Yemen: Al Qaeda Scrambles To Survive

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June 18, 2013: The leader of AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) called on Moslems worldwide, and especially those in the United States, to carry out more attacks in America. The April attack (in Boston, that killed three) was cited as a good example. The AQAP leader called for attacks that killed more people and did not dwell on the fact that the two Chechen refugees who carried out the attack were killed or captured in a few days.

AQAP, which formed in 2009, when al Qaeda was effectively driven out of Saudi Arabia after losing a war with the government triggered by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, has suffered heavy losses in the last year. AQAP formed in 2009, after the remnants of the Saudi al Qaeda organization (several thousand full and part time members) fled to Yemen and merged with the al Qaeda organization there. AQAP benefited from hundreds of Iraqi al Qaeda members who arrived after the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-8. Growing unrest in Yemen (against a long-time dictatorship) enabled AQAP to recruit locally and take over several towns in the south by 2011. Then the government launched a counteroffensive last year that hurt AQAP very badly. That offensive continues, along with the growing use of American UAVs in Yemen. At the same time there are few other places for defeated al Qaeda men to flee to. The sanctuary in Mali was destroyed earlier in the year by a French led offensive. The sanctuary in Pakistan (North Waziristan) is hostile to al Qaeda and mainly for local Islamic terrorists. Surviving al Qaeda men are increasingly operating in isolation and under heavy attack. Sometimes, as is happening now in Syria, they attack each other.

GDP grew 4.8 percent last year (to $32.2 billion) but inflation is on the rise again to 14 percent (it had peaked at 25 percent in 2011). Oil exports fell 17 percent last year, largely because of attacks on the pipelines. Oil accounts for over 80 percent of exports value.

June 15, 2013: In the north two foreign aid workers were kidnapped. Soldiers were sent after the kidnappers and freed the two captives the next day.

June 13, 2013: Someone bombed a portion of the oil pipeline going to the Red Sea terminal. The pipeline had been bombed several times in May. These bombings interrupt the export of 125,000 barrels a day. Later in the day a soldier was killed while escorting a repair crew to the site of the pipeline break. Repairs began before the day ended.

June 11, 2013: A Dutch couple, working in the capital, were kidnapped. There was no immediate claim of credit.

June 10, 2013: In the southeast (Hadramawt province) advancing troops arrested six al Qaeda men, including a local terrorist leader. Elsewhere in Hadramawt, two soldiers were killed during an attack on an al Qaeda held farm. An army offensive against al Qaeda began in Hadramawt and Marib provinces last week.

June 9, 2013: In the north (Al Jawf province) an American UAV killed five al Qaeda men near the Saudi border. In the capital ten demonstrators were killed and 38 wounded when the protest (demanding the release of Shia prisoners) turned violent.

June 5, 2013: Al Qaeda revealed that it is holding a South African couple kidnapped on May 27th by tribesmen trying to settle a land dispute. Taking hostages is considered a good way to get the government to agree with you. But sometimes the tribesmen sell the captives to Islamic terrorists, who will demand more for the release of the hostages. The terrorists, unlike the tribesmen, will often kill their captives if demands are not met.

The army launched an offensive in Hadramawt and Marib provinces in an effort to drive al Qaeda out of several villages and to raid known al Qaeda bases. In the first day these operations left seven terrorists and three security personnel dead. In the east (Marib province) troops raided an al Qaeda safe house and killed two senior al Qaeda men and captured a third. Also seized were suicide vests and bomb making equipment. At least one army brigade was involved in this operation.

 

 

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