Yemen: Al Qaeda Penetrated And Pushed Around


May 18, 2012:  In the last week an army offensive has driven al Qaeda forces away from the key town of Loder and pushed Islamic terrorist forces away from other contested towns in Abyan province. The fighting has left over 150 dead and more than 500 wounded. That's over a hundred casualties a day. Abyan province has been a center of al Qaeda (and allied Islamic radical groups) activity for years. The army concentrated 20,000 troops in Abyan for this operation. The army received assistance from American UAVs (most of them armed with missiles) and the air force. Two-thirds of the dead were Islamic radicals and their tribal allies.  Most of the remainder were soldiers or pro-government tribesmen.

The new government is still a mess and the country remains divided. There are still anti-government demonstrations in the capital and other cities. The economic situation has gotten worse, as has the water and food situation. There are over 100,000 internal refugees, most of them destitute and completely dependent on foreign aid to survive.

May 17, 2012: Many of the troops who drove Islamic terrorist forces from the town of Loder are moving south. Loder is 150 kilometers northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital. Zinjibar is where the troops are headed, to join the force attacking Islamic radicals who have been holding parts of Zinjibar for most of a year.

May 13, 2012: For the second time this month tribal separatists blew a hole in a natural gas pipeline in the southeast. In retaliation the air force bombed separatist camps in Abyan province.

May 12, 2012: American UAVs killed 11 Islamic terrorists in the east. There were two attacks and one hit a meeting of al Qaeda leaders, who were planning how to proceed with the battles in Abyan province.

The Bulgarian ambassador escaped a kidnapping attempt in the capital. His eye was injured so he will return home for treatment after only a week on the job.

May 10, 2012: Two air strikes in Abyan province left seven al Qaeda dead, including two leaders.

May 7, 2012: American media revealed that an al Qaeda airliner terrorism plot, organized in Yemen, had been disrupted. The plot planned to use an improved version of the "underwear bomb" that failed in 2009. The new plot was foiled because of the work of American, British, and Saudi Arabian intelligence agencies. The Saudis have been very active at infiltrating al Qaeda in Yemen. The Saudis have lost several agents down there but have managed to infiltrate many terrorist cells and maintain relationships with numerous tribal leaders. The recent effort succeeded because the Saudis discovered that the al Qaeda plotters wanted someone with a Western passport to carry out the underwear bomb suicide attack. Britain has some Arab agents, who were British citizens, and provided one who had a British passport and an Anglo-Arab background. The U.S. was providing electronic intercepts and aerial surveillance of the plotters. The U.S. government is upset that the details of the operation were first leaked in the United States. The leak put other agents in Yemen in danger. The British Mi-6 agent who infiltrated al Qaeda and was assigned to wear the underwear bomb had already managed to get to Saudi Arabia with the bomb and turn it over for analysis. But his identity and possibly those of other agents are now known to al Qaeda.



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