Friday, June 8, 2012

Al Qaeda Losses Its War In The South

June 8, 2012:
Al Qaeda has lost its war in the south. For much of the past year, thousands of pro-al Qaeda gunmen and armed foreigners held several large towns and cities in the south. This forced many tribes to take sides and most lined up against the "foreign" al Qaeda. The tribes have long resisted giving up power to the national government, and there is great hostility towards the many foreigners showing up to support al Qaeda. The last four weeks have seen al Qaeda take heavy losses and get pushed out of much territory it has controlled for over a year. As a result of these setbacks al Qaeda has reverted back to suicide bombings. Lacking much conventional firepower, al Qaeda keeps its name in the news with suicide bombings. This form of combat has long been popular in the Arab world, but decades of use for failed causes (especially in Iraq) has made it more difficult to recruit men to carry out the bombings. Al Qaeda has been using the Internet more heavily to for young men willing to kill themselves for the cause. This campaign is also aimed at Moslems living in the West, who have not been as enthusiastic about Islamic terrorism as al Qaeda had hoped.
Al Qaeda in Yemen still has tribal allies, and that means there are remote villages, and urban neighborhoods, where al Qaeda can operate from. But these sanctuaries are less secret, and more often under attack as the Americans move in with their intelligence resources (UAVs and electronic monitoring) that work in cooperation with Yemeni agents on the ground. The Americans have acquired a lot of experience over the last decade working in tribal and Islamic environments. The Americans know what to look for and they are quickly finding the al Qaeda leaders and key technicians, and killing them.
A year of violence by pro and anti-al Qaeda tribal militias in the south has disrupted the economy and transportation system and left several million people short of food for months at a time. While foreign food aid is available, sufficient bribes or political clout to get the trucks past roadblocks is not. The government forces and pro-government tribes consider the al Qaeda held towns as under siege and starvation a legitimate weapon. Some food does get through, mainly for the al Qaeda fighters. Most of the starvation is suffered by women and children.
The fighting has mainly been in the south and has been causing over a hundred casualties a day for the last week. Most of the dead and wounded are al Qaeda, who are being hit by artillery, bombs and missiles (some from American UAVs) as well as gunfire from ground level.
The country is still a mess, with political and tribal disputes, a failed economy and a growing water shortage. While al Qaeda makes itself popular by sharing scarce resources more equitably (at least among its allies), economic rebuilding, using billions of dollars in aid pledged by Gulf Arab oil states, cannot start working until al Qaeda is crushed and pushed back into the background (and back country.) That may take as long as a year to finish.
June 7, 2012:  In southern Abyan province, the scene of most of the fighting in the last year, 30 people were killed in fighting around al Qaeda held towns. Most (25) of the dead were al Qaeda.
June 6, 2012: In the south, at least 23 died in several incidents of violence involving al Qaeda. Most (17) of the dead were al Qaeda.
June 5, 2012: There was a flare up in violence in the north, between Shia tribesmen and government forces. This has caused over a hundred casualties in the last few days. The Shia tribes want more autonomy, but there are also old feuds with pro-government Sunni tribes and the action often gets very violent.
June 4, 2012: Troops have pushed al Qaeda out of most of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, in the last few weeks. Fighting continues as al Qaeda diehards, trapped in the city, prefer death to surrender.
May 31, 2012: One al Qaeda faction in Abyan province released 27 soldiers it had captured over the last year. This was seen as a peace gesture by al Qaeda fighters who do not want to fight to the death. Plus, it was apparently becoming more difficult to feed the prisoners and protect them from rescue attempts.
In Abyan province, a U.S. UAV killed 11 Islamic radicals with a missile strike on a house. 
May 30, 2012: In southeastern al Baydah province, over a hundred al Qaeda gunmen roared into a town they had briefly held last year and briefly fought with troops before fleeing. Four attackers and three soldiers were killed.

23 Al Qaeda-linked militants killed in Yemen

June 8, 2012
PanARMENIAN.Net - Yemeni officials say at least 23 Al Qaeda-linked militants have been killed in fighting in the country's south, AP reported.
The confrontations come during Yemen's campaign to retake parts of the south from Al Qaeda following a year of internal turmoil.
Military officials say Al Qaeda militants tried to storm a small town north of the group's stronghold of Jaar in Abyan province on Thursday. Armed civilians along with soldiers backed by artillery fought off the Al Qaeda militants, officials said. At least 20 were killed in the battle
Also in the south, warplanes bombed a vehicle suspected to belong to Al Qaeda on the road between Jaar and another Al Qaeda stronghold — Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, killing three militants.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Al-qaeda advertises online seeking bombers

June 7, 2012
London: Advertisements have appeared on several jihadist web forums with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula offering training for suicide bombers to target the US, Israel and France, a media report said today.
The advertisements ask for volunteers to get in touch via e-mail with details about their own experience and proposed targets, and were posted on a variety of jihadist forums, including Al-Fidaa, Shmoukh al-Islam and Honein.
"The aim of this training is to continue with our brothers who are seeking to carry out operations that make for great killing and slaughtering of the enemies of Islam," the advertisement attributed to Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
"It is clear now that the individual jihad, or what is called the lone wolf, has become more widespread and its features have started showing , in summary, it is a complete jihadist operation to be carried out by a single bomber," the ad said.
The ad said that the targets of the attacks were "those who are fighting the Muslims and Islam" and specifically pointed to "economic, military and media interests of the enemy." "Their identity must be, according to priority, American, Israeli, French and British," the ad said of the volunteers.
Al-Qaeda and its regional offshoots often use jihadist Internet forums to post statements claiming responsibility for attacks, and to communicate with followers. A number of top al-Qaeda leaders have been killed in the US drone strikes recently. On Monday al-Qaeda's second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan. Al-Libi was targeted in a pre-dawn US drone strike in North Waziristan, a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold along the Afghan border. (PTI)