How Do Yemen’s Houthis & AQAP “Counter” Drones? A Look At Open Sources
By Khalil Dewan
The Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Houthi armed group are dealing with drone strikes in Yemen in starkly different ways.
Open source investigation reveals that AQAP are on the defensive over the threat of U.S. reconnaissance and armed drones, leading them to desperately convey to their members to avoid being intercepted for locational intelligence.
In juxtaposition, the Houthis have projected a far more aggressive propaganda narrative on defeating the threat of drones and aerospace threats by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
AQAP and Houthi sources, however, cannot not be used exclusively as evidence when assessing strategy, tactics, and overall internal discussion on how these groups are countering drones — the chance for falling for propaganda is otherwise too high.
- AQAP are highly defensive over the threat of U.S. drone strikes and are warning their members to avert locational intelligence capture by placing a ban on the use of telecoms, and prohibiting the sharing of operational activity with “martial partners” or fellow soldiers who may “talk too much”. Many high-profile commanders and ideologues with the group have been successfully targeted and killed by drone, for example Naseer Al-Wuhayshi.
- AQAP claimed in a 38-minute video titled “Secrets, its [sic] Dangers and the Departure of the Best of Us” that alleged spies of Arab descent have infiltrated their ranks and are directly supporting locational intelligence for drone strikes, verifying on the ground targets, and sending that information back for targeted killings.
- By contrast, the Houthi group’s official propaganda have been on the offensive against air strikes. The Houthis have utilised propaganda videos, speeches, and infographics to boost morale against the threat of drones.
The Houthi Propaganda “Offensive”
Based on open source Houthi media monitoring, it is clear that the group has attempted to make movement members and sympathisers confident …read more