Yemen’s Capital Militarizes as US Attention Focuses on AQAP

After Years of Strikes, US 'Terror War' Set to Escalate in Yemen

Yemeni military officials say that the nation is on “high alert” and taking an unprecedented amount of security measures as US officials warn of a “specific and immediate threat” of terrorism in the country.

Right now the operation is focusing on the capital of Sanaa, where a huge influx of Yemeni troops and armored vehicles are militarizing life in a way not seen in years. The indications are that US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is preparing “preemptive strikes” in the region, and likely Yemen will be the focus of such strikes.

US military operations have been a reality in Yemen for years, as missile strikes have turned into a constant drone war over the nation’s southern provinces, and despite repeated promises from former Defense Secretaries Gates and Panetta not to deploy in Yemen, the US is known to have at least some boots on the ground in the area already.

Drones have been the focus in recent months, however, with today’s strike the fourth in the last week and a half. The strikes have fueled resentment toward the US in the region, bolstering recruitment for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a foil to US influence in the nation and suggesting that as the US escalates in the nation, they will find themselves most unwelcome.

Perhaps the only faction in the country likely to welcome the US is the central government, as Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the de facto ruler of Yemen, came to power after a US-backed vote in which he was the only candidate. Hadi has loudly endorsed the US drone strikes, even as locals complain that most of the victims are innocent bystanders.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of