Efforts to stabilise the city of Taiz remain fluid despite improved security in 2018 and a drive by the Saudi-supported internationally recognized government to integrate the Salafist Abu al-Abbas group into the armed forces. The Abu al-Abbas group, named after its leader Adil Abduh Fari Uthman al-Dhubhani, known as Abu al-Abbas, is adept at handling pressure. The group claimed to have withdrawn from most of Taiz but maintains a strategic presence in the city. Abu al-Abbas is open to alliances with any groups opposing the Houthis, regardless of their political ideology. Abu al-Abbas is reaping benefits of allying with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Saudi-backed government without jeopardising links with Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP is present in Taiz with individual fighters; their hold is currently shrinking, however, as they withdraw to rural areas.
In 2016, fighters belonging to several groups in Taiz were integrated into the armed forces of the internationally-recognized government. Resistance groups had formed in Taiz in the context of the Houthi’s incursion in 2014/2015. The fighters affiliated with Abu al-Abbas were designated as part of the 35th Yemeni Army Brigade and became nominally under the command of Brigadier General Adnan al-Hamadi.
In an interview with YPC, a commander in the 35th brigade said many of the newly integrated soldiers do not understand the function of the army as a pillar of public order: “We should open a training centre to coach army members on self-control and discipline, as well as on how to deal with citizens.” The commander said that training already provided to the ex-militia fighters contributed to improvement in security in Taiz. He attributed the improvement in security to the deployment of army troops on fronts outside of the city. Among the troops were (ex-) militia from Taiz. However, militia members officially under the army banner have continued to act independently from the formal military structure.
In a November 2018 interview, an Abu al-Abbas militia commander said three of the police stations the group had handed over to the government are under the command of police chiefs affiliated with Abu al-Abbas. The commander said the only building the group still controls directly is the Hayel Saeed compound. The compound mainly comprises a school built by the Hayel Saeed Group of Companies. Abu al-Abbas troops use the school as their headquarters. One classroom is being used as a prison for members of Abu al-Abbas who had committed what the group regards as violations.
Donor: European Union
 In a nationwide survey conducted by YPC in September 2017 with a random sample of 4000, 38% of the respondents based in
Taiz said that the “police/security authorities” are the first to deal with a problem or security incident (MoE = 4,38%).
 Interview with head of police station in Taiz conducted by YPC on Oct 28, 2018.
 Interview with official of 35th brigade conducted in Taiz on Nov 18, 2018.
 Deeproot (2018) ‘Caught in the middle: A Conflict Mapping of Taiz governorate’, Deeproot Consulting Report, Aug 2018, p. 19.
Available online:http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/df2b40_e6cbadad37b248b495c4c3634996b8aa.pdf (Jan 5, 2018).
 See for instance reporting from al-Jazeera: Edross, F (2018) ‘Cars, guns and TV interviews: The militiaman on the UAE payroll’,
al-Jazeera, November 2018. Available online:https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/cars-guns-tv-interviews-militiamanuae-
 Al-Jazeera (Aug 25, 2018). Available online:https://bit.ly/2LPUrSr (Jan 5, 2019).
 Aden al-Ghad (Aug 30, 2018). Available online:https://bit.ly/2RcrxBC (Jan 5, 2019).
 Interview with a 35th Brigade official conducted in Taiz on Nov 18, 2018. The police stations affiliated with Abu al-Abbas include the stations Bab Musa, al-Bab al-Kabeer and Sinah. The following buildings have been handed over to the government according to the interview: Fourth Checkpoint; Political Security Office; al-Kaherah Castle; Faculty of Arts; Security Department; al-Jumhouria Newspaper; Finance Office; al-Jahmalia Police Station; al-Jumhouri Hospital; al-Jumhouri Police Station; al-Hajar Checkpoint; Military Supply building; Salah Post Office; Military Hospital; Main Post Office; Facilities in the Ring Road; Local Water Corporation; Governorate Administrative Complex; Criminal Investigation Bureau; Passport Service building; Traffic Department; al-Okhowwah Hotel; al-Thawrah Hospital; Medical Training Institute; Military Police; Al Thulaya School; and the 26 September School.
 An observation made by the YPC researcher during the interview at the school in November 2018.
This brief was written by Maged Sultan, Associated Fellow at the Yemen Polling Center and co-chair at the Youth Without Borders Organization for Development; Ahmed al-Sharjabi, Yemen Polling Center Researcher.
The research was conducted by the authors with the assistance of the YPC research team. The research and publication of this brief was made possible with the funding of the European Union.
We thank Mareike Transfeld for her feedback and Laura Kasinof for her copyedits. Ahmed al-Sharjabi designed the layout.
Taj Kenya Plaza Building, al-Mualla Main St.
In front of the CBY – Taiz branch, Jamal St.
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