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World View: Yemen Faces Both Shia Houthi Protesters and Sunni AQAP Jihadists

World View: Yemen Faces Both Shia Houthi Protesters and Sunni AQAP Jihadists

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Yemen fighting Houthi rebels in capital city Sanaa
  • Three Yemen soldiers killed by AQAP suicide bombers

Yemen fighting Houthi rebels in capital city Sanaa

Yemen soldiers (Yemen Times)
Yemen soldiers (Yemen Times)

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, is also one of themost troubled. Yemen is fighting multiple wars at once.

The latest crisis is that four ethnic Houthis were shot and killed inthe capital city Sanaa. They were part of a large group of Houthiswho who have been camped out since mid-August. There have beenseveral conflicts with the police. On Tuesday, the Houthis tried toforce their way into the prime minister’s office. The security forceswho responded claim that they were not responsible for the protesters’deaths because they didn’t shoot at the protesters, but shot in theair.

The protests were triggered by deep cuts in fuel subsidies in Julyimposed by Yemen’s president Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, raising the priceof gasoline by 60% and diesel by 95%. The cuts in fuel subsidies weredemanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in return forextending a $552.9 million credit line to Yemen.

Because of widespread public unrest, particularly anti-governmentrallies by Houthi rebels, Hadi last week ordered a 12% rollback in thesubsidies. However, the Houthis are refusing to accept the partialrollback, and are demanding that the subsidies be fully restored.

The Houthis are in the Zaidi branch of the Shia Muslim religion, andare in control of large swathes of territory in northern Yemen, alongthe border with Saudi Arabia. They’re considered a threat to both theYemen government in Sanaa and the Saudi Arabia government in Riyadh.It’s believed that Iran is funding them and supplying them withweapons, in an attempt to destabilize both Yemen and Saudi Arabia.SABA (Yemen)and Platts and Al Jazeera

Three Yemen soldiers killed by AQAP suicide bombers

While Yemen is fighting Shia Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, they’refacing Sunni jihadists in southern Yemen, in the form of Al-Qaeda onthe Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP has taken control of a largeregion and set up terrorist training camps. Before the rise of theIslamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS), AQAP was consideredthe most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda to the United States. AQAP wasresponsible for several attempted terrorist attacks on the UnitedStates, including the underwear bomb that was used in the failedChristmas day bombing in 2009. One component of AQAP, Ansaral-Sharia, operates in both Yemen and Libya, and is believedresponsible for the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi that killedU.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber reached an army checkpoint in Yemen,leading to a gunfight. A second suicide bomber sped towards the samecheckpoint and detonated his explosives, killing the soldiers. It’sestimated that in 2014 so far, AQAP attacks have killed 387 soldiersand injured hundreds more. Atrocities by militants reached a pinnaclein August this year as 14 off-duty soldiers travelling on a civilianbus were kidnapped and executed by AQAP militants, four of whom werebeheaded. Yemen Times and Al-Ahram (Cairo)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Yemen, Sanaa, Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, Houthi,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP,Libya, Benghazi, Ansar al-Sharia, Chris Stevens
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