AQAP seizes airport, seaport, and oil terminal in Yemen

Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninnsula (AQAP) has been busy in Yemen while Saudi-backed government forces are in a toe-to-toe brawl with Houthi rebels. 

The terrorists seized a major airport and seaport as well as an oil terminal in the country's largest province, making gains as the the chaos of revolution and war engulfs the country.

Fox News:

Military officials and residents said Al Qaeda fighters clashed briefly with members of one of Yemen's largest brigades outside Mukalla, a city the militants overran earlier this month and where they freed prison inmates. The militants then seized control of the Riyan airport and moved to secure their hold on the city's main sea port, which is also an oil terminal.

The security officials, speaking from Sanaa on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the press, said the leaders of the brigade in charge of protecting the entire area fled.

The latest advance marks a major gain for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni affiliate is known, which has been linked to several failed attacks on the U.S. and is widely seen as the global network's most dangerous franchise. The group claimed responsibility for the attack on a French satirical magazine earlier this year.

The group has exploited the chaos in Yemen, where Shiite rebels, along with allied military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured the capital in September and have been advancing despite a three-week Saudi-led air campaign.


The rebels are staunch opponents of Al Qaeda but are currently locked in fierce battles with forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia last month.

The southeastern city of Mukalla is the capital of Yemen's largest province, Hadramawt, where Al Qaeda has long maintained a presence despite U.S. drone strikes and Yemeni counterterrorism operations.

Nasser Baqazouz, an activist in the city, said the troops guarding the airport put up little resistance.

"They are consolidating their hold of the city and will paralyze the whole coast of Hadramawt," he said.

The massive irony of the White House insisting that Yemen is our "model" for anti-terrorism operations continues to amaze. Al-Qaeda, who the administration asserted time and time again was "on the run," has made huge territorial gains in Yemen while solidifying its hold on strategic choke points. It really can't get much worse - which is why it probably will. A Saudi-led ground operation is becoming more possible every day. And Iran, fueling the revolt by Houthi tribesmen, may send its own forces to Yemen if the Saudi invasion becomes a reality.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has issued a call for a cease fire. Then his special envoy to Yemen resigned. Not exactly the positive response the UN bureaucrat was looking for.


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