Yemen: Deals With The Devil

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March 31, 2014:  Foreign aid donors are demanding that Yemen make some key changes if they want the aid money to keep coming. In particular the donors want the government to curb the practice of maintaining thousands of phantom workers on the government payroll so that senior officials can take the money for themselves. This sort of thing has long been considered a fringe benefit for those in power. The donors also want the subsidies on fuel to be cut as well because this is expensive and the source of much stealing by government officials. Donors believe that much aid money is wasted because of the corrupt practices and often does not do the general population much good at all. Another problem with all the corruption and illegal business deals is that a small number of tribal leaders benefit from all this and have private armies to help them resist government efforts to reform. Some of these tribal leaders even support al Qaeda because they and the Islamic terrorists both want government power curbed. Of course al Qaeda is also opposed to corruption, but first things first. Meanwhile foreign aid analysts believe that at least 60 percent of Yemenis need economic help in the form of food and other essentials. Water, food and power shortages, as well as growing unemployment make life miserable for most Yemenis.

In the south low level combat continues against Islamic terrorists and tribal separatists. This mostly consists of a few Islamic terrorists or separatist tribesmen firing on patrols and then moving quickly out of the area. Troops will also fire on crowds of separatist tribesmen who say they are just demonstrating but are usually carrying weapons (which is illegal now but done anyway by concealing a pistol or assault rifle under your clothing.) Al Qaeda continues to use death squads to kill key intelligence officials, who are believed to be providing the Americans with data on the location of terrorist leaders. There are fewer car bombs and suicide bombers in general because of losses the Islamic terrorist groups have suffered. The UAV attacks have killed a lot of the skilled bomb makers.

March 30, 2014: In the south (Abyan province) al Qaeda ambushed and killed two pro-government militiamen. The pro-government tribesmen are much hated by al Qaeda because these tribesmen know the back country well and that makes it harder to for al Qaeda men to stay hidden.

March 28, 2014: In the south (Dalea province) a raid on an al Qaeda occupied apartment left two Islamic terrorists and a soldier dead.  

March 25, 2014: In the capital police raided the hideout of kidnappers and arrested them and freed an Italian man they had recently taken. Kidnapping foreigners for ransom has become increasingly common because it’s one way to get rich quick (and get out of Yemen).

March 24, 2014: In the south (Hadramout) a surprise al Qaeda attack on a checkpoint at night left at least twenty soldiers dead.

March 23, 2014: In the north Shia tribesmen blocked a main road to protest a clash the day before when Shia tribesmen on their way to a demonstration were told at an army checkpoint they could not proceed with their weapons. That led to a gun battle that left eight of the tribesmen, two soldiers and two nearby civilians dead.

March 18, 2014: In the south (Aden) a car bomb went off outside a military intelligence compound leaving one dead and 13 wounded.  Elsewhere in the south (Lahej province) a similar car bomb went off in front of another army compound leaving four people wounded.

March 17, 2014: Some 15 kilometers north of the capital hundreds of armed Shia tribesmen agreed to move back north. The Shia tribes were unhappy with a recent peace proposal that would have divided the country into six federal regions and left the Shia tribes with too small and isolated (according to the Shia) an area. So thousands of armed Shia tribesmen have been moving on the capital for more than a month and over 150 people were killed in the process. The army and allied tribes halted the advance north of the capital and convinced the Shia that they would take heavy losses if they tried to advance any further. So the Shia, or most of them, were persuaded to withdraw in return for concessions to be decided later. The Shia had planned to lay siege to the capital and force the government to give them more territory and access to the sea. This last point is important for the Shia who receive all sort of aid (legal and otherwise) from Iran.

March 16, 2014: In the south (Shabwa province) as many as five Islamic terrorists died when a car they were fitting out with a large bomb went off prematurely.

March 14, 2014:  Shia tribesmen continue to move south towards the capital. This and related violence has left at least 40 soldiers or Shia and Sunni tribesmen dead in the past week. The army is massing troops to block the Shia advance.

March 10, 2014: In the east (Marib province) an American UAV used missiles to kill four Islamic terrorists travelling in two vehicles. This was the fourth such attack this month.

March 8, 2014:  Police revealed that in 2013 they seized 76,652 illegal weapons as a result of new laws that restricted ownership and use (like carrying them anywhere) of weapons. The 2013 seizures included 69,255 pistols, 7,378 rifles and 19 machine guns. Also seized were 533 explosive devices. Despite this quite recent effort to reduce the number of weapons in Yemen, a recent survey found that 61 percent of homes had at least one weapon. Yemen is also home to some major weapons dealers (not all of them legal) who maintain enormous stocks of weapons and ammo. Tribal chiefs also tend to keep large quantities of guns and ammo, just in case. Thus it is estimated that while Yemen has 23 million people, there are over 30 million weapons.

In the south (Abyan province) four Islamic terrorists, some of them wearing explosive vests, were killed when they entered a military compound. Two soldiers also died.

March 6, 2014: In the south (Hadramout) al Qaeda executed (by firing squad) one of their own men who was accused to being a spy for the Americans. The dead body was then left in a sports stadium with a large sign describing his sins. Al Qaeda has been hurt badly by all the UAV surveillance and missile attacks and is always looking for spies who report to the Americans where terrorist leaders and key people (like bomb makers) will be so they can be attacked with missiles. Many of the “spies” are innocent (at least of spying) but are falsely accused because it’s good for morale if the Islamic terrorists can show they are seeking out, finding and punishing spies.

March 5, 2014: In the north (al Jawf province) an American UAV used missiles to kill two Islamic terrorists.

In the north the government began negotiating with the Shia tribes that have been advancing on the capital because of a dispute over the new constitution.

 

 

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