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Global Energy Advisory February 5th 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Report

• Yemen: Fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have retaken the Yemeni town of Azzan in the Shabwa province after a several year hiatus. They were forced out in 2012 by tribesman loyal to the Yemeni president, and reportedly retook the town this week with little to no resistance. That there was no resistance speaks volumes as to the destabilization of Yemen amid the proxy war being fought here between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This destabilization will backfire on Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen. The Saudis are fighting the Shi’ite Houthis (Iran’s proxy) in Yemen, and Saudi officials on the ground say that the conflict near the border has killed 375 civilians in Saudi Arabia since March. The deaths have largely resulted from mortars and rockets fired by Houthi forces loyal to former Yemeni president Saleh. Riyadh has had to evacuate villages and displace thousands because of this conflict. The vacuum created by the fighting makes it easy for AQAP to step in.

• Syria: UN peace talks in Geneva have officially been launched, but the opposition delegation threatened to walk out if Assad’s forces failed to make good on a temporary deal to lift sieges on a handful of rebel-controlled towns in the meantime. The rebels were particularly concerned with Assad (and the Russians) closing in on one of its key supply routes near Aleppo. Don’t expect any outcome from the…

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