April 22, 2014

Hammer Time: AQ Chief Bombmaker Killed

Al Qaeda's chief bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is thought to be behind the design that went into the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk "Crispy Crotch" Abdulmutallab's, undetectable explosives. And we know how that "ingenious design" turned out? Sure, it had no metal parts and therefore could be easily passed through airline security but we're not half glass empty around here. Half glass full: the wearer now sings soprano and no one else was hurt.

I know, it's easy to laugh at al-Asiri and part of me says "hey, we should have let this guy live and keep blowing up more jihadis" if not for the likelihood that he would probably have kept improving the design of this and other devices over time. When the other side has no regard for human life, including the lives of their own foot soldiers, then failures like Abdulmutallab are viewed as human experiments in the furtherance of jihadi science. It's all fun and games as they prematurely detonate themselves all the way up until the point that they don't.

In any event, the other notable thing here is that al-Asiri and the 54 other jihadis killed in Yemen weren't droned -- a US special forces team took them out the old fashioned way. It's an interesting development. Since bin Laden was killed by SEALs a few years ago I can only think of one other time (offhand) that we've gone with boots on the ground rather than drones in the sky. That would be the SEAL raid last year into a Somali village which was nixed before the target was achieved. Am I missing any others?

Al-Asiri has been reported as killed before -- the last time in a drone strike -- but it turned out to be a false alarm. This time, at least if MSM reports are to believed, the remains were identified. The operators behind the hit are reported to have brought dogs with them to help them search through the hit zone and find remains, apparently to aid in identifying the targets. But maybe we got lucky and the dogs found survivors? Too bad Obama shut down our Black Sites and got rid of anything approaching harsh interrogation.

It's not clear that al-Asiri was even the primary target, for included among the dearly departed was also Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who just last week showed up in a propaganda video talking to close to one hundred jihadis in Yemen. And if we just killed 55 bad guys ... Let's see here, 100 - 55 = time to dig deep into the bench and go to al Qaeda's third stringers.

INN:

Reports indicate that a massive US military operation in Yemen on Saturday and Sunday killed well over 55 Al Qaeda terrorists. Among the dead reportedly is Ibrahim al-Asiri, the chief bombmaker of the terrorist organization.

A 4x4 truck which the 32-year-old al-Asiri was thought to be in was ambushed by US special forces over the weekend, according to the Daily Mail.

The US special forces, who were dropped in by helicopter, reportedly took position by the road and waited for the truck to arrive before showering it with a hail of bullets. While the occupants managed to fire back, all were killed in the barrage.

Now is the time at the Jawa that we dance!

Thanks to Atomic Veteran.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:40 AM | Comments |

April 02, 2014

Al Qaeda Attacks Yemen Army HQ

At least 20 dead:

Al-Qaeda attacked a Yemeni army headquarters in a heavily patrolled district of Aden on Wednesday, sparking a gun battle that killed 20 people, most of them militants, officials said.

The building targeted is located in the supposedly tightly secured coastal district of Tawahi that hosts intelligence and political police headquarters, a naval base and a presidential residence.

"We have regained control of the situation," an army official told AFP, adding that the fighting went on for several hours.

Ten of the assailants were killed, along with a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives-laden car at an entrance to the base, the official said.

Unfortunately 6 soldiers were also killed and 3 civilians.

File under: al Qaeda on the run.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:13 PM | Comments |

November 08, 2013

Your Friday Night Drone Strike

It's in Yemen, but this reminds me of a roundtable discussion I heard on NPR this week that I forgot to blog about. They were complaining about drone strikes in Pakistan, innocent civilians, yada, yada. But the one expert commented that the drone strikes were actually pretty popular in the "tribal regions". It seems the locals like it when the Taliban and al Qaeda types get droned.

You know who doesn't like it? Pakistani nationalists (sovereignty!), Islamists (kuffar!), and American Leftists:

Drone strikes in southern Yemen killed five suspected al Qaeda militants, the country's interior ministry said Friday, as fighting between rebels and ultraconservative Sunnis raged on in the north.

Two strikes killed the suspects Thursday in Abyan province, while a third left no casualties, the ministry said.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:46 PM | Comments |

September 16, 2013

Remember When Jesus Turned to the Thief and Said, "Cut off his hand!"?

