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Once driven to near irrelevance by the rise of Daesh (ISIS) abroad and security crackdowns at home, Al-Qaeda in Yemen now openly rules a ministate with a war chest swollen by an estimated $100 million in looted bank deposits and revenue from running the country's third-largest port. If Daesh's capital is the Syrian city of Raqqa, then Al-Qaeda's is Mukalla, a southeastern Yemeni port city of 500,000 people. A U.S. counterterrorism official said AQAP remained one of Al-Qaeda's "most potent affiliates".ON THE WATERFRONTIn Mukalla port, a thriving fuel smuggling network enriches Al-Qaeda daily.Tribes who work with Al-Qaeda now control much of the country's oil infrastructure.
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