Yemen: Tradition, Honor And Misogyny

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November 28, 2010: Fighting continues between pro-government and rebel Shia tribes in the north. This violence is more about traditional tribal tiffs over water and grazing rights, than the recent Shia rebellion. But the threat of more trigger-happy tribesmen showing up is keeping over 200,000 refugees from returning home, as they were supposed to do after the ceasefire was signed last February. A few of the original refugees have gone home, but most still wait, in fear, in refugee camps.

Western air freight firms are tightening security, especially for those doing business in Arabia. This means that air freight firms in Arabia have to give reassuring signs that they are able to screen parcels they receive, or else freight companies, and even entire nations, will not be able to ship by air. While the recent al Qaeda air freight bombing plot was a failure, the terrorists declared it a victory, because it was so cheap ($4,200, they claimed). Now al Qaeda in Arabia is threatening to launch many more low cost attacks. Yemen, and the world, are moving to stop this senseless violence.

Yemeni counter-terrorism officials believe that Somali Islamic terror group al Shabaab has operatives in some of the Yemen refugee camps (that hold over 200,000 Somalis). Some arrests have been made, and security forces are moving to contain al Shabaab before they become a serious threat, and join forces with al Qaeda.

Over the last month, over 30,000 police and troops have been deployed in the south to protect the 20th Gulf Cup football (soccer) competition. Yemen was under pressure to cancel its hosting duties, because of the terrorism risk. But Yemen insisted it could protect the teams and fans. After six days of games, the terrorism has been kept at bay. Yemen has spent over a billion dollars to host this event, and it is a big deal to most Yemenis. While Yemen security forces have done well, the Yemeni football team has been less successful. Despite that, a lot of the angry separatist tribesmen in the south have eased up on their violence. But this is expected to change next month, when games are over. Some tribal leaders admit that al Qaeda has been paying for protection. While the tribes will almost never give up a member to the police (no matter what he did), sanctuary is optional for non-members. But al Qaeda members have a similar Islamic conservative outlook, believe the world is going to hell unless everyone is made to shape up, and pay cash for protection. The government has tried offering more to get the terrorists turned over, but this has only worked a few times. Most tribal leaders take pride in the fact that, once bought, they stay bought. This attitude is going out of style in most of the world. But in Yemen, there is still a lot of respect for tradition, honor and misogyny.

November 26, 2010:  Saudi security officials revealed that in the last eight months they had arrested 149 people (17 percent of them foreigners) as suspected al Qaeda members. The Saudis believe that al Qaeda leaders in Yemen are controlling recruiting, money raising and attack planning efforts in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been able to keep al Qaeda on the run within the kingdom, but there are still many Saudis willing to send money, or themselves, to help al Qaeda. That problem is taking longer to fix. Al Qaeda only became violent in Saudi Arabia after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. By 2006, the Islamic terrorists in Saudi Arabia were defeated, but by 2009 they had regrouped in Yemen and are trying to resume their operations against on Saudi Arabia. All the governments in Arabia (the Arabian Peninsula) are hostile to al Qaeda, but at least ten percent of the population is willing to support the Islamic radicals. Yemen is the current base area for al Qaeda because Yemen has the weakest government in Arabia. But Yemen is accepting American and Saudi aid in fighting al Qaeda. This is not good for the terrorist groups.

November 24, 2010: In the north, a suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of Shia tribesmen headed to a funeral, but killed only one mourner. Shia leaders blamed the United States and Israel for the attack, even though al Qaeda took credit for it. While Shia and Sunni Islamic radicals both hate the U.S. and Israel, they hate each other as well, so it's not always easy to decide who to be paranoid about. The Shia leaders, however, know who their real enemies are on the ground. They do, however, fear the Americans may start using missile armed UAVs against them.

November 23, 2010: In the south, one soldier was killed and two wounded by a roadside bomb.

November 21, 2010: In the north, a suicide car bomber killed 23 Shia tribesmen during a religious ceremony. Al Qaeda later took credit, and said the attack was in retaliation for Shia arresting al Qaeda men and handing them over to the government. Al Qaeda also said that the Shia religious  celebration was heretical, and that was also punishable by death.

November 19, 2010: In the capital, al Qaeda assassins, using knives, attacked an intelligence near a mosque. The colonel was only wounded, and taken to a hospital.

 

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