Busy day for me, including two midterms I had to give. Then my wife's minivan had a flat -- which pissed me off, because I had the same flat tire "fixed" on Saturday. So I took it back to the shop today, all ready to chew them out (I had the whole thing rehearsed) when, lo and behold: it was a different hole in the tire!

Ugh. I hate when that happens.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw out a little red meat. AFP:

A Yemeni court on Sunday ordered the amputation of the right hand and left foot of a man convicted of robbery, the official Saba news agency said.

The court in Sanaa found Abdulrahman al-Juri guilty of attacking a man and robbing a sum of cash he was transporting in a vehicle belonging to a money exchange firm, Saba reported.

Amputation of limbs is a punishment stipulated by sharia, or Islamic law for robbery.

Hat tip: Uh ... I forget. Sorry. I had the tab open almost all day and just never got around to posting it.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:15 PM | Comments |

September 12, 2013

Sick: 8 Yr Old Child Bride Dead After Raped on Wedding Night

At least Muhammad had the class to wait until Aisha was nine before he molested her:

An eight-year-old child bride has died in Yemen of internal bleeding sustained during her wedding night after being forced to marry a man five times her age, activists have claimed....

Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled that law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.

I don't care about your "culture". I don't care about your "religion". When you think it's a good idea to have sex with a prepubescent girl you are a pervert. You should die, not her.

Thanks to Uptight

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:26 AM | Comments |

August 30, 2013

I Love the Smell of Drone Strikes in the Morning

Al Qaeda don't surf:

Qayid al-Dhahab, chief of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in al-Bayda province, was killed along with two of his bodyguards by missiles of a US drone this morning," Xinhua quoted the provincial security official as saying.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:47 AM | Comments |

August 29, 2013

Al Qaeda Murders Another Suspected Gay Dude in Yemen

I have a better way detecting who is gay in Yemen: if they're in al Qaeda, they're gay:

"Armed Al-Qaeda suspects on a motorbike opened fire on 29-year-old Salem Ahmed Hasan in a market in Huta," capital of the southern province of Lahj, the official said, adding the man died immediately.

He said the man was targeted because the attackers thought he was a homosexual.

Another four men have been killed in similar attacks on supposedly "gay"

Seriously: members of al Qaeda are all gay. All the way gay.

Someone translate that into Arabic and send it to Yemen.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:05 PM | Comments |

August 13, 2013

Drone Strikes in Yemen are "Inward"?

I saw this over at Instapundit and am a bit mystified. In a discussion on what the GOPs stance on national security Glenn Reynolds says that it's not a choice between Reaganesque strength and Carteresque weakness. Okay, that's fine. But then he throws in this:

And, more importantly, a lot of the stuff being done in the name of national security — like drone strikes on American citizens, or mass-spying (and mass-lying) by the NSA, FBI, et al.– is stuff that aims inward, at Americans.
Uh, drone strikes in Yemen are aimed, "inward, at Americans"?

The drone strikes in question were in YEMEN. The last time I checked this would be outside the US.

Moreover, they weren't killed because they were American. Their citizenship was incidental. All three Americans killed so far were members of al Qaeda. Two of them avowedly so (Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan) and one of them most probably so (Awlaki's son). Worst case scenario is that Awalki's son was not a member of al Qaeda, but he had the bad luck of being in the car with two other members of al Qaeda.

It strikes me as unfair to call drone strikes on foreign territory -- especially territory not under the control of any actual nation state, such as in the hinterlands of Yemen -- anything other than what it is.

It takes some pretty slippery slope thinking to equate that with some kind of imagined authority to use the same tactics at home.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:26 AM | Comments |

August 10, 2013

CIA Killing 'Em All, Letting God Sort 'Em Out in Yemen

You know what this blog needs more of? Drone strikes!

Local officials and residents in Yemen's southern Lahj Province said a drone destroyed a vehicle travelling on a mountain road late on Saturday evening killing its two occupants and bringing to 15 the death toll from four strikes in three days.

The local officials and residents said the vehicle, which was travelling between Yafe and Radfan, was believed to be carrying arms and its occupants were suspected members of al Qaeda.

