Friday, March 9, 2012

Yemen won't negotiate with terrorists

March. 9, 2012
SANAA, Yemen, March 9 (UPI) -- The Yemeni government won't release prisoners to secure the safety of al-Qaida hostages, a security official said.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, is said to be threatening the lives of more than 70 troops in an effort to secure the release of al-Qaida prisoners.
A government security official was quoted by CNN on condition of anonymity as saying that the government wasn't bowing to the demands of terrorists.
"We will work on freeing the soldiers being held by the militants but only by reasonable means," the official said. "The government will not set free any militants. This will only make the terror crisis even worse."
AQAP was allegedly behind the deaths of some 200 troops in Yemen this week.
Yemen is in the early stages of a political transition period. Yemeni President Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi took control over the country after long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned as part of a deal meant to end a political conflict in the country.
Yemen's security problems are compounded by a Shiite rebellion in the north and a separatist campaign in the south, where AQAP remains active.

Houthis kills seven government soldiers in Ameran Province

By Fatik Al-Rodaini
SANA'A, March 9, 2012- At least seven people were killed on Wednesday, among them a high-ranking military commander in Yemen's northern province of Ameran in an exchange of gunfire with Houthi group.
Sources said that the exchange of gunfire took place in Harf Safyan district, Ameran province, north of Sana'a, when the head of an army brigade and six of his bodyguards refused to stop at an armed checkpoint set up by the Houthis, killing the officer and his bodyguards along with three Houthis.
The attacks against Yemeni government troops by Houthi elements in Yemen's northern province of Sa'ada were always one of the several reasons that caused the previous six wars. Houthis mainly control the far northern province of Sa'ada but recently they have expanded their grip over some parts of Hajjah, Al-Jawf, and Amran provinces.
Two weeks ago the Houthi group was hit by a bomb blast during an anti-U.S. protest wounding at least 22 people. The group accused in a statement the United States of standing behind the attack. However Houthis have their real enemies and they are prime targets for AQAP and Sunni groups, who have a difference ideological, intellectual and doctrinal with the group.
The Shiite rebels led by Saada-based Abdulmalik Al-Houthi opposed the political-settlement deal that swore in the country's consensus President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and ended almost a year of protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In recent months, the region has seen bouts of fighting between the Houthis and Sunni Muslims espousing puritanical Salafi doctrines influential in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have accused Riyadh of arming their foes. Sunnis make up nearly 60 percent of Yemen’s population, while the Shiites account for 40 percent.
The Houthi-led rebels have been engaging in severe sectarian conflicts for several months with Sunni fundamentalists in Saada and neighboring provinces of Hajja and Jawf that left hundreds of people killed and forced thousands of residents to flee their villages.
Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and rebels. The government has been accusing the rebels of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the Yemeni revolution in 1962 that created the Yemeni republic.
Here is a timeline tracing clashes in the north since 2004:
2004 June-August - Government troops battle supporters of dissident cleric Hussein al-Houthi in the north; estimates of the dead range from 80 to more than 600.
2004 August - Court sentences 15 men on terror charges, including bombing of Limburg tanker in 2002.
2004 September - Government says its forces have killed dissident cleric Hussein al-Houthi, the leader of a revolt in the north.
2005 March-April - More than 200 people are killed in a resurgence of fighting between government forces and supporters of the slain rebel cleric Hussein al-Houthi.
2005 May - President Saleh says the leader of the rebellion in the north has agreed to renounce the campaign in return for a pardon. Minor clashes continue.
2005 July - Police and witnesses say at least 36 people are killed across the country in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting about a cut in fuel subsidies.
2005 December - More than 60 people are killed when a landslide destroys a mountain village around 20km from Sanaa.
2006 March - More than 600 followers of slain Shia cleric Hussein al-Houthi who were captured following a rebellion he led in 2004 are released under an amnesty.
2007 January-March - Scores are killed or wounded in clashes between security forces and al-Houthi rebels in the north.
2007 June - Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi accepts a ceasefire.
2008 January - Renewed clashes between security forces and rebels loyal to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.
2009 June - Nine foreigners are abducted in remote Saada region. The bodies of three are later found. The fate of the remaining six hostages remains unclear, though local rebels deny responsibility.
2009 August - The Yemeni army launches a fresh offensive against Shia rebels in the northern Saada province. Tens of thousands of people are displaced by the fighting.
2009 October - Clashes break out between the northern rebels and Saudi security forces along the two countries' common border. The rebels accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting the Yemeni government in attacks against them. The Saudi government denies this.
2009 November - Saudi Arabia says it has regained control of territory seized by Yemeni rebels in a cross-border incursion.
2010 February - Government signs ceasefire with northern rebels.
2010 March - Northern rebels release 178 captives after the government accuses the Shia Houthi group of failing to comply with the terms of the truce reached in February.
2010 December - Yemen says 3,000 soldiers killed in recent outbreak of fighting involving Houthi rebels.

