The Rise and Fall of ISIL Yemen
One of the main battlegrounds for conflict between the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda is Yemen. The affiliate groups for both organizations, ISIL Yemen and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have both spent significant resources competing for power and influence in the region. Although ISIL Yemen seemed to be a promising contender when it was initially established, its indiscriminate brutality, unclear leadership, and dwindling resources, have resulted in the downfall of the organization. The future of ISIL Yemen will depend on how the group manages its operations, including its financial activity.
Origins and Operations
In 2014, an ISIL affiliate in Yemen was established with leadership, direction, and financing from ISIL core. The group became infamous for its competition with AQAP and specifically, its relatively more violent operations against civilians in the region. ISIL Yemen mainly carries out domestic suicide bombings, such as the attacks conducted in March 2015 targeting mosques in North and South Sanaa that killed 137 people and wounded at least 357.
In the first few years of its operations, ISIL Yemen had cells throughout the country. The group’s main base is now in the al-Bayda province. ISIL Yemen had about 300 militants at its peak in 2015 but has since significantly declined in membership.