Oh, and one of these things is related to the other.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:31 PM | Comments |

August 06, 2013

Bird Dogging Produces 4 Dead al Qaeda in Yemen
And, Sorta Related: ODS -- Obama Derangement Syndrome

Four members of al Qaeda have reportedly been killed in a drone strike in Yemen.

Yesterday, I discussed at length where the information leading to the closures of embassies around the Muslim world most likely came from. I also noted that the person who leaked the fact that we were intercepting communications between al Qaeda's #1 and al Qaeda's #2 should be prosecuted for tipping off the bad guys that we were on to them.

But there was something else I intentionally didn't mention: sometimes we leak information on purpose.

By on purpose here I don't mean for political purposes -- the usual reason secrets are leaked to the press.

No, in this context it's the intelligence community itself that wants some information let out. The basic idea being that when somebody we badly want goes to ground, it becomes more difficult to find them. Think of the nearly decade long search for Osama bin Laden, made all the more difficult because the man was a paranoid recluse -- and not without reason.

So, one way in which to flush out your enemies who are hidden well is to get them moving. Any one who has hunted certain fowl understand the concept, and why a dog trained to scare up the birds from the ground can be a valuable tool.

I'm not saying I have any super-secret information as to the motivations of those who leaked the information on the Zawahiri / Nasser al-Wuhayshi link to the "chatter". What I am saying is that ... well, we got four more bad guys in Yemen, which is most likely the weak link in the al Qaeda security chain:

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Yemen — the fourth reported in the last 10 days — killed four alleged Al Qaeda members Tuesday, as the U.S. and British governments evacuated their embassies because of intelligence suggesting a possible terrorist attack.

A drone-launched missile struck a vehicle in Marib province, east of the Yemeni capital, Sana, killing the four militants, according to the Yemen Post, a privately-owned English language newspaper. A second strike targeted a "militant hideout," the paper said, citing local security officials.

So, there you have it.

I've no idea if the two are related. If I sounded like I was sure of the connection in the above argument, that's just because I was presenting one side of the argument.

But I wanted to get that out there because I know a lot of you have become so cynical of the Obama White House that you now assume the worst motivations for pretty much everything any one in government does -- including those institutions which used to be seen as the most trustworthy by we conservatives, such as our intelligence, law enforcement, and military.

As much as we may detest the current occupant of the White House, though, we need to remember that Obama doesn't personally oversee most of what the government does. His fingerprints are not in every policy nor in every leak.

What I fear is that many of us on the right have become what the left was during the Bush era. Do you guys remember something we used to call BDS? Bush Derangement Syndrome. BDS was the tendency for those on the left to blame Bush for everything, to assign bad motivations for every move, and, at the extreme, to turn everything into a grand conspiracy.

You don't remember blood for oil? Or how as recently as ... now ... the current occupant of the White House continues to blame the former occupant of the White House for his own sucky .... everything?

That's BDS -- Bush Derangement Syndrome.

But there is also something equivalent to that on the right --- ODS. Obama Derangement Syndrome.

If you don't think ODS isn't real, I'm sorry, but you may be suffering it yourself. Sure, sometimes thinking people are out to get you is perceptive. But more often than not it's just paranoia.

What's funny is that one of the biggest paranoids on the Left who stoked the flames of BDS has now become the hero to many on the right who suffer from ODS -- Glenn Greenwald. The guy who "broke" the story about the NSA's domestic "spying".

When a guy like that become you're hero, clearly you've left the reservation of sanity and into the Twilight Zone.

Make no mistake about what I am saying. I despise President Obama. I loathe him. He is clearly the worst President in modern history. I think that is an empirical fact.

But, give the guy credit where credit is due: he knows and cares so little about counter-terrorism policy that he pretty much has left that up to the professionals in the field. And you know what? Nothing has seriously changed since the Bush era. At least, not on the foreign front. We keep droning them, they keep on coming at us. It's standard Bush era policy.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:00 PM | Comments |

July 22, 2013

11-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Nada Al-Ahdal Flees Home

And I thought Islam says women are deficient, this little 11 year old has more brains in her head than the entire remaining population of Yemen.

