For weeks, Yemen s warring factions have held peace talks to end their 16-month civil war, bringing a sense of calm to much of the country. But in the southwestern city of Taiz the conflict rages on, defying a U.N.-backed cease-fire. Civilians are indiscriminately killed or wounded daily. Thousands languish in ragged displacement camps. Humanitarian groups are blocked from adequately helping victims. On one side of the war is an alliance of Shiite Houthi rebels and loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. On the other side is the government, backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia and other regional powers.
The US military carried out an airstrike against an al-Qaeda training camp in the group's stronghold in southeastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The bombing targeted an al-Qaeda training camp in Hajr, west of Hadramawt's provincial capital Mukalla which has been held by the jihadists since April, according to local sources.
A nine-ship Iranian convoy believed to be laden with weapons bound for rebels in Yemen turned around Thursday after being followed by U.S. warships stationed in the area to prevent arms shipments, multiple sources in the Pentagon told Fox News.
Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it was halting a nearly month-old bombing campaign against a rebel group in neighboring Yemen that has touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis and threatened to ignite a broader regional conflict. The announcement followed what American officials said was pressure applied by the Obama administration for the Saudis and other Sunni Arab nations to end the airstrikes.
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and a guided missile cruiser were headed to the waters off Yemen on Monday to join 10 other American warships as a warning to Iran about its shipments of weapons to rebels there, American officials said. The Obama administration cast the deployment primarily as a show of force, but acknowledged that the flotilla could be used to interdict any supplies of Iranian arms to the Houthi rebels. The warships are also meant to reassure Saudi Arabia, an American ally that has been carrying out a bombing campaign against the rebels in Yemen.
As Iran-backed Houthi forces have pressed into Aden, clashing with Yemeni troops loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the US has provided live video feeds from US surveillance drones to aid with Saudi targeting. The Pentagon is set to expand military aid to the open-ended operation, supplying more intelligence, bombs and aerial refuelling missions. Yet growing evidence suggests that the US itself, through its Gulf allies, gave the northern Houthis a green light for their offensive last September.
After Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) admitted on Thursday that a US drone strike in Yemen took out a key leader of the terror group, Harith al-Nadhari, it accused America of cooperating with the Iranian backed Shi'ite Houthi militia that has been slowly taking over Yemen.
Only months ago, American officials were still referring to Yemen's negotiated transition from autocracy to an elected president as a model for post-revolutionary Arab states. Now, days of factional gun battles in the Yemeni capital have left the president a puppet figure confined to his residence. The country appears to be at risk of fragmenting in ways that could provide greater opportunities both for Iran and for Al Qaeda, whose Yemeni branch claimed responsibility for the first Paris terrorist attack this month.
A small Iranian-backed North Yemeni militia, modeled on Hezbollah and from an offshoot of Shia Islam, has walked into the capital Sanaa, taken over Hodeida, Yemen's main port on the Red Sea, and is now advancing southwards towards one of the most sensitive straits for oil traffic in the region. The Houthi offensive, complete with chants of "Death to America, and Curse on the Jews" is being conducted under the nose of a US military base in Djibouti from where drones operated by the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command base attack Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Houthis are even protecting the US embassy in Sanaa.
The Obama administration's counterterrorism strategy in Yemen aims to help President Hadi overhaul his nation s military to combat the Qaeda franchise in its strongholds in large parts of the country s south. And it calls for the United States and Yemen to work together to kill or capture about two dozen of Al Qaeda s most dangerous operatives, who are focused on attacking America and its interests.
The Yemeni chief of security at the US embassy in Sanaa has been assassinated, security officials have said. Qassem Aqlani, who was reportedly in his fifties, was shot dead while on his way to work early on Thursday. A gunman on a motorcycle reportedly opened fire at him and fled the scene. Aqlani had been working for the US embassy in the Yemeni capital for nearly 20 years.
At least five fighters suspectedly linked to al-Qaeda have been killed in an apparent US drone strike in a remote part of southern Yemen, officials said. The fighters, who were reportedly heavily armed with weapons and explosives, were killed in an air strike on their vehicles in Shabwa province on Thursday.
The White House has formally acknowledged for the first time that it is conducting lethal attacks against al-Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia, after it had partially lifted the lid of secrecy on its counterterrorism campaign. The White House's semi-annual report to Congress on the state of US combat operations abroad, delivered Friday, mentions what has been widely reported for years but never formally acknowledged by the administration: The US military has been taking "direct action" against members of al-Qaeda and affiliates in Yemen and Somalia.
At least seven suspected al-Qaeda fighters, including two senior operatives, have been killed in air raids in south Yemen, officials say. The officials said Thursday's air raids targeted the town of Jaar and northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, where the fighters were operating. One of those killed was in charge of armament, known by his nickname al-Galadi, Yemeni officials said.
At least 45 militants linked to al-Qaida, including a number of tribal leaders, have been killed by air strikes in south Yemen. Twenty-five militants were killed in Bayda, about 166 miles south-east of the capital, Sana'a, on Friday, while 20 died at a base in the restive southern town of Jaar, residents told Reuters on Saturday. Jaar, the second-largest town in Abyan province, was seized by militants last March as protests against the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, gripped the country.
Militants intensified their attacks against U.S.-backed Yemeni military forces on Sunday, killing at least 35 government soldiers in a lawless southern region that has become a battleground of suicide bombers, heavy weapons, assassinations and kidnappings.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left Yemen last week to seek medical treatment in the United States for injuries sustained when the presidential palace was bombed in June, arrived in the country Saturday night, Yemeni officials said.
The United States has defended a Yemeni draft law that would grant outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution over the killing of protesters during an uprising against his rule, despite criticism from the United Nations.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not travel to the United States, a senior aide has said, reversing a pledge by the leader who has withstood nearly a year of protests and military challenges from rivals seeking to topple him. "The idea of President Saleh's visit to America is now unlikely," Abdu al-Janadi, a senior figure in Saleh's political party and Yemen's deputy information minister, told reporters on Wednesday. He said members of Saleh's party asked him to remain and help ensure that the deputy to whom Saleh has formally transferred power succeeds him in an election set for February.
Saleh has ruled Yemen for 33-years and Barack Obama, the US president, like his predecessor George Bush, regards him as a critical ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. But thousands of Yemenis have been protesting for months calling for Saleh to step down and hundreds have been killed by government security forces. In November, Saleh signed an agreement in Saudi Arabia, according to which he pledged to resign after next year's elections. In return, he was promised immunity from prosecution for crimes such as the killing of protesters during his rule.
The Obama administration has decided in principle to allow the embattled president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to enter the United States for medical treatment, subject to certain assurances, two administration officials said Monday.
The administration of United States President Barack Obama is considering whether to allow Yemen's president into the country for medical treatment, as fresh violence and political tensions flare in the outgoing leader's home nation. A senior administration official said President Ali Abdullah Saleh's office requested that he be allowed to receive specialised treatment in the US for injuries sustained in a June attack on his compound.
Airstrikes, believed to be carried out by American drones, killed at least nine people in southern Yemen, including a senior official of the regional branch of Al Qaeda and an American, the 17-year-old son of a Qaeda official killed by the United States last month, according to the government and local reports on Saturday.
The US has ordered all its non-essential diplomats and family members of embassy staff to leave Yemen as fighting there escalates. At least 44 people have been killed since Monday in clashes between tribal fighters and government troops.