Less than 24 hours after ISIS-affiliates launched suicide attacks at two Zaydi Shiite mosques in Sana, Yemen, killing more than 130 people, the United States announced it would withdraw its remaining ground forces in the country. The United States closed its embassy in January after Houthi rebels deposed the country’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Despite closure of its embassy and the formal withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from the country, the United States continued to maintain a special operations force operating on the ground in Yemen, attempting to counter what it saw as the growing influence of al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates.
Commentators now worry that the withdrawal of US Special Forces from the country could undermine counter-terror operations in the region and embolden al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQIP).
What do you think? What effect, if any, will the withdrawal of US Special Forces from Yemen have on the region? Will AQIP seek to destabilize the Houthi regime? Will it expand its operations beyond Yemen and target US and Western assets elsewhere? Should the US have withdrawn its forces? Why?