Muscat, Oman on August 7. Nonetheless, the offensive of the Saudi-led forces continued.
- August 11-12, Pro-Hadi militants supported by the Saudi-led forces have built up significant momentum in Yemen. At the same time, Southern Resistance militants greatly assisted by Saudi-operated armored nits, have renewed their efforts after capturing Aden, pushing north and northeast from the port city. They captured Lahj and al-Anad air base last week and are advancing. The Southern Resistance militants recently captured the city of Zinjibar. This allows them to push farther into the Abyan governorate where they intend to link up with another part of Saudi-backed forces locked in battle with the Yemeni government and Saleh-aligned forces near Lawder. The Houthis and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh are in an precarious position after the loss of several localities in the Ibb nd Dhamar regions. It pushed them to fortify their position at the cities of Taiz and Ibb.
- August 13-14, Saudi forces reported the advance is heading toward third city Taez, southwest of Sanaa.
Yemen’s capital, Sanaa remains under the Houthi governments control, but Saudi-led forces have come to within 100 kilometers of the city, as well as invading from the Dhamar governorate to the south. oalition-backed Yemeni fighters are massed in Marib, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Sanaa, having moved in from Saudi Arabia via the al-Wadiya border crossing earlier this month. Before moving on the capital, coalition-backed forces are likely to neutralize the surrounding area first, defeating Houthi and Saleh elements in the key popular centers of Taiz, Ibb and Dhamar.
While AQAP continues to benefit from the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s campaign as its ally in the war against Yemeni government, ISIS has been preparing to turn Yemen into another Syria. ISIS has already strengthened recruitment in the center and south of the country. Furthermore, reports have been circulating that ISIS is preparing to mount a siege on Rada’a, al Bayda. If ISIS seizes Rada’a, this move will undermine the Saudi-backed AQAP’s role as “protector of the Sunni people” and enable ISIS to become the most powerful terrorist network in the region. The US will have one more state where it could intervene on the pretense of a “War on Terror”.
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