We pray she is safe.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

By Howie at 12:14 PM | Comments |

May 01, 2013

Saudi Arabia Reported Tamerlan Tsarnaev Connection to Yemeni Terrorists in 2012

Daily Mail:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before pressure-cooker blasts killed three and injured hundreds, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.

The Saudi warning, the official told MailOnline, was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.

Citing security concerns, the Saudi government also denied an entry visa to the elder Tsarnaev brother in December 2011, when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the source said. Tsarnaev's plans to visit Saudi Arabia have not been previously disclosed.

There are conflicting confirmations and denials from various American officials.

So it appears that not only was Tsarnaev inspired by al-Qaeda's Inspire online magazine, much like Nidal Hassan and Farouk Abdulmutallab he may have also been in contact with terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Anwar_al-Awlaki and Samir Khan themselves.

If this is confirmed its a major failure. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was all over the radar and lights were flashing but nothing was done.

By Howie at 08:10 AM | Comments |

April 21, 2013

Droned Again: 2 AQAP Mujahid Killed In Central Yemen

Allahu Dronebar!

The US launched a drone strike against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula today in central Yemen, killing two AQAP operatives. The strike is the third recorded in the country in the past six days.

The remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched several missiles at a compound in the Wadi Abida area of Marib province, Yemeni officials told AFP.

Tribal officials then said that two Yemeni troops and another AQAP fighter were killed during clashes that followed. "A cache of weapons was found at the site" of the strike, according to Reuters.

[Continue Reading]

Next?

By Stable Hand at 12:40 PM | Comments |

March 26, 2013

Video: The Art Scene of Yemen Flourishes in a Basement

Take that AQAP!

Thanks to @WomanFromYemen

By Stable Hand at 11:13 AM | Comments |

January 24, 2013

Lest Anyone Forget: JihadTweet Against "The Jewish" U.S. Ambassador to #Yemen

Via hearter of a dead guy, "Nasser Al-Qaeda" [Analyst and champion of the causes of the Muslim Ummah and the oppressed everywhere] aka @nsir200011:

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JihadTwitter_yemen_amb_zps0ef555f7 photo JihadTwitter_yemen_amb_zps0ef555f7.jpg

Carry on Twitter and ignore your TOS violations.

Related:
Yemen: Al Qaeda's (AQAP) Media Arm Screws Up Omits Bounty On US Ambassador to Yemen & US Soldiers (Updated)

By Stable Hand at 01:31 PM | Comments |

January 21, 2013

Droned: 3 More AQAP Mujahid Eliminated In Marib, Yemen

droned_zpscc127e2b photo droned_zpscc127e2b-1_zpsaa956d20.jpg

Nice! Three days ago 8 of 'em were droned!

More please

[Bill Roggio]US drones struck again in Marib province in central Yemen, killing three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives. The strike is the second in the central province in three days.

The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched two missiles today at a car as it traveled outside the city of Marib in the province of the same name, according to The Associated Press. Three AQAP members, identified as Ali Saleh Toaiman, Qassim Nasser Toaiman, and Ahmed al Ziadi, a local commander in the province, were killed in the attack, and two more were wounded.[More...]

Next?

By Stable Hand at 09:33 PM | Comments |

Yemen: Allahu Handjobbar!!

SplodeyDopesver11_zps6fbc2692-1_zps73a324c9-1_zps677ef35d photo SplodeyDopesver11_zps6fbc2692-1_zps73a324c9-1_zps677ef35d-1_zps136ca4bb.jpg
At Least 13 Suspected Al-Qaida Mujahidiots Sploded Selves in Yemen
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemen security official says an explosion in the province of Bayda has killed at least 13 suspected al-Qaida militants.

The official in Bayda's capital city of Radda says the explosion went off in a house owned by a known al-Qaida operative, Ahmed Abdullah Deif-Allah Al-Zahab. It appeared to be an accident.

Residents were barred Sunday from approaching the scene of the incident by militants with links to al-Qaida, the official said

Next?

