The government has not been able to negotiate suitable deals with all the southern tribes the oil pipelines go through. As a result, some angry tribal factions continue to bomb the pipelines and prevent the movement of oil to the coastal export terminals. This has cost the government over $4 billion in lost revenue in the last two years. The government is accusing the tribal factions who continue to bomb the pipelines of working for former president Saleh, who is believed to be trying to make a comeback by embarrassing the government that replaced him. There is still some support for Saleh among the eastern tribes but there’s a lot more desire to obtain a larger share of the oil income.
While the southern tribes still want more autonomy and a larger share of oil revenue, few want al Qaeda to return to power. In the few cities al Qaeda ran (for about a year), a savage form of Islamic justice was used on locals who resisted the adoption of strict Islamic lifestyles (no alcohol, music, videos, dancing, or shaving for men, women had to stay at home and not go to school). Al Qaeda used public punishments (amputations for thieves, whipping for many lesser offences, and crucifixion as one of the ways to execute people) to terrorize the population into submission. This worked, until the government counteroffensive weakened al Qaeda earlier this year. Then the hidden guns came out and al Qaeda found itself under fire from all sides. Al Qaeda has since fled to the rural areas, where more conservative tribesmen have little opportunity to do anything al Qaeda disapproves of and provides sanctuary for the Islamic militants. The Islamic radical movement in Yemen is largely a battle between poor, less educated, rural tribesmen having their revenge against the decadent city dwellers. It’s an old story and not just in Arabia.
December 12, 2012: In the east (Maarib province) three al Qaeda and one pro-government tribesman were killed during a clash in a village near a pipeline.
In the southeastern city of Mukalla, al Qaeda gunmen killed the deputy chief of intelligence.
December 10, 2012: The air force retaliated for the ambush of army troops on the 8th and killed four al Qaeda men in Maarib province.
December 9, 2012: In the east (Maarib province) artillery and air strikes were used to kill four al Qaeda men suspected of participating in the ambush on the 8th.
December 8, 2012: In the east (Maarib province) al Qaeda gunmen ambushed a convoy of troops sent to the area to help protect pipelines and killed 17 of them. General Nasser Naji bin Farid was among the dead.
December 7, 2012: In the southern city of Aden, prison guards discovered a tunnel being dug by 25 al Qaeda inmates. The eight meter (25 foot) long tunnel had another two meters (six feet) to go. In the last 13 months, 77 al Qaeda men have escaped from prison using tunnels or bribes to get out.
In the east (Maarib province) rebel tribesmen set off a bomb on the oil pipeline less than an hour after damage from a 2011 bomb damage was repaired. The army said it would hunt down and punish those responsible. The army knows who the attackers are and have been chasing them for weeks.
December 6, 2012: Over 20,000 people demonstrated against former president Saleh and the influence his corrupt family and followers still have in the government.
December 5, 2012: In the southeast (Shabwa province) tribesmen damaged a pipeline.
December 4, 2012: Separatist tribesmen clashed with soldiers outside the southern city of Daleh. Two soldiers, two armed tribesman, and a civilian were killed.
Believing they have reached a peace deal with the local tribes (that involves payoffs for not attacking the pipeline) repair crews began fixing the damage done by over a year of tribesmen planting bombs near the pipeline.
December 2, 2012: In the east (Maarib province) troops killed two tribesmen suspected of attacking the pipelines.
November 30, 2012: In the south (Abyan province) police arrested a major al Qaeda leader, Suleiman Hassan Mohammed Murshed Awad.