The government has declared an end to the peace effort with the northern Shia rebels. This comes about after yesterday's kidnapping of eleven soldiers by the rebels. This was but the latest example of the tribal rebels ignoring the peace terms they agreed to. This was not unexpected, as, in the past, the tribes frequently made ceasefire deals they had no intention of keeping.
Local officials are reporting that dozens of al Qaeda members from Yemen have arrived in Somalia, bringing weapons and other equipment with them. Somalia is pretty wide open, with a long coast and no air-traffic-control to even monitor who flies in. There are many air charter companies in the region that will, for a price, fly you and your cargo into Somalia. Yemeni and Somali fishermen often moonlight as smugglers. It is believed that some, or all, of the al Qaeda leadership in Yemen has been moving to Somalia in the last month. While several of the Yemeni tribes have promised to protect al Qaeda leaders, the tribes have more bluster than military power. Government security forces have been rounding up more and more al Qaeda members, despite tribal threats. The Americans and all their surveillance equipment are increasingly active in Yemen, making it harder for al Qaeda people to hide. While the al Qaeda leadership has fled Yemen, the rank-and-file members have been ordered to lie low and stay hidden for two months or so. Al Qaeda believes that the government will not sustain the current counter-terror operations, and that by the Summer, the al Qaeda leadership will be able to return and resume planning world conquest.
The Awliki tribe announced that it would continue to hide and protect radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki (who was involved in the last two terror attacks in the United States; the Christmas bombing attempt and the Fort Hood shootings). Al Awlaki was born in the United States, but raised a Moslem, and returned to Yemen in 2004 to complete his religious education, and become more involved with Islamic radicalism, including al Qaeda. He was arrested in 2006 for his Islamic radical activities, but was released a year later when he promised to abandon his terrorist proclivities. He went into hiding and reverted to his support for Islamic terrorism. Awliki tribal leaders deny that Anwar al Awlaki is involved with al Qaeda, but a large body of his speeches and writings say otherwise. The Awliki tribe is centered in Shabwah province, which is southeast of the capital, on the Gulf of Aden coast. It's 39,000 square kilometers consists mostly of mountains and desert, with a population of half a million (most of them not Awlikis).
The number of illegal migrants entering Yemen from Somalia has declined by nearly half (to 3,000 a month) this year. Most of the decline is from Somalia, where growing violence, and poverty, make it more difficult for Somalis to get to the Somali coast opposite Yemen. Somalis used to be over half the illegal migrants, but are now less than a third. While most of these migrants seek to move on once they land in Yemen, about 170,000 of them live in Yemen refugee camps.
April 8, 2010: Separatist demonstrators in the southern city of Daleh were dispersed by police. A roadside bomb outside the town wounded two people.
April 7, 2010: Separatist demonstrators shut down the southern city of Daleh (population 500,000) with a general strike. The police have blockaded the city to make it difficult for the separatists to enter or leave.
April 6, 2010: Police have arrested about a dozen separatist leaders in the south over the last two days. About 400 separatists are being held, and separatists who appear to be leaders tend to get thrown in jail rather quickly. This has hampered separatist operations, with most of the leadership in jail.
April 3, 2010: The government released 161 Shia rebels it had captured. This was part of the peace deal with the rebels, to end months of fighting.
April 2, 2010: The U.S. revealed that it had added Yemeni cleric Anwar al Awlaki to its terrorist target list. This means that the U.S. will actively try to capture or kill al Awlaki (who was born in the U.S. of Yemeni parents, and moved back to Yemen and got involved in Islamic radicalism). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia handed over, to their families, the bodies of 32 Shia rebels who had crossed into Saudi Arabia and been killed fighting soldiers and police. This was part of the peace deal with the Shia rebels in northern Yemen.