By Stable Hand at 10:52 AM | Comments |

January 20, 2013

#Yemen: US Drone Strike Eliminates 2 Saudi AQAP

droned_zpscc127e2b photo droned_zpscc127e2b-1_zpsaa956d20.jpg

More please:

[Bill Roggio]The US killed eight people, including two Saudi al Qaeda fighters, in a drone strike yesterday in Marib province in central Yemen. The strike is the first recorded in Yemen in 16 days.

The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched two missiles at a car as it traveled in the Abieda Valley in Marib province, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.
[More...]

By Stable Hand at 01:42 PM | Comments |

December 28, 2012

Yemen: Al Qaeda's (AQAP) Media Arm Screws Up
Omits Bounty On US Ambassador to Yemen & US Soldiers (Updated)

Gee, the gif's where so pretty and stuff

You missed the best part akhis!

A jihadist forum user stated on December 27 that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) recently released video “Jihad of the Ummah” is missing a section. AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Foundation, released the video on jihadist forums on December 23. According to the unidentified jihadist forum user, the original video released on December 23 is missing a section offering a bounty for the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein and U.S. soldiers. A reward of 3,000 grams of gold was offered for the killing of Ambassador Feierstein and five million Yemeni Riyals was offered for the killing of a U.S. soldier serving in Yemen. The rewards would reportedly be paid within six months of the announcement.[1]
This is the video that sucked and now it really sucks! Stupid mujahidiots.


() جــهاد أمـــــة () by taimour_abdulwahab1

[h/t for video: al-Qaeda supporter, former troll and Jawaa Bitch: Censored31]

He/she/it should get "I will cut your neck" fatwa for screwing up the video, just sayin..

Update: The missing parts are below. The jihadi claim the parts were deleted by the US. Or, All Your Videos R Belong To Us Akhis:

On Twitter, jihad supporters are currently disseminating what they are calling a segment deleted by the U.S. from the most recent video released by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The segment that is being disseminated, an audio file, includes AQAP's announcement of a reward of 3,000 grams of gold to anyone who assassinates "the Jewish" U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein, as well as a reward of five million Yemeni riyals (about $23,000) to anyone who kills a U.S. soldier in Yemen.[More...]

h/t @InteGirl111

By Stable Hand at 02:36 PM | Comments |

December 05, 2012

Meanwhile in Yemen

Jawa contributor and Yemen expert Jane is too depressed to post about Yemen lately.

This is what the New Egypt will look like, should the Islamists win out over, you know, decent folk.

By Howie at 09:02 AM | Comments |

October 12, 2012

12 Years Ago Today: The Bombing Of The USS Cole

usscole.jpg
The USS Cole bombing was a suicide attack against the United States Navy destroyer USS Cole on October 12, 2000, while it was harbored and refueled in the Yemen port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured. This event was the deadliest attack against a United States Naval vessel since 1987.
Heroes gone, but not forgotten.

Image h/t Michelle Malkin, who has an excellent piece and a must read: The Deadly Disgrace of Obama’s Pro-Terrorist Lawyers

Also, via Ace: Video of USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold speaking about leaving Yemen with honor

Related, from our Yemeni expert Sweet Jane:
Reprinting of her USS Cole article from 2007

By Stable Hand at 05:34 PM | Comments |

October 11, 2012

Yemen Security Chief At US Embassy Killed In Sanaa

Nothing to see here, Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is on its heels

SANAA, Yemen – A masked gunman assassinated a Yemeni security official at the U.S. Embassy in a drive-by shooting in the capital Sanaa on Thursday, officials said.

The Yemeni officials said the killing bore the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda attack, but it was too early to determine if the group was behind it. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Maybe he was killed because of the video or maybe this tweet. ten hours ago, from Ambassador Rice in support of LGBT community.

twitter.com screen capture 2012-10-11-8-33-21_rice.jpg

Wait, she tweeted that after the House Oversight Committee were investigating the Benghazi attack? The St Dept account RT'd it as well as Barack Obama.

Look, Big Bird!

