The Associated Press reports that “Islamic militants” have taken over a town named al-Husn, a strategic mountain home to a radio station and a presidential palace and a weapons factory in Yemen’s Abyan Province. These “Islamic militants” are almost certainly Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as Abyan Province is one of their bases. The report says the police presence was reduced in the area to cope with the unrest elsewhere.
The AP says that suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked a military post in Ubaida in the central part of Marib Province, another one of AQAP’s strongholds and 7 soldiers were killed. As I’ve previously written for FrontPage Magazine, the instability in Yemen benefits Al-Qaeda, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the north and the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate called Islah. The more secular democratic forces benefit as well, but the Islamists are the best positioned to fill the power vacuum and you can count on Al-Qaeda and the Houthis to fight for a relative level of autonomy.
The only good news from Al-Qaeda’s attacks is that the terrorist group has a habit of overreaching. The Yemeni population is mostly indifferent to Al-Qaeda’s presence in their country, with many viewing the group as an inflated or manufactured threat. If the group becomes too aggressive in attacking soldiers and forcing Sharia Law on residents, it will force the Yemenis to wake up to the threat in their midst. The best strategy for Al-Qaeda is to restrain its lust for blood and oppression and enjoy and non-violently expand its safe harbor, but that doesn’t seem to be in Al-Qaeda’s DNA.