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Old 03-28-2016   #21
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Default A year of war that has set Yemen back decades

Orla Guerin, BBC, has a short column, which ends with:
Quote:
For most Yemenis there is no hope of escape, but more peace talks are planned for next month, to be accompanied by a ceasefire. Whatever the outcome, UN officials fear that one year of war has set the Arab world's poorest country back decades.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35901321
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Old 03-29-2016   #22
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The Saudi-led coalition appears to have re-directed its air power and is now unleashing it against the AQAP in Yemen. Confirming my standpoint that the talking-heads in Riyad remain dilletants in regards of dealing with the media, this is almost completely ignored by the Western media, of course.

Anyway, last night it was turn on the AQAP in Mukalla again. Except for brief 'mention in disptaches' by Reuters, not a beep about this anywhere else.

Bombed are primarily the port of Mukalla, but also the main base of the former 2nd Military Region, in al-Mihdar. The compound in question used to include not only the HQ of that MR, but was also the main base of the former 190th Air Defense Brigade (overrun and disarmed by the AQAP on 25 April last year).

There are rumours that these air strikes have killed one of AQAP's top 'emirs', Qasim ar-Raymi, but there's no confirmation so far.

Surely enough, air strikes in question have caused the AQAP to call for public protests. When that didn't work, this morning they went to the local schools and kicked the kids out to the streets so these could 'protest against air strikes'.
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Old 03-31-2016   #23
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After nearly two weeks of bitter fighting, the YNA has captured the Camp as-Safra'a, east/north-east of Sana'a.

This was a military base held by Houthis (since 2011) at a dominant position above the highway connecting al-Jawf and Ma'arib. Safra'a served as a staging point for Houthi offensive on Ma'arib, just for example: controlling it means that the YNA now has a staging point for an offensive on Sana'a or on Amran.

Mopping up of the AQAP out of Aden continues too. The YNA captured the central prison and secured all the major roads in the Mansoura district, the last three days.
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Old 04-03-2016   #24
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Surprisingly enough, latest example of misguided Western attempts at 'informing the public' about what's up in Yemen was delivered by (usually reliable) France 24, few days ago.

Namely, after some search around, it turned out this is a near word-by-word translation of a report by al-Maseera TV, which is a Houthi-run TV channel.

What actually happened is that the YNA (Hadi-loyal 'new' Yemen National Army, recruited, trained, and paid for by Saudis and Emiratis) concluded its offensive in Midi area by kicking Houthis out of the south-eastern part of that town, and then re-opening the road connecting that town with Hardadh.

Contrary to Houthi reports about ambush and collossal 'government' losses, the Houthis - again - just run away. Local medical sources report exactly two YNA's WIA being delivered to the Samtah Hospital (facility taking care about all of YNA's casualties in that area) during this battle.

On 1 April, the YNA launched a pursuit of withdrawing opponents in direction of A'abs and Haradh.
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Old 04-07-2016   #25
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Default Britain's Covert War in Yemen

A VICE investigation into the historical UK-US-Yemeni cooperation to combat terrorism; a mix of human sources, SOF, technical surveillance and drone strikes:https://news.vice.com/article/britai...-investigation
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Old 04-18-2016   #26
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Four days ago, on 14 April 2016, Saudis and Houthis agreed a sort of a cease-fire, and this is holding.... well, in most of the country.

Reasons are nicely summarized here What the Yemen ceasefire means for the Gulf, the anti-ISIS campaign, and U.S. security
Quote:
The fourth attempt in a year at a durable ceasefire and a political process in Yemen should get strong support from President Barack Obama when he visits Saudi Arabia later this month. The war has been a humanitarian catastrophe and a boon to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It's in our interest to end it.

The latest attempt at a ceasefire was arranged by direct negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Zaydi Shiite Houthi rebels meeting in Riyadh with U.N. support. Political negotiations are scheduled to begin in Kuwait on April 18. If the truce fails, the Saudis are threatening their coalition will mount a major offensive to take Sanaa from the rebels.

