Even though al-Qaeda is losing control in Yemen, the terrorist organization still remains in power in the profitable southern regions, which is the home of the majority of the country’s oil fields.
Al-Qaeda previously had control of 375 miles of the Yemen southern coastline before the Yemeni military began to push these terrorists out of these cities. But before they were forced out, this area made the terrorist group millions a day from the taxes from the goods passing through “their” ports and the money they made extorting the national oil company.
Even though the Yemeni army is regaining more ground, this has created a dangerous environment for locals. Some Yemenis even preferred the “stability” during the al-Qaeda reign.
With less area to control, the terrorist group has created a highly profitable smuggling network by doing business with local tribes and smugglers. The strict blockades and embargoes that were put in place to cut off the terrorists from resources is back firing. Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of the fact that fuel is so scarce and is making money from smuggling this premium resource.
Al-Qaeda is slowly gaining public sympathy with these relationships with the local communities. According to Reuters, one of reasons why the terrorist group was so easily pushed out of part of the region was because they wanted to reframe from blood battles that could have detrimental effects on these communities. Interesting theory, but this is not something the terrorist organization has ever cared about before.
The National has a different theory about how al-Qaeda lost control in Yemen. The publication cites that the “ISIS-style terror state” was not effective with a weak civil administration and taxation system. The Middle East focused news outlet is optimistic that the Yemeni army will continue to defeat the terrorist group.
“Everywhere extremists have taken control of cities and towns – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria – they have done so because of prior instability. Whether ISIL or Al Qaeda, their success is rooted in the failure of politics. These groups have been created by bad governance and they can be undone by good governance,” writes The National.