Skip to main content

What is the real challenge for Yemen's Hadrami Elite forces?

After Yemeni government forces took over Hadramaut governorate, which was under the AQAP’s control, the Hadrami Elite’s main challenge is to keep the Islamic State away from the governorate.
A poster with an image of a soldier lies on his grave after he was killed by al Qaeda militants in the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen, at a military cemetery in Sanaa August 10, 2014. An al Qaeda-affiliated group in Yemen said it killed 14 soldiers in an eastern province as revenge for an army offensive against its members, while a U.S. drone attack killed three suspected militants in central Yemen on Saturday, an official said. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILIT
Read in 

One year after al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took over Mukalla, the capital of Hadramaut governorate, in early April 2015, the Yemeni exiled government backed by Gulf countries announced it was regaining control of the city. To sustain its control and keep al-Qaeda at bay, the government created a new security entity: the Hadrami Elite, which is supervised by United Arab Emirates' (UAE) security personnel, funded by Saudi Arabia and supported technically by US forces.

The Hadrami Elite forces are composed of the tribal fighters who sided with the Yemeni government in exile as well as local recruits from Hadramaut, some of whom initially worked with Sons of Hadramaut to install security in the governorate. The main defining feature of this force is that it is purely composed of Hadrami locals, which means that Yemenis from other regions are not allowed to join. The newly created security force, which is governing the second military zone of the main coastal areas, is being trained by UAE and Jordanian security officers and has been provided with tanks, arms and logistics paid for mostly by the Saudis.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.