A battle for Sanaa would make a bad situation even worse. The U.N. has said that 21 million Yemenis need immediate relief, of which seven million are "severely food insecure." The situation is particularly acute in Taiz where the Houthis have been besieging the city for months, as well as in Sa'ada (the Houthis’ home city in the north), which has been bombed repeatedly by the Royal Saudi Air Force.
...

The biggest beneficiary of the war has been AQAP, which now controls some six hundred kilometers of the southern coastline—from just outside Aden to Mukalla, the fifth largest city in Yemen and the capital of Hadramaut province. When AQAP seized the Mukalla at the start of the war, they looted $100 million from its banks. They are now earning at least $2 million and perhaps as much as $5 million a day in smuggling oil. The group is stronger today than ever before.

The Saudi coalition largely left AQAP alone until recently. The Royal Saudi Air Force has now mounted a few missions against it but they remain firmly in control of much of the south. AQAP regularly attacks coalition forces in Aden.
...
Emiratis instantly began pushing for a new offensive - though this time against the AQAP, and Washington seems to like this idea.
Quote:
...The U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the UAE was preparing for a campaign against AQAP, but declined to offer details, citing operational security. The UAE is playing a key role in the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen that are loosely allied with Iran.

The White House and the Pentagon declined to comment. Government officials in the UAE did not respond to request for comment.
...

Michael Knights, an expert on Yemen's conflict at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he and a colleague estimated the UAE's presence in Yemen peaked at about 5,500 troops in July-October of last year and now is as low as 2,500 personnel.

Knights said the UAE played a critical role in efforts by the Saudi-led alliance to push back the Houthis, employing a mix of capabilities, including mechanized infantry columns, that proved decisive.

"The UAE has been the real central player in the ground war," he said.

In contrast, Saudi-led air strikes drew sharp condemnation from the United Nation's top human rights official last month, who said the coalition may be responsible for "international crimes."

In a nod to its capabilities, some U.S. military officials have nicknamed UAE "Little Sparta" after the ancient city-state known for its fighting prowess. Analysts note that the small Gulf state has also played an outsized role in other conflicts, from Libya to Afghanistan.

Frederic Wehry, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a U.S. Air Force veteran, said the UAE's ability to combat AQAP would rest partly on its ability to navigate Yemen's complex web of tribal allegiances.

UAE forces currently are concentrated mostly around the southern port of Aden where the embattled Yemeni government has found safe haven. But since retaking the city in mid-2015, they and local forces have struggled to impose order, opening the way for al Qaeda and Islamic State militants to operate there.

AQAP is estimated to now control 600 km (373 miles) of Yemeni coastline and the southeastern port city of Mukalla, home to 500,000 people.

The fight against AQAP is of greater importance to the United States than the battle against the Houthis, which until now has been a higher priority for America's Gulf allies. The Gulf states see the fight against the Houthis through the lens of a regional rivalry with Shi'ite Iran.

One particular U.S. concern is Qassim al-Raymi, who last year succeeded Nasser al-Wuhayshi as AQAP's military commander after a U.S. drone strike killed Wuhayshi.

One U.S official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said al-Raymi "appears to us to have intent as well as operatives with capability to be able to do external plots."

The United States thinks there are dozens of AQAP operatives deemed to be "true threats" capable of mounting external attacks, the official added.

Washington also has long sought Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, considered the most formidable extremist bomb designer. He is accused of a creating hard-to-detect bombs, including one used in a failed bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner in 2009.
...
Otherwise, the Saudis and Emiratis keep on pounding the AQAP down the southern Yemeni coast: on 14 April, it was turn on Koud, in Abyan province, where 10 Jihadists were killed.

Two days later, and following extensive negotiations, Houthis conceded return of Yemeni government to capital
Quote:
...Houthi militants have agreed to allow Yemen’s legitimate government back to operate in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.

They have also agreed to hand over heavy arms to the state, Al Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdul Salam told Kuwait’s daily Al Rai on Friday.

