Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

A year into intervention, Saudi sees few gains in Yemen
By Lynne al-Nahhas
Dubai (AFP) March 24, 2016

Death toll of US anti-Qaeda raid in Yemen jumps to 71
Aden (AFP) March 24, 2016 - A US air strike on an Al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen this week killed more than 70 fighters, provincial officials said Thursday, raising an earlier toll of 40 dead.

"The toll from Tuesday's US strike has risen to 71 dead and 28 wounded" among recruits of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Another provincial official and tribal sources had Wednesday given a toll of at least 40 militants killed and 25 wounded in the raid on an AQAP training camp in Hajr, in the southeastern province of Hadramawt.

AQAP, which has long been entrenched in Yemen, is regarded by Washington as the network's most dangerous branch, and it has carried out deadly attacks on the West in the past.

The Pentagon has said it believes that "dozens" of militants were killed in the strike.

Another provincial official confirmed the new toll, while a tribal source said 29 of those were AQAP recruits from neighbouring Abyan province.

Al-Qaeda has taken advantage of Yemen's war between Iran-backed rebels and pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition to expand in the south, seizing parts of Hadramawt including its provincial capital Mukalla in April last year.

A year after it launched air strikes in Yemen, a Saudi-led military coalition has failed to deal a decisive blow to Iran-backed rebels and is facing mounting criticism over civilian casualties.

With warring parties drained by the fighting, the United Nations said Wednesday that a ceasefire had been agreed from April 10, to be followed by peace talks.

Analysts say that since air strikes were launched on March 26 last year, rebel resistance has been far more effective than expected and the weakness of Yemen's internationally recognised government has been exposed.

The Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies remain in control of large parts of Yemen including the capital Sanaa.

Charles Schmitz, a Yemen expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, said the Huthis and allied forces loyal to former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh are far from defeated.

"The Huthi and Saleh forces have done relatively well given the circumstances," he said. "They have no air cover and no secure means of resupplying their arsenal yet they retain significant military power."

The Huthis' seizure of Sanaa and other parts of the country raised alarm bells in Riyadh, which feared the Shiite minority from Yemen's highlands would extend Iranian influence in its southern neighbour.

When President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government was forced to flee into Saudi exile, Riyadh and its Sunni Arab allies in the coalition vowed to restore it to power.

Backed by coalition firepower, loyalist forces have been able to assert control over much of Yemen's once-independent south including the main city of Aden, where Hadi has established a temporary capital.

But the rebels have stubbornly held on to eight of Yemen's 22 provinces and heavy fighting has been raging for months in five others.

Among them is the strategically important central province of Taez, where loyalists have failed to advance despite a major offensive launched in November.

- Coalition 'handicapped' -

The Huthis "have proven adept at holding onto territory and colonising key state organs," said Jordan Perry, a Middle East and North Africa analyst at the Verisk Maplecroft consultancy.

"The coalition has been handicapped by a lack of technical expertise and battlefield experience," said Perry.

In fact, rights groups allege that coalition strikes have killed far more civilians than rebels.

The UN says civilians account for more than half of the about 6,300 people killed in the conflict in the last year.

Riyadh's key ally Washington has expressed concerns over civilian deaths and international rights groups have urged the United States and other world powers to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

As international criticism of the intervention grows, Riyadh is saying its main phase may soon be over.

Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told AFP last week that the "major combat phase" has neared its end.

Coalition forces have made "a big achievement towards peace and stability in Yemen," Assiri said. "Today we have a government, recognised by the international community, running the country from Aden."

But loyalist and coalition troops have been struggling to secure these areas, where radical Sunni groups have widened their influence.

The Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda have exploited the chaos and carried out deadly attacks in the south, mostly against pro-Hadi forces.

Hadi's government and the coalition have "prioritised their struggle against the Huthis, turning a blind eye to the gains made by radical Sunni groups that have continued to metastasise within the security vacuum," Perry said.

Yemen's powerful Al-Qaeda affiliate has even managed to take control of much of the southern Hadramawt province and its capital Mukalla.

- 'Glimmer of hope' -

"The Saudis miscalculated the ability of the Hadi camp to govern liberated territory" and "Al-Qaeda took advantage," said Schmitz.

It was only this month that coalition warplanes targeted jihadists in Aden for the first time. The United States has meanwhile continued to hit Al-Qaeda in Yemen, killing more than 70 militants in a strike this week.

New hopes for a breakthrough in the conflict surfaced on Wednesday after UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that warring parties agreed on a ceasefire that would be observed before peace talks start on April 18.

Previous negotiations have failed and several ceasefires were never respected.

But a recent mediation effort that essentially stopped fighting along the Saudi-Yemeni border could provide "a glimmer of hope", Schmitz said.

"The Huthis need to pull back their forces, let go of the Iranians, and show... respect (to) Saudi security concerns," he said.

Still, Perry said the rebels are unlikely to withdraw from all the cities they have seized.

"The jewel in the Huthis' crown -- the capital Sanaa -- is not at imminent risk of takeover," he said.

Perry said a comprehensive and lasting peace settlement in Yemen was a "distant prospect", with "very limited" potential for power-sharing as "deep divisions will persist."

But a halt in fighting is sorely needed, said Rima Kamal, the local spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"Hospitals have run out of supplies, electricity and water systems have broke down, food and other basic commodities such as fuel have run critically low" in the impoverished country, she told AFP.

"Death and injury have become daily occurrences," said Kamal, whose group has seen two staff members killed during the past year and another abducted.


Related Links
Space War News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
US strike kills 40 Qaeda militants at Yemen camp
Aden (AFP) March 23, 2016
A US air strike on an Al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen has killed at least 40 fighters in a major blow to the jihadists who have been expanding their territory in the war-torn country. The extremists have exploited a security vacuum in the Arabian Peninsula nation since Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels seized the capital in September 2014, forcing the internationally recognised government to f ... read more

S. Korea, US open missile shield talks

Israeli Air Force deploying 'David's Sling' missile defense system

US Missile Defense Outdated

China Interfering in THAAD Deployment Decision Process Preposterous

BAE completes ground-rig tests on Brimstone missile system

Russia offering new missile system to international market

Carrier group launches SM-2 during live-fire exercises

Raytheon to offer new tactical missile design to U.S. Army

Drones promise to improve ecological monitoring

Pentagon, Other Federal Agencies Use Drones for Domestic Surveillance

Researchers develop miniaturized fuel cell that makes drones fly more than 1 hour

Inside the Pentagon's Drone Proving Ground

In-orbit delivery of Laos' 1st satellite launched

Upgrade set for Britain's tactical communications system

Airbus continues operating German military satellites

BAE Systems supports Navy communications and electronics

U.S. Army issues initial order for Humvee replacement vehicles

GenDyn NASSCO wins U.S. Navy support support contract

New cannon system for British Army

Finland sells shares of Patria Group to Kongsberg

Airbus to sell defence electronics arm to KKR for $1.2 billion

Lockheed Martin plans voluntary layoffs for 1,000

Defense Industry center opens in South Australia

China defence spending to rise '7 to 8%' in 2016: official

China's Extraterrestrial Goals Growing Concern

China urges Indonesia to release crew as sea row escalates

US 'reassessing' China's part in naval drill

Taiwan gives tour of disputed island in bid to boost claim

New research shows how nanowires can be formed

ASRC professor leads study on reconfigurable magnetic nanopatterns

Atomic vibrations in nanomaterials

NIST invents fleet and fast test for nanomanufacturing quality control

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.