Curtis' documentaries usually present a fairly clear, but somewhat unexpected and controversial, opinion, which I usually seem to agree with.
The chaos, however, seems to have produced one clear winner: AQAP is at a crossroads. The civil war and Saudi intervention offer it many opportunities, but they also pose many pitfalls and could dramatically reorient the organization in ways it has long sought to avoid.
Since the group formed inmost of its attacks have focused on the Yemeni government. The group appeared to suffer setbacks in when Yemeni government forces under President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who had recently taken power from Ali Abdullah Saleh, retook several cities and other areas that had served as AQAP strongholds.
Similarly, an active U. The group is now operating amidst an all-out civil war. Although we think of civil wars providing a safe haven for terroristsin reality war zones are dangerous for terrorists as well as Awfawf essay. The warring factions are armed and large, and it will be hard for AQAP to stay neutral, as it must protect its supporters and guard its own areas of operations.
In March, the Islamic State bombed Zaydi mosques in Yemen, helping transform the civil war into a broader sectarian conflict.
AQAP may even end up fighting the Islamic State and its sympathizers in Yemen, as we saw in Syria when the rivalry between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State exploded into a bloody internecine battle that killed hundreds of fighters on both sides.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks can be seen in this light, as an attempt by Al Qaeda and its supporters to stay relevant in the competition for leadership of the global jihadist movement.
Tehran has been arming and otherwise assisting the Houthisbut the scale of Iranian involvement remains opaque. It is unclear how AQAP is prioritizing its enemy list.
Trying to sit out the civil war is likely to prove impossible, but entering the fray is both politically and militarily risky. Our hoped-for Yemeni partners over the years—first Saleh and then his successor Hadi—no longer wield even partial control over the country.
The Saudi intervention may push back the Houthis, but that may give AQAP and other jihadists even more freedom of operation.
Even worse, the Saudi intervention might fail, trapping Riyadh and other regional allies in a quagmire and increasing pressure on the United States to play a greater role in the no-win situation that is Yemen.
He is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on counterterrorism and Middle East security.
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