As fighting between Yemen’s warring groups intensified, the recent clashes between Houthi fighters and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) could turn into a wider sectarian conflict, according to analysts.
Houthi leaders have been keen to portray their war against AQAP as part of the larger “war on terrorism” scheme. “Since arriving in Arhab over a week ago, Ansar Allah has been purging the district and surrounding villages of terrorists,” said Ali Al-Qahoom, a member of the Houthis’ policy-making committee.
But it is precisely the Houthis’ involvement in the “war on terror” which, analysts say, helps AQAP in getting more recruits. “The Houthis’ sectarian nature has enabled al-Qaeda to portray its conflict against them as Shia targeting Sunnis,” Saeed Obeid, a Yemeni analyst told Al Jazeera.