Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 142

By Katherine Zimmerman  July 11, 2012
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Today’s suicide bombing in Sana’a, the second in two months, underscores the challenges faced by the country’s nascent government in restoring stability and security in Yemen. Last month, Yemeni security forces regained control of southern regions held by Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP’s ability to conduct asymmetrical attacks has not been significantly reduced, however.

A suicide bomber attacked Yemen’s Police Academy in Sana’a, the capital. The attack occurred at 1:30pm local time in Sana’a when the police cadets were coming out of class. At least nine people were killed in the blast, according to Yemen’s Interior Ministry. Some sources are reporting that over 22 people were killed. In May, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) targeted troops rehearsing a military parade in Sana’a, killing close to one hundred soldiers.

Yemeni security officials have been targeted by car bombs. In the past week, at least two assassination attempts have been made in Sana’a: a bomb planted in the car of Lt. Col. Mohammed al Qudami, an intelligence officer, killed him on July 2, and two days later, Saleh al Mustafa, the police chief in Mathbah neighborhood in Sana’a, exited his vehicle moments before a car bomb detonated. The attacks are similar to targeted assassinations carried out by AQAP in the past.

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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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US military and intelligence in Yemen shows Obama’s expansion of war

United States Joint Special Operations Command...
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Published January 29, 2010

The collaboration with Yemen provides the starkest illustration to date of the Obama administration’s efforts to ramp up counterterrorism operations, including in areas outside the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. Efforts in Yemen have resulted in more than two dozen ground raids and airstrikes.  Obama also has sent U.S. military forces briefly into Somalia.  He has embraced the notion that the most effective way to kill or capture members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates is to work closely with foreign partners, including those with feeble democracies, shoddy human rights records and weak accountability over the vast sums of money Washington is giving them to win their continued participation in these efforts.  Targeted killing of US citizens abroad is part of the discussion.

Washington Post, January 27,  2010

U.S. military teams, intelligence deeply involved in aiding Yemen on strikes

By Dana Priest

U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials. Continue reading