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March 23, 2007

Yemini military enlisting child soldiers to combat Shiite rebels

Jane Novak at Yemen: From Nepotism to Internal Jihad
In the current round of fighting, the Yemeni military has augmented its ranks with child soldiers, tribesmen, and jihadis. Several induction centers have been opened and local media report that children as young as 15 have been given weapons and sent to the front with no training. Tribesmen from President Saleh's tribe, the Hashid Confederation, have also volunteered and been inducted for service in the thousands. As the Believing Youth are from the Bakil Tribal Confederation, military deployment of tribal irregulars has increased the threat of all-out tribal warfare.

Yemeni jihadis, unlike Yemen's child soldiers, are extremely well trained. Many are veterans of prior conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, and other jihadist campaigns. Some currently receive terrorist training in Yemen, reportedly with aid from some top military commanders. Saleh's use of Salafist proxies dates back at least to Yemen's 1994 civil war, when jihadis targeted Southern Socialist forces that had been labeled as apostates.

Thanks to Eric at Vince Aut Morire for the tip.

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