Audience Question: Who are the Giant Brigades?
The Giant Brigades (Arabic: العمالقة, Al-Amaliqah) are among the old Yemeni militia groups that have been organized under the command of the Saudi coalition since 2017 and are taking part in the Yemeni war.
The word Al-Amaliqa or Amaliq in Arab culture means strong and large people. Throughout history, the Jews also called their enemies Amaliq and considered Amaliqa as an adjective for their enemies. The last time the word was used in a speech by Jewish leaders was in 2010 by Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the Iranians a new Amaliqah.
But in Yemen, the Al-Amaliqah Forces are a militant group formed in 1971 at the suggestion of Major General Hassan al-Omari during the presidency of Ibrahim al-Hamdi.
Al-Amaliqah forces fought with the Socialist separatists in the south during the 1994 civil war in support of the Northern Alliance. Al-Amaliqa clashes with the southerners in Abyan province led to the defeat of the southerners and the depletion of their power in other battles, and Yemen came under the complete control of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Al-Amaliqah forces were also used by Ali Abdullah Saleh during the Six Wars of Saada. They fought in various battles against the supporters of the martyr “Sayyed Hussein Badruddin al-Houthi” in Saada and northern Yemen. Al-Amaliqa forces were then distributed to other brigades of the Yemeni army and practically disbanded.
After the Yemeni revolution and the beginning of the battles between Ansar Allah and the supporters of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, a number of former commanders of Al-Amaliqa, with the support of the Saudi coalition, reorganized their groups and took part in the battles in the southern regions of Yemen. The organization of the Al-Amaliqa forces expanded during the Saudi coalition attack on the west coast of Yemen, and the ground attack was carried out with their role.
The Giant Brigades is now largely organized by the UAE, and most of its forces are recruited by this country. Most of the body of this group consists of the Wahhabis of Dammaj, Kataib Abu al-Abbas in Taiz, the Salafis of southern Yemen from the areas of Yafi’ to Lahij.
The Saudi coalition media put the number of Al-Amaliqah (Giant) Brigades at about 30,000. However, depending on the deployment of these forces in Yemen, their number is estimated at 15,000 to 20,000.
The Giant Brigades has bases in Aden and Lahij, and until the last few months they were stationed in the fronts of al-Hudaydah and Taiz. But after three years of erosive fighting in al-Hudaydah, they withdrew from al-Hudaydah on the orders of the Saudi coalition and were sent to the Shabwa and Marib fronts.