Saturday, September 3, 2011

Signs of War in Yemen

Sana'a, September 3, 2011- Last week, a senior ruling General People Congress party official announced that the regime was mobilizing its troops in preparation for a possible military confrontation with forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

Since his defection from the regime in March 2011, Mohsen has declared himself the defender of the revolution, vowing to use his position as Yemen’s most powerful military man to protect those opposed to president Saleh.

According to the GPC official website, Yemen’s intelligence services would have received confirmation that the 1st Armored Division intended to provoke the government armed forces in a bid to draw them into an all out war. Apparently this plot was hatched by a number of dissident military commanders, some tribal figures belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and some men loyal to Sheikh Abdel-Mageed al Zindani, Yemen’s powerful cleric.

“The serious aggravating plan, that the security authorities obtained some of its details, indicates that the 1st Armored Division intends to launch a sudden assault on a camp belongs to the Republican Guards Forces, located in the outskirts of Sana’a, and taking over the military equipment of the camp and locating inside it, in coordination with jihadist militias and tribesmen involved in the conflicts these are taking place in Arhab for several months,” wrote the website.

In recent weeks rumor had it that Sheikh al-Zindani who is allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, was preparing to invade Sana’a by way of the international airport. His stronghold of Arhab is only a few kilometers north of the capital, in direct alignment with its airport and the most important Republican Guards’ base in the region.

Despite daily air raids and a heavy military presence in the Arhab area, the government forces have been so far unable to quell the tribal rebellion.

Furthermore, sources from within Mohsen’s base confirmed that there had been indeed an unusual amount of activities over the past few days with a grand scale mobilization of all military personnel, the set up of new checkpoints and the relocation of some key equipment. All leaves of absence were also cancelled.

Ahmed Ali Abduallah Saleh, the president’s eldest son and Head of the Republican Guards responded to the report of such a plot by summoning troops based in Dhamar back to the capital. Eye witnesses in the town told the press that a huge army convoy was making its way towards Sana’a. Tanks and heavy military vehicles also were seen arriving to the presidential palace over the past few days.

Mohamed Qahtan, the Opposition’s spokesman also told Al-Khaleej newspaper, “the people are able to end the existence of the regime in a matter of days, if they decide to settle the issue in a military way”. He added that it was time for Saleh’s clan to make a quick exit if they did not want to “face the people”.

Qahtan’s statement is maybe his strongest yet.

The JMP spokesman went one step further in his demands when he requested the surrender of “the boys”, while referring to Saleh’s sons, warning them that if they did not, they would “face the flood of the revolution which will sweep them and end their usurpation.

He ended his interview with the paper by saying that although he wished for the settlement of the revolution to happen peacefully, he and those opposed to the regime would not hesitate to use force if Saleh refused to step down. “The situation in Yemen has matured enough, waiting has lasted enough and the Yemeni wisdom has taken its ample fortune.”

Residents around 60th street where for the past few months protesters have been camping out, told Yemen Post that the tents had been removed, replaced by armed men loyal to General Mohsen al Ahmar or Sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar.

And although no bullet has been shot yet, many Sana’a residents are bracing themselves as they feel that an armed confrontation is most likely to happen.

Source: Yemen Post

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