- @AEI's @Criticalthreats shows the latest power structure of Yemen’s Armed Forces down to brigade level
- A Yemeni 'brigade' is much smaller than the U.S. equivalent and is estimated to include about 1,500 troops
- Without audits in Yemen's military, brigade commanders who distributed salaries to their soldiers, often exaggerated brigade sizes
Download PDF President Hadi released a list of military and political appointments on April 6, 2012 that strikes at Saleh’s patronage network. Some of the holdover military commanders had reportedly acted to handicap the fight against Ansar al Sharia and destabilize the Hadi government. The decrees removed Saleh’s half-brother and nephew from command positions and rearranged leadership in the Army and Navy. But Saleh figures remain in positions of power, most notably Saleh’s son Ahmed, head of the elite Republican Guard.
The backlash from Saleh’s men has already affected the military. Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar, dismissed commander of the Air Force, threatened to shoot down planes at Sana’a airport. Armed men loyal to Saleh shut down the Sana’a airport for a day. Rumors of other commanders refusing the changes have surfaced since the decrees. It is unclear how the military will weather this unrest; its strength has already been sapped by a year of defections and mutiny. It is crucial to U.S. interests that Hadi bring the armed forces to bear, because without a unified Yemeni military, the fight against AQAP will fail.
Read the daily Gulf of Aden Security Review from AEI's Critical Threats Project.
Read the latest Yemen Crisis Situation Update from AEI's Critical Threats Project.