Advancing Against Al Qaeda (Photo credit: Third Way)
June 18, 2012: In the last week, al Qaeda has pulled its remaining gunmen from most of the towns and villages it had been occupying for the last year. The major al Qaeda strongholds, Jaar and Zinjibar, are now occupied by police. There are no more known al Qaeda strongholds in Abyan province, which has long been the center of al Qaeda power in southern Yemen.
At its peak, al Qaeda has over 10,000 armed followers in the south. Most of these were allied tribesmen, who were seeking autonomy for their tribes and southern Yemen. The pro-terrorist tribesman eventually noted that many of their fellow southerners were hostile to al Qaeda, and that hostility spread as al Qaeda tried to impose its usual lifestyle adjustment in the few areas it took control of. Although many of the southern tribesmen are conservatives, they don’t like being pushed around by a bunch of self-righteous religious fanatics. Earlier this year the Yemeni government got rid of long-time leader (and irritant) Ali Abdullah Saleh and united the armed forces. The southern separatists and their al Qaeda allies had lost their edge. For the last few months it’s been downhill for the al Qaeda/separatist tribes’ alliance.