Yemen: Firing All The Kings Men


December 27, 2012: Al Qaeda is putting more effort into its assassination campaign. Officers who specialize in intelligence work are most often the targets, and several are being attacked each, most of them being killed in the process. Al Qaeda knows that these men are crucial in finding out the identities and locations of key Islamic terrorists. This allows the armed forces to go after the al Qaeda leaders or provides an opportunity for an American UAV to kill another one. Al Qaeda is particularly worried about the UAVs, which watch them and regularly kill their leaders. Al Qaeda has tried to muster international opposition against these UAV tactics by encouraging local and foreign journalists to investigate real or invented civilian victims of the UAV attacks. Such civilian casualties are rare, but journalists are not known for their statistical skills and only want a good story (“if it bleeds it leads”).

December 25, 2012: In the east (Marib province) the army carried out raids against tribesmen believed responsible for recent bombing attacks on natural gas pipelines. The fighting left ten tribesmen and seven soldiers dead. These pipeline attacks have cost the government over a billion dollars in revenue this year. While tribal leaders got paid to keep the pipeline safe, tribal rebels refused to cooperate. Marib has long been a source of pro-al Qaeda tribesmen, even though most tribal leaders do not support the Islamic terrorists. 

December 24, 2012: In two attacks U.S. UAVs used missiles to kill eight al Qaeda members.

December 23, 2012: In Marib province the army used artillery and tank guns against areas where hostile tribesmen were staying. The tribesmen are believed responsible for attacks on natural gas pipelines.

December 21, 2012: In the capital three local tribesmen kidnapped three foreigners (two Finns and an Austrian) and took them to a town 20 kilometers east of the capital and demanded ransom.

December 19, 2012: President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi successfully removed two senior generals who were still loyal to former president Saleh. Hadi also disbanded the Republican Guard, an army unit full of Saleh supporters. The reorganization also involved SCUD ballistic missiles being removed from the control of a pro-Saleh general (a son of former president Saleh). The first Armored Division was also abolished. Former president Saleh got immunity from past crimes in return for him leaving government. But there are still a lot of Saleh supporters in the government. Some are simply tribal leaders or wealthy men who allied themselves with Saleh and can be persuaded to join another coalition. But some Saleh supporters made a lot of enemies while working with Saleh and revenge is sought.

December 18, 2012: In the port city of Mukalla, police found 180 tons of weapons and ammunition on a Bolivian ship that had stopped for food and fuel on its way to Iraq (from Serbia). The ship was seized by police until they could investigate and be sure that none of the weapons or munitions were meant to be smuggled into Yemen (as often happens).

December 16, 2012: In the south (Shabwa province) explosives were used to damage and shut down a natural gas pipeline.

December 14, 2012: In the south (Abyan province) air force warplanes bombed suspected al Qaeda fighters. This was in response to a group of al Qaeda gunmen attacking pro-government tribesmen.

December 13, 2012: Police found three tons of explosives hidden in a vehicle headed for the capital. The explosives were apparently part of an al Qaeda effort to carry out more bomb attacks in the capital.


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