Yemen: Destitute, Desperate And Armed


August 20, 2012:  The new government is encountering more armed resistance from supporters of the former Saleh government. This is because unemployment is high and government jobs are worth fighting (to the death) for. Firing pro-Saleh soldiers is proving difficult but many other pro-Saleh government employees are armed and very angry about losing their jobs, or even the threat of losing them.

Over a year of fighting has crippled an already weak economy. A growing number of people are not just poor but destitute. Many of these people have guns and are desperate to grab some of the shrinking number of economic opportunities.

The endemic corruption makes it difficult to distribute foreign aid effectively. Too much of this aid is stolen by government officials, which makes the desperation of the pro-Saleh police, troops, and officials more understandable.

In the south soldiers and police continue to search for al Qaeda members, who are now operating as terrorists. Police are finding bomb workshops and terrorist safe houses. The al Qaeda men fight back, often to the death, making this "mopping up" operation particularly bloody.

August 19, 2012: In a southern village a gunmen killed seven people at a local mosque.

August 18, 2012: In the southern city of Aden al Qaeda gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the military intelligence headquarters, leaving at least twenty dead.

Elsewhere in Aden, separatist leader Ahmed al Hassani was freed after spending three days under detention.

August 15, 2012: At the southern city of Aden's airport, masked gunmen (apparently police) seized former ambassador (and retired general) Ahmed al Hassani as he arrived on a flight from Britain. Hassani is a prominent southern separatist leader who has lived in Britain since 2006 as a political refugee.

August 14, 2012: Some 200 members of former president Saleh's Republican Guard attacked the Ministry of Defense compound in the capital as a protest against the dismissal of pro-Saleh officers and the threat of many pro-Saleh soldiers losing their jobs. The attack failed, after five people were killed. Several days later the government decided to prosecute 62 of the attackers.

In the capital troops and pro-Saleh men clashed, leaving three dead.

August 12, 2012: At the last minute al Qaeda led kidnappers holding a Saudi diplomat refused to release their captive until a larger ($20 million) ransom was paid. The captive was to be released today, after everyone had agreed on a $10 million ransom. But at the last minute al Qaeda leaders changed their mind. The Saudi diplomat was kidnapped last March. Al Qaeda needs cash to keep its terror campaign going. While many Yemenis do not care much for al Qaeda, they will help the terrorists if there is a cash payment involved.

August 10, 2012: Pro-Saleh officers and troops belonging to the Republican Guard held demonstrations (to keep their jobs) outside the Ministry of Defense in the capital.

In the south an American UAV used missiles to kill six al Qaeda men.

In the southeast al Qaeda gunmen attacked an army checkpoint and killed three soldiers. Elsewhere in the southeast an army commander was killed by a bomb attached to his car.





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