Gus Lubin | Apr. 1, 2011
This has been a terrifying week in Yemen, starting with the looting of an ammunition factory, massive explosions that killed 150 and Al Qaeda declaring certain provinces an Islamic emirate. It's almost enough to make you want to keep President Saleh in power.
But opposition groups say this chaos was manufactured by Saleh for the benefit of Western media.
From The Jawa Report:
After the tragedy in Abyan, Yemenis across the nation accused Saleh of playing the Al Qaeda card to spin the western media and US, a frequent practice. They say that the state fosters and deploys al Qaeda mercenaries to elicit counter-terror funds, equipment and training, which are then used against internal opposition...
The leaders of the raid on the ammo factory, Khaledabdul Nabi and Sami Dhayan, have worked for the state for years. Nabi, of the Abyan Aden Islamic Army, trained and led jihaddists into battle on behalf of the Saleh regime during the Saada Wars (2004-2010) against northern Shia rebels who claim religious discrimination. Nabi's group, not AQAP, made the radio announcement. The residents in Ja’ar formed a local security committee which now has control of the area.
The PR battle continues in Yemen today as groups compete to hold the biggest rally in Sanaa.
After accusing the state newspaper of Photoshopping a pro-regime rally, we got a first-hand taste of Yemen's adept PR. A regime spokesman emailed us dozens of photos from the rally and asked if we thought these were photoshopped.
Opposition contend the state is paying supporters to show up.