Saudi and Yemen troops operating within the Legitimacy Support Coalition in Yemen have succeeded in arresting the emir of ISIS in Yemen, coalition spokesman Col. Turkey al-Maliki said.
He added that the ISIS emir, codenamed Abu Osama al-Muhajir, was arrested along with the finance minister of the terrorist organization in Yemen and a number of other organization leaders.
These arrests prove to a great extent the weak nature of ISIS in Yemen, compared with the condition of the same organization in other countries.
ISIS started to have its own franchise in Yemen in 2015 when its presumed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi approved the allegiance sworn by a group of Yemeni terrorists then.
This was a time when al-Qaeda was the most prominent terrorist organization in Yemen. Al-Qaeda was only struggling for survival. ISIS, however, succeeded in staging different attacks in different places in Yemen. It also established several branches in Yemeni cities.
Nonetheless, the attacks did not bring ISIS the fame it aimed at. Its loss of its caliphate in Iraq and Syria also made it less capable of drawing in new recruits.
ISIS’s failure in Yemen boils down to a number of factors, including the Yemeni environment itself and the nature of the country’s tribes.
The security vacuum created in Yemen by the Houthi coup against legitimate Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi could not help ISIS make the required expansion in the country or achieve its goals.
ISIS could not draw in new recruits either because of the country’s tribal nature. The organization continued to be hated by Yemeni tribes due to its extremist ideas and practices.
Al-Qaeda used to aim at foreign and US targets. ISIS, however, aimed at the Yemeni army and Yemeni policemen.
According to the ISIS newspaper, al-Naba, the number of people joining in the organization in Yemen was far from satisfactory. The newspaper added that between 30 and 40 new recruits only attended each of the courses ISIS organized at a time.
Struggle with al-Qaeda
ISIS had to compete against al-Qaeda, which has a long history in Yemen. Known to be the strongest al-Qaeda branch outside Afghanistan, the Yemeni branch was also a favorite of the al-Qaeda command.
In mid-July 2018, a battle broke out between ISIS and al-Qaeda in al-Bayda province. Fourteen al-Qaeda elements were killed in the battle along with 22 ISIS elements.