Wednesday, May 2, 2012

4 Killed in Clashes between Pro-government Tribesmen, Al-Qaida in Southern Yemen

May 2, 2012
The al-Qaida militants attacked a checkpoint manned by pro-government tribesmen, sparking deadly clashes that left four people killed on Wednesday in the southern province of Abyan, a military official said.
The al-Qaida militants ambushed a checkpoint manned by pro- government tribesmen at the northern entrance of Lauder town, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, leaving at least four people killed, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
After two hours of fighting, the tribesmen managed to repulse the attack and pushed the al-Qaida militants back into their hideouts in the nearby mountains, the official said.
These al-Qaida militants were attempting to fight into the army brigade stationed just a few miles away from the targeted checkpoint, he added.
Meanwhile, a local resident in the insurgents-controlled town of Jaar, said that 10 al-Qaida militants were killed when two air strikes by Yemeni air forces pounded their training camp.
Al-Qaida spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the casualties in the air trikes.
In recent months, militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch have carried out assaults and deadly suicide bombings against government troops across lawless southern regions.
Hundreds of al-Qaida militants have built up main strongholds in the impenetrable mountains in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, seizing control over several cities in the south.
The United States branded the al-Qaida in Yemen a global threat, and has dramatically stepped up its alliance with the Yemeni government by launching air strikes against the terrorist group.

4 Yemeni soldiers wounded in renewed violence in Sana'a

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 2, 2012- A security official said that clashes erupted on Wednesday in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, between tribesmen belongs to Al-Ahmer family and Yemeni troops.
At least 4 Yemeni soldiers were wounded in the clashes took place near the Yemeni Interior Ministry headquarters.
The renewed fighting between the two groups will lead to more deaths and casualties, leaving many to fear that the worse was to come.
Last month, gunmen belong to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, a powerful tribal leader returned back to their previous sites in Hasaba, a northern district of Sana’a.
The new clashes coincided with a meeting gathered on Wednesday between Yemeni military committee and ambassadors of the GCC States, the UN Prominent Members and the EU in Sana'a reviewed the military shake-up, implementation the GCC power transfer deal and the UN Resolution 2014.
They also reviewed achievements made by units of the army backed by the public committees comprised of local tribesmen against al-Qaeda linked groups in Lawder and Zinjibar.
The committee further explained advances in the removal of armed manifestations and barracks, opening blocked roads and end of tensions.
Last Year witnessed fierce fighting between Yemeni government troops and tribesmen belonged to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, a powerful tribal leader led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.
Al-Ahmar family who for year had had its eyes on the presidential chair stood last year behind most of the protests, directing and organizing the political opposition as well as the Youth movement.

Airstrike kills 15 al-Qaeda Yemenis

Thursday May 2, 2012
An airstrike has killed 15 al-Qaeda-linked militants in their training camp in the country's south, Yemeni military officials say. The airstrike resembled earlier US drone attacks, but the US did not comment.
The officials said the air attack targeted the militants' camp north of the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan. It coincided with a Yemeni government offensive against the militants.
On Monday, 17 al-Qaeda militants were killed in a two-pronged attack by military units and civilians who took up arms against al-Qaeda south of the town of Lawder. Two civilians and a military officer were also killed in the fighting.
The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
For several weeks, the Yemeni military has been on the attack against al-Qaeda, after a year during which the militants were largely unopposed in their takeover of cities and towns in the south. This came while Yemen was preoccupied with an internal power struggle, set off by huge demonstrations against longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh that eventually led to his resignation in February
The new government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has made fighting al-Qaeda a top priority, but his drive has been hindered by resistance from cronies of Saleh, who are hanging on to key military posts and refusing to step down.
Saleh was long considered a US ally in the battle against al-Qaeda, but eventually Washington joined the chorus of opponents demanding that Saleh hand over power. The US has been active against the militants for years, tracking and striking al-Qaeda operatives with missiles.
US officials usually don't comment on airstrikes like Wednesday's, but White House counterterrorism official John Brennan acknowledged on Monday that the US carries out attacks using unmanned drone aircraft against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, with the cooperation of a local government.
Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen is considered one of its most dangerous and has been linked to several attempted attacks on US targets.
The training camp hit on Wednesday was set up around an abandoned munitions factory seized last year by the militants. Then, it exploded, killing at least 100 people. The blast was ignited when impoverished townspeople entered the factory in the aftermath to try to haul away anything of value that remained.
Al-Qaeda has held Jaar, about 250 kilometres southeast of Sanaa, for the past year. Parts of the provincial capital, Zinjibar, are also under al-Qaeda control, but government troops fought their way into the city's centre last week.