By Stable Hand at 08:26 AM | Comments |

September 13, 2012

Mob at US Embassy in Yemen

Hakim from Yemen Post on phone at CNN:
3000 unarmed protesters outside
1000 security forces patrolling
Interior Minister announced anyone seen carrying weapons will be shot
Yemen embassy in US statement: perimeter breached and order restored

Update 6:30 am EST: most people left after the tear gas

Video from inside the compound

Earlier vid from inside the compound


more photos below

Photos via Taiz City FB page:

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91312sanaaembassy2.jpg

91312sanaaembassy3.jpg

91312sanaaembassy4.jpg

91312sanaaembassy5.jpg

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91312sanaaembassy8.jpg

By Jane at 05:15 AM | Comments |

September 12, 2012

AQAP #2 al Shihri may not be dead

Dagnabbit. In an interview in the Saudi Okaz, the Yemeni Interior Minister says he has no info on whether AQAP #2 al Shihiri was killed in an air strike, and he says to ask the Defense Ministry which originally reported the story through an anonymous official. Meanwhile AQAP denies he's dead, and they are usually the most accurate in this situation, unfortunately.

Its quite possible the US media was spun by the Yemeni DOD for the 9/11 anniversary. I thought it was way too quick for all the al Shihri obits, because the Yemeni Defense Ministry has released total disinformation time and time and time again, see my earlier post. I don't know if hes dead or not, but I wouldn't count on it. Its the fifth time he's been announced as killed or captured.

See al Masdar (ar) Yemeni Interior Minister skeptical of information killed Qaeda's second-in-Said al-Shihri

By Jane at 03:22 PM | Comments |

September 10, 2012

Sweeeet! AQAP #2 Killed in Yemen

This hasn't been confirmed by the US yet, and Yemen has announced al-Shihri's death before, so we'll keep M.C. Hammer on ice. But until that time, one can hope:

Said al-Shihri, described as the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been killed in an operation in southern Yemen, government officials say.

Al-Shihri was reportedly killed with six others in the Hadramawt area.

Some reports say Yemeni troops were involved, others that it was an air strike, possibly a US drone attack.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thanks to Laura.

PS -- I almost forgot, he was a former Gitmo inmate.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:54 PM | Comments |

August 08, 2012

SBD™: US kills AQAP bombmaker, 9 fighters in pair of strikes in Yemen

I love it when terrorists are sploded by drone (SBD™)

The US launched two drone strikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen today[yesterday...ed], killing a senior bombmaker and nine other fighters. The US has now conducted three strikes in Yemen in the past four days. Meanwhile, jihadists named one of the AQAP fighters killed in Saturday's drone strike.

In the first strike, the unmanned Predators or Reapers fired several missiles at two vehicles traveling in the town of Rawdah in Baydah province, The Associated Press reported. Yemeni officials said that Abdullah Awad al Masri, a wanted bombmaker who is also known as Abou Osama al Maribi, was killed in the strike. It is unclear if he is a Yemeni, however, as his surname, al Masri, indicates he is an Egyptian.

Two Egyptians, a Tunisian, a Saudi, and a Bahraini were among the seven AQAP fighters killed in the strike. Their identities have not been disclosed.

[Continue reading]

More please.

By Stable Hand at 10:02 AM | Comments |

July 22, 2012

Fast and Furious, the Yemen version

Without much fanfare or explanation, the US State Department revised its defense export policy on Yemen and will now consider applications for licenses to export lethal defense articles to Yemen.

The July 3, 2012 Federal Register notice updates the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and lifts the “presumption of denial” that had been in place since 1992.

In an earlier opening to US-based military contractors and suppliers, the ITAR was revised in August 2011 to allow the export of non-lethal defense articles and services to Yemen.

In the latest ITAR update, the State Department asserted that lifting the arms embargo would enhance US national security and that, “Yemen has taken important steps to stabilize the country, including holding successful presidential elections in February 2012.”

Post revolution Yemen

The 33-year dictatorship of Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh came to an end following a year of nationwide, massive street demonstrations demanding complete regime change. Hundreds of unarmed citizens were killed and over ten thousand wounded as Yemen’s armed forces, headed by Saleh’s relatives, tried to shoot, bomb and burn the protesters into submission.

Saleh and his regime, notorious for brutality and grand corruption, received immunity under a US and Saudi sponsored deal in exchange for Saleh’s resignation. Despite ample evidence of war crimes and financial malfeasance prior to and during the Yemeni revolution, Saleh was neither exiled nor sanctioned. There has been no accounting for the billions stolen from the Yemeni treasury. The US maintains that Saleh is an esteemed leader, welcomed on the political scene.

