A Yemeni women wears a lock around her wrist with the name Taiz painted in red on her hand, during a demonstration in Taiz, south of the capital Sanaa on December 5, 2011.
Taiz is as important a city as Sana’a to understanding the Yemeni Spring, yet its significance has been largely overlooked by the international community.
Sana’a’s efforts to bring Taiz under control have detracted from efforts to suppress al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its expansion in the south. Large troop deployments to the city have drawn on Yemen’s already limited military resources.
Militias led by local tribal leaders interfered on behalf of protesters in Taiz in June and fought government forces for months. The resulting violence drew more troops into the city and brought international condemnation on Yemen.
The conflict in Taiz continued after President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s signing of a transition deal on November 23, 2011. Moreover, sporadic violence against protesters threatens a local truce agreement. The Yemeni government will continue to allocate resources to Taiz unless the local conflict is resolved.