As the battle in Yemen rages on, we know today who the enemies of the Al-Qaeda are. The Yemen battle is a ten way fight and there are ten players all engaged in battles both for and against the regime in the country.
The announcement by the Al-Qaeda that it would reward 20 kilograms of gold to anyone bringing dead or alive former President of Yemen Abdullah Saleh and the leader of the Houthi rebels, is a clear indicator of who its enemy is. [Yemen has 10 players: See what each of them want]
The enemy is clear:
The Al-Qaeda which operates under the banner of the Al-Qaeda in the sub-continent in Yemen has been the strongest group in the region for several years. It has been engaged in a battle with the United States of America since 2002.
Yemen has also been a safe hideout for several top Al-Qaeda leaders including Anwar Awlaki who was probably one of the fiercest preachers of the group. The AQAP has also launched deadly attacks from Yemen and is also said to have planned the Charlie Hebdo attack from this country.
However, today in a ten way fight which is surrounded around President Hadi, the Al-Qaeda is looking to make gains.
The US and the Saudis have come out in support of the Hadi regime, while Iran secretly backs the Houthi rebels who are looking to overthrow the regime with the support of former president Saleh. [Yemen crisis: All need to know about ongoing turmoil and its geopolitical impact]
The announcing of a reward to capture Saleh and the Houthi leader is an indicator as to who the Al-Qaeda treats as its enemy. The target is not any of the other players in Yemen, but the Al-Qaeda wants to see the back of the Houthis and Saleh who are battling in tandem against the regime.
20 kilograms of gold offered by Al-Qaeda:
The Al-Qaeda in an online message has offered a bounty of 20 kilograms of gold for anyone brining Saleh and the Houthi leader dead or alive. The Al-Qaeda has in the past few years been loosing ground in Yemen with the Houthis gaining strength.
Several Al-Qaeda leaders have been beaten down by the Houthis who not only enjoy the support of Iran and Saleh, but also a large number of personnel from the Yemen militia.
The Al-Qaeda is aware that beating down the Houthi rebels would help its cause in the long run. This is one of the main reasons why it has gone on to announce such a generous reward.
Al-Qaeda will wait and watch:
For the Al-Qaeda the situation cannot get better than this. The Saudis and the Americans are fighting against the Houthis in a bid to ensure that the Hadi regime stays in power. [Al Qaeda attacks Yemeni city, frees 300 prisoners]
Both the Saudis and the Al-Qaeda have a common enemy in the Houthis. The Saudis striking at the Houthi bases is only advantageous to the Al-Qaeda and it goes on to solve a majority of its worries.
Moreover the Al-Qaeda which is a force restricted to the ground would wait for the Saudis to clean up the Houthis through air strikes. However if the Saudis manage to do that then the Al-Qaeda would come all guns blazing to take control over the ground.
For now however it is the Houthis and Saleh against all the rest of the players. The question is will the conflict end in cases the Houthis are beaten down? The answer is no because post such a scenario, it will be the Al-Qaeda fighting for Sunni dominance in the region.