By William Tucker
Just days after the U.S. reinstated military assistance to Yemen, the Yemeni military launched an offensive against Zinjibar in an attempt to remove the al-Qaeda militants that have held the city for the past year. Details of the battle are coming in slowly, but it does appear that both sides have sustained losses. In the neighboring provinces of Marhib and Shabwa, U.S. drone strikes continue to inflict losses on AQAP leadership. The Yemeni regime has struggled to gain the full support of the Yemeni military and it is too soon to tell if this recent offensive is indicative of future military support for the regime. With U.S. military and intelligence support, however, the Yemeni military may be more confident in taking on the heavily armed and well trained AQAP militants in the south. Again, it is early in this most recent offensive, and there is a lot of ground to make up against al-Qaeda, but that the offensive has taken place at all is a good sign.