The comments come ahead of Monday’s talks in Kuwait that bring Yemen’s rival parties back to the negotiating table.

Abdul Salam said the militant group would also allow Yemen’s current vice president Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, and influential oil and telecom tycoon, Hamad Al Ahmar, back into Sana’a.

The promised concessions by Al Houthis herald a major shift in their policy, analysts say
...

“Our demand is consensual authority for a scheduled transitional period,” Abdul Salam said.

The transitional authority would decide on thorny issues like the number of regions for a new proposed federal state, disarmament of militant groups and secessionist demands in the south and grievances of Saada residents in the north.

In the interview, Abdul Salam denied widely held suspicions that the group was a pawn of Iran.

“We are not tools in the hands of anyone,” he said.
...
...which means something like: the entire Yemen War - lasting more than a year - was actually 'all for nothing'.

But at least Emiratis have got their opportunity to go kicking AQAP's backsides around Lahj Province
Quote:
Yemeni forces backed by Apache helicopters from a Saudi-led coalition wrested the city of Houta from al Qaeda fighters after a gun battle on Friday morning, a local military official said.
...

The recapture of Houta, regional capital of southern Lahj province which has been held by the militants since last summer, is one of the embattled Yemeni government's most important inroads yet against al Qaeda forces who have taken advantage of more than a year of war to seize territory.

Government troops began their attack at daybreak and succeeded after several hours of air strikes and heavy combat, the military official told Reuters.

"The campaign to control Houta has been completed and it has been cleansed of al Qaeda and extremist elements," he said. Several people were killed and injured on both sides and 48 militants were captured, he added.
...
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Old 04-24-2016   #27
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Following a relatively quick build-up, Emiratis have launched an amphibious landing in Mukalla - and this time it's serious (and confirmed by locals).

Hadramawt Tribes Confederation is involved in this operation too (it's strictly anti-AQAP meanwhile - and not to be confused with the Hadhrami Domestic Council, which is in alliance with the AQAP in Mukalla).

So, in total: Emiratis are entering the port from the south, HTC (i.e. now HC, because they reformed themselves as the 'Hadramawt Confederation') from north, west and east.

More news as they stream in.
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Old 04-24-2016   #28
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Emirati and YNA's offensive on Zinjibar is successful too: their troops are meanwhile inside the town, and holding most of governmental buildings. Major General Ahmad Sayef Al Yafae, commander of the Aden-based 4th Military Region, told Gulf News that as many as 35 Al Qaida fighters were killed and 60 others were injured in the first hours of the fighting and his forces had regained control of the city of Kawd and many other small scattered regions in the province.

Notable is that the YNA is supported by few of ex-YAF Mi-8/17s too (see the photo below). This comes as a confirmation for Emirati-supported effort to build-up a new air force (initially reported as equipped with those Emirati-assembled IOMAX light strikers).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg YNA MRAPs and Mi-8 Zinjibar 22Apr16.jpg (14.9 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg YNA MRAPs Zinjibar 22Apr16.jpg (24.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 04-24-2016   #29
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Below the most accurate map of the situation in Yemen I was able to find recently.

Note: I modified it to show approx YNA's advance on Abbs and Hajjah, in NW Yemen, and YNA/Emirati advance on Zinjibar too.
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File Type: jpg Map Yemen 22Apr16.jpg (64.9 KB, 28 views)
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Old 04-24-2016   #30
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Twitter reports on multiple air strikes on Mukhalla, air strikes on traffic management, and more (and bigger) air strikes.
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Old 04-25-2016   #31
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This is something like official: Yemeni Troops, Backed by United Arab Emirates, Take City From Al Qaeda
Quote:
..."Groups of Al Qaeda fighters fled the city in cars. I think they escaped towards mountains far from Al Mukalla after about 20 Aqap fighters were killed," Salem told The National.

Local tribes are believed to have convinced the militants to leave, he said.

