Al Qaeda Flees

Advancing Against Al Qaeda

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.

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The Southern Movement in Yemen (Review – April 2010)

April 2010

The Southern Movement in Yemen

“Unity or death” (al-wahdah aw al-mawt) – that is the slogan written next to the picture of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh on a big poster on ‘Street Seventy’ in Sana’a. The government leaves nobody in doubt that defending the unity of Yemen is top priority. At the same time, there are regular reports about clashes between Southern Yemenis and government forces in the governorates of Lahij, Shabwah, Ad Dali’ and Abyan giving the impression that there is a growing security problem deriving from the Southern Movement with the potential to challenge the authority and legitimacy of the government in Sana’a and the unity of Yemen.

© 2010 Gulf Research Center (GRC)

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Nicole Stracke, Mohammed Saif Haidar

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