The Middle East Aflame
Al-Qaeda Seizes Seaport & Airport

Al-Qaeda is on the march in Yemen. As the AFP reports:

Al-Qaeda militants Thursday seized a provincial airport in southeast Yemen while tribal forces took over an oil terminal, as the war-wracked country slides further into turmoil.

“The military unit in charge of security at the facility withdrew without resisting” Al-Qaeda fighters, said an official at the airport in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the jihadist network’s powerful Yemeni branch, earlier this month took advantage of the growing chaos to overrun Mukalla.

Daveed Garenstein-Ross and Bridget Moreng had a detailed piece in Politico this morning charting al-Qaeda’s recent territory grabs. The short version: the emergence of ISIS as a territory-holding caliphate has spurred on its once-shadowy rival, and in fact al-Qaeda might have had the better run of the two lately.

This is the kind of competition the Middle East could do without. But thanks in part to President Obama’s policy of disengagement, it’s the sort of problem the region will have for a good long time.

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