Yemen: Buying And Selling Loyalty


June 2, 2010: The large amount of foreign aid coming in has created a feeding frenzy among the tribes, who sell their loyalty for cash and other favors. There's not as much money coming in as the tribes imagine, so anger is growing, as is the violence in the south. There, the main tribal coalitions, expect to get paid for keeping quiet during the recent fighting against the Shia rebels up north. Yemen is all about the tribes. The national government is a bunch of guys who deal with foreigners, and try to maintain peace among the tribes. Controlling the national government is a source of much wealth, as officials can steal part of the foreign aid and taxes (mostly on imports or royalties from oil).

In the north, increasingly aggressive moves by Shia rebels have triggered more clashes in the last few days, leaving ten dead and dozens wounded. Most of the violence is between tribal rebels and pro-government tribesmen. Not everyone up north wants to keep fighting, but some do.

One of the economic woes has been the collapse of the tourist business. Normally, this comprises three percent of GDP, but nearly all of it has disappeared in the last two years because of terrorist attacks (that have killed tourists) and kidnappings (of tourists.)

May 29, 2010: Al Qaeda named Othman Ahmed al Ghamdi, a 31 year old Saudi, as one of the senior leaders of the terrorist group in Arabia. Two years ago, al Ghamdi was placed on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list. He was captured by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2002, and sent to Guantanamo. But he was released in 2006, and sent back to Saudi Arabia, where he underwent rehabilitation and was released. He then returned to Islamic terrorism.

May 28, 2010: In the south, there were two separate ambushes of army convoys, which left three soldiers dead and eleven wounded.

May 27, 2010: A large Yemeni fishing boat, and its nine crew, were seized by pirates, apparently for use as a mother ship (for attacks on merchant ships hundreds of kilometers at sea). In the south, tribal gunmen blocked a road from Hadramout province to the port of Aden. The tribesmen were demanding compensation (of 20 automobiles and 120 guns) for the death of civilians during a government air raid last December.

In the south, tribal rebels blasted another hole in an oil pipeline. They are doing this to pressure the government into giving them money.




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