“We entered the city centre and were met by no resistance from Al Qaeda militants who withdrew west" towards the vast desert in Hadramawt and Shabwa provinces, a military officer told Agence France-Presse.
...
Locals report the AQAP tried to give a fight, but then suffered heavy casualties to Emirati (probably Saudi too) fire-power, bow and fled the battlefield.

Bottom line: Mukhalla is now in Emirati and YNA's hands.
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Old 04-25-2016   #32
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BTW, the amphibious assault on Mukhalla was actually led by RSN's SEALs, followed by Saudi Marines. But, these are not mentioned by anybody with even a single word.

If any foreign forces are cited, then 'Emiratis only'.
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Old 04-25-2016   #33
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Twitter reports from Mukhalla area are indicating that the AQAP not only suffered severe losses there, but de-facto collapsed and run away.

Locals are reporting that the 'Army' (guess they mean the YNA) has entered Buwaish - the next town east of Mukhalla, this morning.
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Old 04-25-2016   #34
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One correction in regards of my post with the map attached (see above), in regards of the situation in Hajjah province (NW Yemen, on Saudi border and the coast of the Red Sea): the YNA didn't drive all the way from Harad to Abs after all.

Namely, after capturing the upper part of Harad, the YNA stopped its advance on Abs and tried to outflank the Houth/YA positions in lower Harad by advancing down the coast. The YNA captured most of the farms in this area, and secured all the hills, in turn securing the road from Midi to Hara too.

But, now comes the best part: while mopping up the area west of Harad, YNA discovered a big system of tunnels. Reportedly, this is extending for nearly 30km and connecting the area around Harad with the Saudi border.

Now, no doubt: this sounds fantastic. But, keep in mind: Houthis are controlling this area since at least five years, without interruption. Plus, existence of such tunnels would in turn explain the ability of the Houthi/YA/Saleh forces to 'suddenly appear behind' Saudi outposts on the border, back in autumn last year (mind all the 'spectacular' videos of knocked out M1s, M2/3s etc.).

The capture of this tunnel system is also an explanation for why this offensive was launched (and the last-before-last cease-fire breached) and why the Houthis/YA are not launching any forays into Saudi Arabia, this year. Indeed, these tunnels might be an explanation why Houthis asked for negotiations almost immediately after the YNA secured the area (and tunnels).
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Old 04-25-2016   #35
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Further - and quick - advance of the YNA and coalition today: locals report that they've liberated the town of ash-Shahar, 60km east from Mukhalla 'up' the coast.

The AQAP just run away.

If this is truth, it could be one of new records in history of mechanized warfare..
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Old 04-26-2016   #36
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In their drive east of Mukhalla, Saudis, Emiratis and YNA have seized Riyan AB and the nearby base of the 23rd Brigade YA (de-funct, i.e. overrun, disarmed and disbanded by the AQAP) yesterday.

Further east, the AQAP VBIED an army convoy that was in the process of entering Zinjibar - yup, the place so eagerly besieged by Jihadists back in 2011, and lately produly held by them again, but recaptured by Emiratis, Saudis and YNA on Saturday (23 April). Then they quickly reached Azzan too, as the AQAP fled.

So much for professional military operations.

Allmighty superiors of the Saudi-led coalition in Riyad though, continued their PR-campaign in a particularly dilettantic fashion. Between others, Asiri claimed 800 AQAP killed in Mukhala area so far.

Of course, he's got all the MSM (even those of its outlets bought by Saudis) - but also various think-tanks etc. jumping all over him now: how dare Asiri becoming so desperate to issue such claims in attempt to improve the negative image of the Saudi-led coalition?

The 'pearl' of the day was delivered by this Houthi journo (rather surprising to see Houthis have left any journalist within their reach free to roam the world, actually): he said that Saudis are bad when they attack the AQAP.

After all, the areas that were liberated by the Saudi-led coalition the last few days are now 100% certainly going to be handed over to the Daesh (i.e. IS's Wilayat Hadramawt), while AQAP was lately so humanitarian, it 'shun vioence' and this offensive is 'pushing it back to brutality'...