Yemen to ask for $10 billion from donors: minister

May 2, 2012
AFP - Yemen will ask donors for about $10 billion in urgent aid at a "Friends of Yemen" meeting to be held in the Saudi capital later this month, the country's planning minister said on Wednesday.
"We are talking about $10 billion that we will need for economic recovery, to stabilise the economy and the currency," Mohammed Said al-Saadi told AFP on the sidelines of a donors conference in Sanaa.
"This is just an estimate at this point," he said adding that "these figures will be discussed" even though the meeting of foreign ministers from the Gulf countries, and representatives of the United States, the European Union and the United Nations in Riyadh on May 23 will focus mainly on political aspects of Yemen's transition.
The interim transitional government is in the process of finalising an emergency plan to relaunch its shattered economy, still reeling from a year-long uprising that forced veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power.
According to the minister, the plan sets out the most "urgent priorities," including a spiralling food crisis that the United Nations estimates has affected some 10 million Yemenis.
The plan will also focus on rebuilding infrastructure, specifically electricity, water and oil products, and ensure that severely debilitated health and social services are restored, he added.
But Western diplomats at Wednesday's meeting said they were unlikely to make any financial commitments until a formal donor conference, known as the Consultative Group Meeting, to be held in early July.
According to one European diplomat, the $10 billion dollar request is also "not realistic."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomat said the problem was not that donors were unwilling to lend their support, but rather they fear Yemen's new government is ill-equipped to allocate the funds efficiently.
"The problem is the capacity of the ministries to spend the money," the diplomat said adding that donor nations are now working with the Yemeni government to "increase" that capacity.
Philippe Jacques, counsellor at the European Union's Development Cooperation in Sanaa agreed, saying the issue was not money, but rather preparedness.
"The projects are not ready," said Jacques. "You can't just have a shopping list, you also have to be prepared" to implement them.
He said a proposal for a strategic partnership with the donors put forth by the Yemenis at Wednesday's meeting was a positive step because it put the burden on the government to coordinate the donors.
"Will they be able to do it? That's the big question," he said.
Donor representatives and Yemeni officials cautioned that high expectations among Yemenis, coupled with the government's limited resources and security difficulties that are hindering access to those most in need remain a serious source of concern.
"The expectations for change are so high they cannot be fulfilled," said the diplomat who asked to remain anonymous adding that despite the dire political and economic conditions in the country, "there is still a large gap" in aid funding.

Western authorities fear militants will carry implanted bombs

Tue May 1, 2012
* Doctors working with al Qaeda said to prepare implant surgery
* Authorities respond with changes to security tactics
* Underwear bombs, implanted bombs an al-Asiri strategy
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. and allied officials said they are increasingly concerned that doctors working with al Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate will implant bombs inside living militants in order to try to circumvent airport security measures and bring down aircraft.
Earlier this year, a missile fired by a CIA-operated drone killed a Yemeni doctor who had devised medical procedures which could be used to surgically plant explosive devices in humans, several U.S. officials told Reuters.
However, another individual, the expert bomb-maker who came up with this tactic survived a similar missile attack last year. Counterterrorism agencies believe he is still engaged in active plotting against U.S. and other Western targets.
Moreover, three U.S. officials said counter-terrorism agencies report that other doctors in Yemen are prepared to surgically load bombs into the organs of militants.
The possibility of implanted bombs has been a concern for U.S. officials since at least 2009, when two incidents occurred involving militants who had spent time with leading figures of Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
In August 2009, a Saudi militant who had spent time in Yemen unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia's counter-terrorism chief, with what authorities initially believed was a bomb secreted in his anal cavity.
Authorities determined the bomb was virtually identical to a one which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian militant who had been studying Arabic in Yemen, used to try to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
Both Abdulmutallab's bomb and the bomb used in the failed attack on Nayef turned out to have been sewn into the would-be bombers' underwear, rather than implanted inside body organs or cavities.
These incidents sparked concern among U.S. and western counter-terrorism agencies that implanted bombs might be a more effective way for militants to evade airport security devices including X-ray machines and metal detectors.
After the failed attack on Prince Nayef, three U.S. agencies examined the threats which bombs secreted in clothing or inside the body could pose to aviation security.
According to U.S. officials, the research suggested that a bomb hidden inside a body cavity or organ would be less likely to jeopardize the safety of an airplane than a bomb hidden under clothing. Much of the force of the bomb would be absorbed by exploding body tissue, likely killing the bomber but causing little structural damage to an aircraft.
By contrast, the explosive force of a bomb hidden under clothing alone would be more likely to cause potentially catastrophic damage to an airplane if detonated in flight, officials said.
Officials said that in response to the possible deployment of implanted bombs, efforts were being made to adjust airport security, including the body scanners and metal detectors now used, to try to spot potential threats.
Officials said that one reason for concern is the continuing role of Saudi bomb-maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, now regarded by U.S. and European authorities as one of the more dangerous and imaginative AQAP operatives presently at large.
Counterterrorism experts attribute the original invention of the two tactics to Asiri, and it was his brother who wore the underwear bomb and died while attempting to kill Prince Nayef.
Officials acknowledge initial reports were wrong that Asiri was killed in the same sequence of drone attacks which resulted in the death last year of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant Yemeni preacher.
ABC News reported on Monday that American and European officials feared al Qaeda may soon try to attack U.S.-bound aircraft using explosives implanted in the bodies of militants. ABC reported that due to this concern, security had been stepped up at some British and European airports and some Federal Air Marshals may have been redeployed.