Aden: Turning point

Aden: Turning point

The liberation of Aden is a major step in the war against extremism. In the kernel of that victory, lies the successful return of the government leaders who had escaped in March when the city was overrun. However, it is extremely morale boosting and gives the populace much hope that official forces are making an impact.
However, it is premature to see this as anything more than the beginning of the end.
The straggler groups from the retreating Houthis could not only be dangerous in their do-or-die stand but could well booby-trap the city’s streets and buildings and the mop-up operation in the aftermath will have to literally be taken step by step.
It is also important to remember that the strongholds can cause great harm by using shoot-and-scoot tactics
While President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s presence in Aden is salutary he must not just be seen to act but must act administratively to restore the confidence of the Yemeni people.
These past four months have seen bitter fighting and left a capital bruised in the realms of security and safety. The pockets of resistance can still be of danger and the loyalists will have to be careful that in clearing the city they do not fall victim to booby traps.
The global community also has to strengthen the government and give it a booster shot. The Houthis are not pushovers and have the capability of regrouping and rearming.
The one other flank that has to be contained is that of recruiting the disaffected or the simply misled youth that is lured in to becoming child soldiers.
Although one cannot predict the possibility of the Abdullah Saleh-led factions sitting down at the table in the general interest of the country and opening negotiations, the efforts to play mediator cannot stop even as Aden is re-introduced to normalcy.
With the city of Taiz as the next objective, the coalition has certainly scored a crippling blow on the rebels and put them on the backfoot. But peace as they would want it and what the Saudi-led forces seek and have fought for is still a bridge away.
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