Bottom line, if:

- Saudis & allies don't fight AQAP = 'bad Saudis, supporting and cooperating with the AQAP'

- Saudis & allies fight AQAP = 'bad Saudis, fighting AQAP that became ah so peaceful'...

Simply amazing how fast is everybody learning from Sputnik, RT and Putler... just Saudis not.

Last edited by CrowBat; 04-26-2016 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 04-27-2016   #37
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With AQAP on the run in south-eastern Yemen, it seems its leaders are easier to track too - and that's resulting in a notable up-tick of US UCAV strikes.

This one should've scored 'big points': U.S. drone strike kills local Qaeda leader in South Yemen
Quote:
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed a local leader in Al Qaeda and five of his aides in southern Yemen on Tuesday, residents said, as Yemeni and Emirati troops pressed their offensive against the militant group.

Abu Sameh al-Zinjibari and other men died when a missile struck their moving car in Amoudiya, a village near the Qaeda-controlled towns of Jaar and Zinjibar.
...
That said: Zinjibar is not 'AQAP-controlled' since at least two days.
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Old 05-06-2016   #38
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A 'quick and dirty' review of (important) news from Yemen, of the last few days:

Another 'turn-over' in this war might be in the making: Are Saudis prepared to drop Hadi to make peace in Yemen?
Quote:
...Although the current talks in Kuwait began over two weeks ago, there has been little progress. They had started with a wobble: the Houthi/Saleh delegation arrived three days late in protest at the fact the ceasefire nominally in place was not being respected by the other side. From the outset of the negotiations, they had always wanted a complete ceasefire, not a mere "cessation of hostilities". Once their delegates arrived in Kuwait, they spent the first two days arguing precisely this point.

Kuwait’s foreign affairs minister, who was desperate to secure a home-soil diplomatic coup for his country, immediately travelled to Riyadh for talks with the Saudis and, in the days since, despite reports of coalition jets patrolling Yemeni airspace, there have been relatively few air strikes since; a positive outcome already.

For many, this apparent shift in Saudi policy shows the urgency of reaching a settlement on their part. However, whilst there are mounting indications Riyadh desperately wants out of this conflict, several foreign diplomats I’ve spoken to insist that the Saudis are not willing to seek an exit at any cost; many are still expecting, or hoping for, some sort of victory.

Despite that initial three-day delay in Kuwait, direct talks between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia had been under way for weeks, already a major breakthrough. So far, these discussions have produced several confidence-building measures, including prisoner exchanges, and a ceasefire at the border. They have also delivered a cessation of hostilities – both of Houthi cross-border attacks and coalition bombings in North Yemen – that has held since.

“Riyadh is where the talks are really happening,” a senior diplomat told me. What about President Hadi and his government? I asked. “At some point, they will have to accept that they have to go,” he replied. I was reminded of recent reports from Yemen suggesting many of Hadi’s ministers have been busy selling their properties and assets in the country. I wanted to tell him they had seemingly come to terms with their fate, and are merely buying time now.
...
But if the Houthis and the Saudis cut a deal, I asked the diplomat, what would happen to the forces on the ground fighting for Hadi, such as the militias in Taiz and Aden? “I think we have known for a while now that they aren’t under Hadi’s control, and they most certainly are not fighting for him,” he responded.

This was something I had considered, and written about, before but had always refused to believe. To hear it stated so bluntly by a senior diplomat was shocking. The notion that the dozens of armed militias currently operating across the country were under nobody’s control was too frightening to contemplate, and confirms fears that even if a peace deal is struck Yemen might not see peace for years, possibly decades to come.
...
Al-Qaida withdrawing from 2 cities east of Yemen's Aden port
Quote:
...Al-Qaida militants in Yemen are pulling out of two coastal cities east of the key southern port of Aden following tribal-led negotiations, security officials and witnesses said on Thursday.

The pullout from Zinjibar and Jaar is which is expected to take less than a week, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters while the witnesses did so out of safety concerns.
...

