(Reuters) – Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s drive to restore order to Yemen after last year’s uprising against his predecessor risks being bogged down in a prolonged war with al Qaeda unless he moves swiftly on reconciliation talks and asserts control over the armed forces.
Bickering between supporters and opponents of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the longstanding grievances of northern Shi’ite Muslim rebels and southern secessionists, and lawlessness in a country awash with arms, are just some of the obstacles to Hadi’s reconstruction aims.
Al Qaeda, with an ability to strike at will across a country facing chronic problems of poverty and stretched resources and in urgent need of foreign investment, is one of the main hindrances to Yemen’s chances of ever building a secure future.
The Islamist militant group’s Yemen-based branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is described by the CIA as the “most dangerous” arm of the network founded by Osama bin Laden. It has suffered some setbacks since Hadi came to power in November last year under a U.S-backed power transfer deal.