Perhaps a hundred or more al Qaeda men have fled to Egypt’s Sinai desert, where a weak police presence and heavily armed smugglers (who move drugs and people into Israel) have created a refuge for all sorts of illegal groups. One thing al Qaeda men are fleeing is the growing number of U.S. UAV missile attacks, as well as the increase use of UAVs for surveillance. There were 53 such attacks last year (killing 193 terrorists and 35 civilians), compared to 18 (81 dead and no civilians) in 2011.
The use of UAVs continues to increase and al Qaeda is desperate to get the UAVs operations to stop. Many of the al Qaeda men in Yemen came from Pakistan, where UAVs have been diligently tracking and killing Islamic terrorists for years. Foreign terrorists in Pakistan have been fleeing this sort of attention and now find themselves facing it again in Yemen. Al Qaeda has tried to use terror to get the UAVs to go away. Threats against the government have not worked because, unlike the previous Saleh government, the new one is not willing to make deals with al Qaeda. Threats to the Americans have not worked either, as the U.S. has been seeking a free hand to deal with Islamic terrorists in Yemen since al Qaeda heavily damaged a U.S. warship in Aden harbor and killed 17 American sailors 13 years ago.
While al Qaeda has been defeated in the south, they are not eliminated. Hundreds of al Qaeda members have taken refuge in remote villages and they still seek to carry out bombing and shooting attacks. The southern tribes, even the pro-government ones, are still unhappy with the government. The post-Saleh rulers have not brought a lot of changes to the south (other than months of violence as the army eliminated al Qaeda rule in several cities and portions of the countryside). The government has little money, and that is largely because some southern tribes continue to attack oil installations. This oil, while a pittance compared to what is pumped by the Persian Gulf nations, provides most of the cash the government has to play with. Yemen still has enormous economic problems and the corruption is still there. This scares off a lot of foreign donors and investors.
January 10, 2013: In the south (Abyan province) al Qaeda gunmen killed a tribal chief, apparently because the man (Al Mullah Zabahra) was often called in to negotiate disputes between al Qaeda and local tribes or the government. Apparently al Qaeda felt Zabahra was not as pro-terrorist as he should be.
A pipeline near the Red Sea was bombed again, only ten days after it was restored to service after an earlier bomb attack. This is the main oil export pipeline to a Red Sea terminal. The government has lost over $4 billion from these attacks over the last two years. Local tribesmen responsible for the attacks want more money from the government in return for peace. Negotiations have failed to settle this matter and troops have been unsuccessful as well.
January 9, 2013: In Dubai (on the Red Sea coast) police arrested several Islamic terrorists and found they were in touch with al Qaeda in Yemen.
January 7, 2013: In and around the capital a three day police campaign to seize vehicles used in al Qaeda assassinations resulted in taking 500 unregistered motorbikes and 70 cars into custody. Also taken were more than fifty weapons (assault rifles and pistols). Last year al Qaeda assassins on motorbikes killed 40 government officials (mainly intelligence experts) and four civilians. But there are over 200,000 motorbikes in Yemen, most of them unregistered.
January 3, 2013: An American UAV used missiles to kill three al Qaeda men in Al Bayda province. This is the fifth attack since December 24th, leaving at least 14 al Qaeda men dead and many more afraid to go out.
December 31, 2012: In the capital police found and disabled four bombs found in a large market.
December 29, 2012: Al Qaeda went on the Internet and offered a large reward for anyone who can kill the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. The reward is to be paid in gold (three kilograms, worth $160,000 at current prices). Cash (type of currency not specified) rewards ($23,300) are being offered for each American soldier in Yemen who is killed. The U.S. responded by increasing security for the ambassador and U.S. troops in the country (training Yemeni security forces).
An American UAV used missiles to kill three al Qaeda men in Al Bayda province.
December 28, 2012: An American UAV used missiles to kill six al Qaeda men in Hadramawt province.