Meanwhile, Aden's civilian airport reopened on Thursday after months of closure due to security concerns, said Tarek Abdu Ali, the chief of the airport. The first passenger plane, coming from Jordan, landed around midday, he said.

...
The FNA reports several 'Saudi' air strikes on targets in Sana'a area, the last two days:
Quote:
...The Saudi Air Force has launched several air raids over the capital city of Sana'a in the last two days, causing damage in a number of residential areas, several sources said on Thursday.

"In addition to bombing Sana'a, the Saudi Air Force also targeted the Ansarullah-controlled Anad Camp and a number of districts in Ma'rib province, killing a number of civilians and fighters," the sources added.
...
The Yemen Post reported five air strikes already on 3 May, and clashes in four different regions - including Hajjah and Ta'iz. Especially the latter should be heavily shelled by Houthis and YA.

Finally, UAE-trained Yemenis land on Socotra island
Quote:
A contingent of Yemeni soldiers that has been trained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has landed on Socotra (Suqutra) island in the Arabian Sea, Yemeni media channels reported on 2 May.

The reports were supported by photographs showing soldiers at a location that could be identified as Soctra Airport. They were wearing a type of tricolour desert uniform that has been used by the UAE armed forces in the past. A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III - a heavy transport aircraft used by the UAE's air force - could be seen in the background.
...
With other words: the cease-fire in Yemen is about to collapse.

*************

Earlier reports cited arrival of a 'US Special Forces team' in Mukalla, and meanwhile the Yemen Post is reporting arrival of no less but '100 (US Army) Rangers in southern Yemen.

Also, the US military is getting more-intensively involved against the AQAP in general:
Quote:
... The U.S. military is helping Yemeni, Emirati and Arab Coalition forces that are battling al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and were recently able to retake the port city of Mukalla from AQAP control.

A senior U.S. official said that American special operations forces are advising the Yemeni and Emirati forces in the region, and that they are working at the headquarters level and are not near the conflict. The official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. is providing "limited support" to the Arab Coalition and Yemeni operations in and around Mukalla. He said that includes planning, airborne surveillance, intelligence gathering, medical support, refueling and maritime interdiction.

Davis declined to discuss whether or not special operations forces were in the country. But he said the U.S. has sent a number of ships to the region including the USS Boxer amphibious ready group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is embarked with the group. The USS Gravely and USS Gonzalez, both Navy destroyers, are also in the area.

"Trained and supported by an Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Yemeni government forces and resistance fighters have retaken Mukalla and continue their offensive against AQAP in eastern Yemen," said Davis. "AQAP remains a significant security threat to the United States and to our regional partners and we welcome this effort to specifically remove AQAP from Mukalla and to degrade, disrupt and destroy AQAP in Yemen."
...
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Old 05-08-2016   #39
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While Yemeni peace-talks were suspended (again), it's meanwhile 'official': US sends troops to Yemen, steps up anti-Al Qaeda strikes
Quote:
The Pentagon acknowledged for the first time on Friday it has deployed US troops to Yemen since the country's collapse last year to bolster government and Arab coalition forces battling Al Qaeda.

Spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the US military has also stepped up air strikes against fighters with Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

A "very small number" of American military personnel has been working from a "fixed location" with Yemeni and Arab coalition forces — especially the Emiratis — in recent weeks around Mukalla, a port city seized by AQAP a year ago, Davis said.

"This is of great interest to us. It does not serve our interests to have a terrorist organisation in charge of a port city, and so we are assisting in that," the spokesman added.

He said the troops were helping the Emiratis with "intelligence support", but declined to say if they are special operations forces.
...

The Pentagon announced it has carried out a string of strikes on Al Qaeda in recent weeks, outside of Mukalla.

“We have conducted four counterterrorism strikes against AQAP since April 23, killing 10 Al Qaeda operatives and injuring another,” Davis said.
...
Meanwhile, various other sources announce at least a 'moderate' - and certainly 'growing' US military presence in Yemen: US deploy over 200 soldiers in S Yemen, stations assault ship
Quote:
The United States military has deployed more than 200 US Marines in the port city of Mukalla in the central province of Hadramout, Yemeni media say, APA reports quoting Press TV.