Al Qaeda announces death of Yemeni commander, terror monitoring group says

March 9, 2012
(CNN) -- Al Qaeda announced the death of a regional commander in Yemen, whom the group described as one of "its sheikhs of jihad and support," according to an online terror monitoring group.
Mohamed Ahmed al-Haniq, a commander in the volatile Yemeni district of Arhab, died Sunday from an illness, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula announced Thursday on jihadist forums. The announcement was picked up by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terror-related websites.
AQAP described al-Haniq as one of the terror group's "wise men" and praised him as "one of its sheikhs of jihad and support," SITE said.
Al-Haniq was wanted by Yemeni authorities for attacks against its security forces.
He was believed to be behind terrorist threats in 2010 that forced the temporary closure of the British and U.S. embassies in the capital city of Sana'a.
Reconstructing al Qaeda's printer bomb
Al-Haniq proved an elusive figure for Yemeni authorities, who saw him slip through their hands last year during clashes between the AQAP group and anti-terrorism units, according to reports at the time by SABA, Yemen's state-run news agency.
In recent years, there were a number of conflicting claims and reports that al-Haniq had either been captured or killed.
The New York Times described al-Haniq as "an important tribal leader in the mountainous area," saying he was an example of how AQAP relied on traditions of loyalty to the tribe and the practice of granting protection to those who seek the tribe's hospitality.
AQAP also said al-Haniq's two sons were killed in terror campaigns. His eldest son, Omar, was killed in Iraq and another son, Nuruddin, was killed in a joint American-Yemeni airstrike, SITE said.
The announcement follows news that AQAP took responsibility for attacks that killed more than 180 Yemeni troops in recent days.
The attacks on the outskirts of Zunjubar in the province of Abyan were considered the bloodiest launched against Yemeni forces in recent days in which an estimated 200 troops were killed in three provinces.
A delegation from the Yemen Military Committee, the highest security authority in the country, reached Abyan on Wednesday as part of the investigation into how al Qaeda scored constant victories over the past week in the province.
Yemen's new president, Abdurabu Hadi, has vowed to fight al Qaeda and retake areas of Abyan seized by the militants.

UN says Yemen violence forcing families to flee

Friday, March 9, 2012
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A U.N. body says Yemeni civilians are fleeing their homes because of tribal clashes in the north and battles between the military and al-Qaida militants in the south.
It says altogether, half a million Yemenis have been displaced by conflicts.
The office of the U.N.'s High Commissioner on Refugees says in the past two weeks, 1,800 people have fled their homes in the south.
Earlier, 150,000 people were forced out of their homes in the south during a year of political turmoil that has emboldened al-Qaida.
UNHCR says that north of the capital Sanaa, tribal clashes have displaced some 52,000 people over the past three months.
The UNHCR statement Friday said 314,000 Yemenis have been displaced in the north because of a conflict involving Shiite Houthi rebels.