Yemen: Al Qaeda Comes Down From The Mountains To Play

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June 3, 2013: The government accuses the northern Shia tribes of sending several hundred of their members to Syria to fight for the Assad government. The Yemeni Shia travel to Lebanon where Hezbollah arms and organizes them for combat in Syria. The government is trying to make the case that Iran (which backs Hezbollah and the Assads) is also heavily involved in arming and subsidizing the northern Shia tribes and their fight for autonomy. The government has evidence that Iran was offering to pay Yemeni Shia tribesmen who were willing to go and fight along their fellow Shia (Hezbollah) in Syria.

Meanwhile, al Qaeda is still active in the south and is still being hunted down. Troops are having problems finding the many small groups (less than a few dozen or even just two or three terrorists) hiding out in rural villages. Some of these places are full of armed tribesmen hostile to the government and not inclined to allow an army search without a fight. So the army keeps an eye on friendlier places and depends on a lot of checkpoints to make travel difficult for the al Qaeda men. There were not enough checkpoints (or too many soldiers taking bribes) near the eastern port of Mukalla, where several hundred al Qaeda gunmen have moved into several villages and declared they are back in business. The government is sending troops and negotiating with local tribes for help (or at least no interference) dealing with this situation.

June 2, 2013: A local al Qaeda leader released an audio appeal via the Internet asking fellow Moslems to attack the United States. Nothing new here, except that al Qaeda leaders are desperate to halt the growing number of American UAV attacks. It’s literally personal and a matter of life or death for the terrorist leaders. The American UAVs, spy satellites, and manned aircraft have been watching Yemen more and more effectively and making it difficult for al Qaeda leaders to move around and communicate with their subordinates. The UAVs and spy planes can often be seen in the sky and the growing list of al Qaeda leaders killed by UAV launched missiles is bad for al Qaeda morale. Desperate for a solution, they are hoping this appeal will motivate more Moslems to make attacks inside the United States, like the April bombing in Boston. This, they believe, will persuade the United States to back off attacking al Qaeda leaders. These guys have not been paying attention but they are running out of ideas.

In the south (Shabwa province) security forces disrupted two separate attempts to bomb the natural gas pipeline. The gas goes to a liquid natural gas (LNG) facility on the coast where it is exported. This is a major source of government income and apparently the improved security measures are working.

June 1, 2013: In the south (Abyan province) American UAVs fired three missiles at an al Qaeda convoy and killed eight of the terrorists and destroyed two pickup trucks.

In the east (Hadramawt province) an al Qaeda death squad killed a senior air force officer. Over 70 similar killings have taken place in the last two years.

May 25, 2013: In the east (Hadramawt province) an al Qaeda man tossed a grenade at a checkpoint, killing a policeman and a civilian.

In the east (the port of Mukalla) a roadside bomb killed a soldier and a civilian and wounded six soldiers.

In the south (Aden) police wounded five people as they dispersed a separatist demonstration.

May 24, 2013: Someone bombed a portion of the oil pipeline going to the Red Sea terminal. It took four days to repair the damage. The bombing interrupted export of 125,000 barrels a day.

In the south (al Bayda province) al Qaeda attacked a checkpoint and were repulsed, losing three men but killing two soldiers.  

May 21, 2013: Al Qaeda gunmen began gathering in several villages near the eastern port of Mukalla. There the Islamic terrorists declared they were taking over. The government told local authorities that troops would be sent to deal with the situation.

May 20, 2013: The government sent mediators to the east (Marib) to negotiate with tribal leaders for the release of six people kidnapped in the last week. The tribal leaders took three journalists, two foreigners, and an oil company employee to get the government’s attention to the many complaints the tribe has. Some of these complaints go back several years and involve clashes between troops and tribesmen that left tribesmen dead or their property destroyed. The tribe wants adequate compensation and, in a long-established Yemeni custom, seized hostages to get negotiations going.

May 19, 2013: In the south (Abyan province) an American UAV killed four al Qaeda men with a missile.

 

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