Al Kuabi turned out to be a very
senior guy, very well connected, and very useful once interrogators got
to work on him. Yemen plays down this cooperation with other Arab
countries, mainly because the Sunni Arab leaders of those nations fear
the popular appeal of al Qaeda and their suicide bomber "martyrs."
Arabs don't like the idea of democracy in Iraq, and would really like
the Sunni Arab minority there to be back in power. Al Qaeda wants that
as well, but they want a Sunni Arab religious leader running the show.
Al Qaeda also wants to take all the current Arab leaders and behead
them. This is part of al Qaeda's appeal to the average Arab. This is
also the reason for the energetic efforts by Arab governments to wipe
out al Qaeda.
Bahrain, however, publicly admitted that they had
signed a deal with Yemen to share information on terrorism, and
organized crime. That's another problem in the area. Criminal gangs
have long benefited by lax law enforcement in the region, especially if
the gang boss developed friends in government, and was a big tipper.
Controlling organized crime is right up there with suppressing Islamic
terrorism, for Gulf Arab governments.
But it's not just Arab
leaders who have serious problems with terrorists and gangsters. Bosnia
and Albania, with their large Moslem populations, are finding more
evidence of al Qaeda cells operating in their territory. West European
counter-terrorism agencies keep coming up with leads that are traced
back to Bosnia and Albania. Both nations also suffer from a surplus of
criminal gangs, and it's believed that some of the gangsters are
knowingly working with al Qaeda. Local officials insist there are no
terrorists in their back yards. There have been no attacks in the area,
but that is thought to be the result of al Qaeda realizing they have
more to gain by keeping their heads down and avoiding detection, so
they can maintain bases close to all those juicy European targets. So
far, their strategy seems to be working.
Yemen, despite having an ongoing civil war
with Islamic conservative Shia tribes on the Saudi border, plus many
Sunni Arab Yemenis being big fans of al Qaeda, has made progress
crippling terrorist operations in their territory. The recent arrest of
al Qaedas senior man in Yemen, Mubkhit Salih al Kuabi was a major
operation. More attacks on American ships were planned by al Qaeda, and
al Kuabi was sent to make it happen. Apparently, the intelligence
efforts of several Arab countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia,
were used to identify and locate al Kuabi (who was working for Iraqi al
Qaeda leader al-Zarqawi.)