Wave of Aden killings tests Gulf role in Yemen
The recapture of Aden by Gulf Arab coalition troops last summer has failed to provide any respite from Yemen`s civil war, with residents facing a wave of bomb and gun attacks that is crippling efforts to stabilise the city.
Cairo/Dubai: The recapture of Aden by Gulf Arab coalition troops last summer has failed to provide any respite from Yemen`s civil war, with residents facing a wave of bomb and gun attacks that is crippling efforts to stabilise the city.
Seven months after rebel fighters from the Iranian-allied Houthi militia were driven out of the strategic southern port, there are almost daily assassinations of judges, security officials and police.
Since July, the Gulf coalition and local security forces have struggled to impose order in Aden, opening the way for Islamic State, al Qaeda and other armed groups to operate there with impunity.
The challenges in Aden show how difficult it will be to restore order to a country gripped by months of conflict in which 6,000 have been killed and where Islamist militants have exploited widespread security weaknesses in what Saudi Arabia sees as its backyard.
The Saudi-led coalition launched military operations to prevent the Houthis, whom Riyadh sees as a proxy for its enemy Iran, from taking control of Yemen after they seized much of the north.
For their part, the Houthis deny backing from Tehran and accuse the coalition of launching a war of aggression.
Continuing violence in Aden, the biggest prize yet won by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Yemen`s 10-month-old civil war, threatens to undermine the campaign waged on his behalf by the coalition against the Houthis and army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
"If we leave the situation as it is, you will have the situation you have in Libya," coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said, referring to the situation in Yemen as a whole.
A lot of people who oppose the Houthis would form their own militias, he said, and Islamic State would also see an opportunity.
"There will be a chaotic situation. So I think when we start something we have to finish it, by bringing back security and stability to Yemen," Asseri told Reuters.
Islamist militants from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have mounted operations in southern Yemen, including Aden, for years.
But the pace of attacks in Aden has accelerated since July, when local forces backed by Hadi`s government and the Saudi-led alliance recaptured the city from the Houthis after months of street fighting, but have seemingly failed to secure it.