The forces were deployed in the important seaport and oil terminal on Saturday, Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported. The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer with more than 1,200 sailors and Marines as well as a group of vessels aboard were also stationed offshore in the Gulf of Aden.
...
Finally, only now, more than a year after the start of the Saudi-led military intervention, are serious points in the USA starting to criticise the entire adventure: Former U.S. Diplomats Decry the U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen
Quote:
...“I don’t think you can restore a government, especially an unpopular one, from the air, and I don’t think the use of force in this matter does anything but create long-term enmity,” said Chas Freeman, who served as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia between 1989 and 1992. He noted that former President Hadi’s unpopularity was partly due to his deep ties to Saudi Arabia and the United States. Freeman is currently a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

Barbara Bodine, who served as ambassador to Yemen between 1997 and 2001, directed us to recent remarks she made on the Zogby Show about the impact of the bombings on Yemen’s social fabric.

“It’s just been pushed over the edge,” she told host James Zogby. “It’s been declared a level 3 humanitarian crisis, there’s only four of those in the world. … The devastation of the physical damage, infrastructure damage, … the water system to the extent it has existed has been completely destroyed.” Bodine is currently a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University.
...

All of the diplomats pointed out that, contrary to administration statements that the Saudi war is serving counterterrorism objectives, the war has actually undermined U.S. national security interests. In particular, they noted that the campaign against the Houthis has allowed one of its enemies – al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – to seize more territory.
Grappo220

“No question about that, no question whatsoever, that the war has turned everyone’s attention away from what concerns us most, and that’s violent extremism and terrorist groups,” said Gary Grappo, a former deputy chief of mission to Saudi Arabia. “Al Qaeda has grown in strength, and in numbers, and in resources, and that’s directly related to the turning of attention to the internal instability and ultimately the war in Yemen.” Grappo is currently CEO & founder of Equilibrium International Consulting.
...

“I would argue that the Houthis were not in the Iranian camp until they were driven into it by necessity,” Freeman said. “When they were attacked by the Saudis – or counter-attacked, depending on how you see it – they needed support from somewhere, and they got it from Tehran. So the Saudi effort to punish the Iranians [for the nuclear deal] by punishing the Houthis ironically cemented the relationship between Iran and the Houthis that otherwise probably would not have existed.”

Khoury also described the Houthi-Iranian relationship as having been advanced by the Saudi-led bombing campaign. “Once the Houthis got there, they thought … they are [also] against the Saudis so they must be good friends to Iran, so they started [cooperating],” he said.
Of course, nobody is commenting about this operation probably being a 'bargain' between Oblala and Salman: 'go to Yemen, leave Syria to Iranians'. Connecting dots was never an accepted way of thinking in the DC.
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Old 05-10-2016   #40
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Here we go again:

- Saudi-led intergalactic coalition re-launched its air strikes on Houthis. One of primary targets was the Umaliqah Military Camp in northern Amran (south of Sa'ada). Up to 60 were flown in the last 48 hours. al-Bawaba reports 13 KIA there, including 5 para-medics, and 15 WIA.

- Houthis responded by at least one SSM fired at Khamis Mushayt in Saudi Arabia, during the night form Sunday to Monday (8-9 May); Saudis claim to have shoot down the same.

By now, the Royal Saudi Air Defence Force must be the most experienced military service around the world - at least in deploying PAC-2s and PAC-3s for defence from Scuds and Tochkas.

To make things really sarcastic: Saudi intercepts missile from Yemen but truce holds
Quote:
Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Monday, but a Saudi-led military coalition said it would maintain a shaky truce despite the "serious escalation" by the Houthi militia and its allies, state news agency SPA said.
...
Sounds like both sides are rapidly learning - from Assadist and (especially) Russian behaviour.

Last edited by CrowBat; 05-10-2016 at 09:07 AM.
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