Yemen: Fear Of Fighting Anyone


May 26, 2010: Based on success in Pakistan, and the growing Yemeni government hostility to Islamic radicals, the United States has been allowed to establish an intelligence operation in Yemen. This has actually been going on for over a decade, but in very limited form. But now American UAVs and electronic reconnaissance aircraft are more frequently seen in Yemen, along with CIA and U.S. Army Special Forces operatives (the former for setting up informant networks, the latter to help with that and to train Yemeni special operations troops.) The Yemeni government describes American UAV missile attacks as Yemeni Air Force operations.

The northern rebels remain defiant, but also much weakened from their recent war with the government. The southern tribes, while hostile to the government, are not united, and reluctant to take on the government after seeing what happened to the Shia tribes up north.

May 25, 2010: North of the capital, tribesmen released two American tourists, who they had kidnapped the day before, after being located and surrounded by soldiers.

May 24, 2010: An American Hellfire missile hit a vehicle carrying the deputy governor of Maarib province (east of the capital), Jaber al Shabwani, killing him and three of his relatives/bodyguards. Shabwani was acting as a mediator between the government and the local tribes, to gain cooperation against al Qaeda. The death of Shabwani made the tribesmen angry, and some went and bombed an oil pipeline in the area. The government first described the attack as one of their operations, against al Qaeda.

Tribesmen kidnapped two American tourists, and their driver, north of the capital, in yet another attempt to get a kinsman freed. These kidnappings are common, and keep a lot of tourists away (and attract a much smaller number of adventurers.)

May 23, 2010:  Anti-al Qaeda tribesmen in Yemen have sent al Qaeda documents to contacts in Israel. These manuals and communications describe cooperation between a Palestinian al Qaeda terror cell operating in Gaza and the West Bank,  and al Qaeda groups in Yemen. The Palestinian al Qaeda group is hostile to Hamas, which controls Gaza, because al Qaeda keeps launching attacks against Israel, in violation of a cease fire Hamas had worked out with Israel.

In the south, police clashed with armed tribesmen, who tried to kidnap two policemen. They failed, and one of the tribesmen was killed.

Yemeni Islamic radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki (an American citizen of Yemeni descent who has been connected with many recent Islamic terror attacks in the West) released another video message on the Internet, where he explicitly calls for Moslems to attack and kill any and all Americans. This is in response for the American government trying to locate and take Awlaki, dead or alive.

May 22, 2010: The government offered an amnesty to northern Shia rebels and southern separatists. To get the amnesty, you have to surrender to government inspection and turn over heavy weapons. Some tribesmen in the south have accepted these terms. An amnesty was also granted to journalists who had been arrested or convicted of saying things the government did not like.

May 20, 2010: Al Qaeda in Yemen admitted that their leader, Nayif al Qahtani, had recently been killed in an air strike. Al Qaeda in Yemen is also calling on women to join the fight. Al Qaeda are normally misogynists, but in Iraq, when al Qaeda was being hammered, they began using women as suicide bombers.



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