With your support SouthFront has released the second article of the Yemen Map of War Series, July 18-21, 2015. See Yemen Map of War, July 14-17, 2015 for additional information about the developments in the region. The “Maps of War” series is dedicated to explain ongoing global conflicts by consolidated data reports including high resolution maps.
Saudi-backed fighters have seen success in southern Yemen and are continuing to take territory from the al Houthis. Saudi Arabia is attempting to establish Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Aden, which is now held by multiple groups of pro-Saudi forces, but support for his government is minimal there.
- July 18, The Islamic State (ISIS) is attempting to exploit the Saudi-led Operation Golden Arrow in Aden for it’s own purposes. ISIS Wilayat Aden militants claimed credit for an operation in which militants ambushed and kidnapped a number of al Houthi fighters in Aden’s central Crater district. In April-June IS’s activity in Aden was limited to a few executions of al Houthis. In July Islamic State has raised its activity with the beginning of Saudi-led “Operation Golden Arrow.”
- July 18, Reports indicated that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is preparing to withdraw from al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt. The al Mukalla governing body, Hadramawt People’s Council (HPC), has been established by Hadhrami tribes in cooperation with AQAP following AQAP’s April 2 takeover. Hadhrami tribes are calling for AQAP’s withdrawal due to the number of U.S. airstrikes that have recently targeted the city. However, the HPC is negotiating with AQAP to establish a security force within the city. Thus, AQAP will continue to have a strong presence in the city.
- July 19, Yemeni troops backed by popular committees destroyed the Saudi army installation in the Jizan region. Missile attacks were also launched on a Saudi base in the southwestern Najran region.
- July 19, Over 30 people were killed and many more were injured after Saudi warplanes conducted raids on the northwestern Sa’ada province and the western Ibb province. According to reports, most of the victims were women and children.
- July 20, Pro-Hadi militants, with the support of the Saudi-led Operation Golden Arrow, retook the last district held by the Yemeni troops backed by popular committees in Aden, al Tawahi (The push for al Tawahi began on July 19). Pro-Saudi forces also seized the Labuza base in the Lahij governorate, north of Aden, and the 117th Mechanized Brigade headquarters in Shabwah to the east. Now the pro-Saudi forces of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi are reportedly planning to retake al Anad airbase in Lahij.
- July 20, Hadi appointed Nayef al Bakri, the head of the southern Resistance Council, as the new governor of Aden (Saudi Arabian Special Forces returned some members of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government to Aden on July 17). Al Bakri’s has been appointed to Aden by Suaid Arabia in an attempt to appease southern secessionists. However, it is unlikely that hardline factions of the Saudi-backed movement will welcome Hadi’s government there. The recent success of pro-secession Southern Resistance forces in capturing Aden may give them the momentum to push for independence.
- Tehran has appointed former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer and Law Enforcement Forces commander Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam as the head of Iran’s “Headquarters to Support the Yemeni People.” His appointment to head Iran’s humanitarian effort in Yemen is a sign of the decision to continue the humanitarian support of the Yemeni people, despite the US-backed military actions of Saudi Arabia.
Pro-Hadi militants with the support of Saudi Arabia’s Operation Golden Arrow are pushing the al Houthis out of southern Yemen but that does not guarantee success in re-unifying the country under a Saudi/US-backed government. Saudi Arabia, attempting to establish Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in occupied Aden, is more and more involved in the ground war in Yemen. The next military aim of Saudi forces will likely be al Anad airbase in Lahij and the city of Taiz.
Islamic State and Al Quaeda may attempt to build off of Operation Golden Arrow’s advance to increase their operations in Yemen. Islamic State has already started the process. Terrorist activity in the state is directed mainly against the Yemeni army and popular committees fighting against pro-Saudi forces. It’s evident that Islamic State and Al Qaeda are merely tools of the US-led geopolitical game in the Middle East.
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