Aden Woes Point to a Long War for Saudi Control of Yemen

Months After 'Liberation,' Saudis Have Limited Control Over Capital City

Seven months into the “liberation” of Aden, the temporary capital city of pro-Saudi southern Yemen, the Saudi forces continue to see multiple bomb attacks weekly, and regular gunbattles with Islamist rebels. Those aren’t even the same rebels they were fighting over the city.

Rather, having chased the Shi’ites out of Aden, and continuing to battle them in several fronts, while along the southern shore the ouster of the Shi’ites has provided an opening for Sunni Islamist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to set up shop.

This is true not just in areas of the coast ignored by the Saudi forces, but Aden itself, where AQAP flies its flag openly, and has organized public parades through certain neighborhoods. ISIS, for it’s part, has bombed the presidential palace and several other sites.

Almost a whole year into the Saudi war, Aden is the sole real “accomplishment” of the war, and it’s not a great one since they’ve failed to secure it from other factions. This seems to be setting the stage for a protracted conflict, with the Saudis showing no sign of giving up on its open-ended war.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of