Five days ago, we documented the incursion of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels into the heart of the Yemeni port city of Aden, which has some ~800,000 residents and where holdouts loyal to President Hadi (who fled for Saudi Arabi in the face of the rebel advance) are battling in the streets in a desperate attempt to repel the rebels from the central Crater district where more than 75,000 people reside. The fight for the city has quickly deteriorated into a humanitarian crisis with the first shipments of aid arriving on Wednesday. Here’s Reuters describing the scene:
Residents saw a dozen bodies strewn on the streets and said several buildings were burnt or demolished by rocket fire. Mosques broadcast appeals for jihad against the Houthis, Iran-allied fighters who have taken over large areas of Yemen.
The Houthi attack in the central Crater neighborhood, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, was at least partially repelled, residents said, and Houthi gunmen had also been driven from some northern neighborhoods.
In our coverage of the unfolding events, we also made the important observation that the Aden branch of Yemen’s central bank is located right where the fiercest fighting is taking place:
This of course sets the stage for a repeat of what is becoming a familiar occurrence in a world where Washington’s haphazard attempts at conducting what somehow still passes for foreign policy end up having the most absurd, yet by now very predictable, of consequences:
The local branch of Yemen's central bank is located in the area, which suggests the Houthis (and, as you'll see below, Al Qaeda) may be playing for a repeat of what occurred just 9 months ago when jihadis seized $400 million from the Mosul central bank in Iraq making ISIS the best funded islamic fundamentalist force in the world. Of course the tragically ridiculous part of the whole story is that the Houthi advance is very likely being aided by some of the $500 million worth of weapons the US "misplaced" in the country so in short, US-armed, Iranian-backed rebels have now overthrown a US puppet government, fought their way (using US weapons) into the last important city still loosely under coalition control, and are now operating a few blocks from a branch of the Yemeni central bank.
Well, sure enough, just 5 short (or "long" if you live in Aden) days later, locals are reporting that Houthi militia are gathering outside the central bank — carrying welding equipment. Here’s more from Aden Alghad (via Google translate):
Witnesses and local residents said the pro- Houthi forces deployed in the vicinity of the Central Bank of Yemen, Aden branch building...
He said citizens living neighborhood herd Pkritr for " Eden tomorrow ," said the number of cars arrived on the scene , carrying soldiers where they have access to the bank's headquarters .
A witness said he saw some soldiers carrying gas cylinders ( welding ) used in the iron cutting but did not allow for Aden tomorrow confirm these partial from a trusted source.
And so the Houthis who, thanks to a few hundred million worth of “lost” US weapons are already well armed, and thanks to Iran are also well trained, are now set to get a capital injection courtesy of the Yemen central bank much as AQAP did just last week when militants raided banks to the east in Mukalla and very much like ISIS did last year in Mosul when the group also captured US arms.