With 10 million registered voters in Yemen, 6.6 million voted in February’s single candidate election for Saleh’s vice president, Abdu Mansour Hadi. As president, Hadi has achieved significant gains against al Qaeda following decades of Saleh’s appeasement and manipulation of the fanatical group.

However Saleh loyalists continue to thwart progress in Yemen administratively and through covert acts like bombing oil pipelines and a new round of al Qaeda "jailbreaks. Saleh’s paid pens launched a smear campaign against the newly appointed and quite effective Human Rights minister, Hooria Mansour, prompted her boycott of cabinet meetings.

Among the many challenges Hadi faces, the most urgent is child starvation. More than one million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished and 60% suffer from chronic malnutrition, UNICEF said this week. Yemen is also facing a devastating water shortage and 70% of Yemenis have no access to healthcare.

Following the revolution, Yemenis remain largely fragmented and at odds, with many groups and individuals jostling to achieve narrow interests and goals. The lack of communications infrastructure and political experience means that rival groups and former opponents have yet to form a clear national consensus that the rescue of the starving children is the nation’s top priority. Saleh's overthrow has not yet shifted the balance of power between the citizenry and the elite, but instead instead resulted in a partial and ongoing re-shuffle of elites.

As a result, protests across the nation continued following the election, demanding the removal of Saleh’s son Ahmed Saleh, commander of the Special Forces, and Saleh’s nephew Yahya Saleh, commander of the Central Security. The pair are the primary conduits of US counter-terror efforts and recipients of US CT funds and equipment. Ahmed Saleh is reported to own four condos in Washington, D.C. for which he paid 5.5 million dollars in cash.

Continuing US loyalty to Saleh’s relatives baffles and frustrates Yemenis. Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman said, “I cannot believe the US didn’t know of Saleh’s relationship to al Qaeda.” Karman also described ousted president Ali Saleh as "the real hand" behind al Qaeda.

Judge Hamoud al Hittar was Minister of Endowments and spearheaded Yemen's earlier efforts to reform imprisoned al Qaeda operatives through dialog and Koranic debate. He resigned the Ministry in 2011 following regime excesses during the revolution. Al Hittar recently described Ansar al Sharia, the extremist group that occupied several southern towns until Hadi's election, as a blend of al Qaeda operatives, Saleh loyalists and those with local grievances.

Al Hittar also said, "some relatives of Saleh personally contacted with Al-Qaeda operatives and hampered the completion of investigation on the case of USS Cole." Many others have warned of the nexus between the Saleh's mafia and al Qaeda.

In June 2012, President Obama notified Congress of direct US military actions in Yemen, as required by the 1973 War Powers Resolution, stating “The U.S. military has also been working closely with the Yemeni government to operationally dismantle and ultimately eliminate the terrorist threat posed by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous affiliate of al-Qa’ida today. Our joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP operatives and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests.”

In addition to the State Department’s July 3 move to open the floodgates for arms and contractors, the Pentagon announced that it will resume shipping about $112 million in weapons and equipment for counter-terrorism operations, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote to congressional defense committees on July 5.

Yemen received $252 million in counter-terrorism funding through mid 2010. Shipments were later suspended after state forces, including the Air Force and units commanded by Ahmed and Yahya Saleh, turned their weapons against protesters.

US humanitarian and development aid to Yemen is expected to top $175 million this year.

The faulty Blue Lantern

Yemeni protesters and elites and US officials all consider the restructuring of the Yemeni military and security forces as a top priority. However the phrase has differing meanings to each group. For Yemenis "restructuring" means decommissioning Saleh's relatives; to the US it means arming them.

Additionally, many in Yemen and the US have valid concerns about the US ability to effectively monitor US military shipments to Yemen. US embassy personnel have had difficulty in conducting “Blue Lantern” spot checks on US supplied weapons as far back as 2004, according to one Wikileaks cable.

As a result, in July 2008, the first-ever bilateral agreement between the Yemeni and American armed forces was concluded. In a press release posted to the website of the US embassy in Sana’a, then Ambassador Seche said the End Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) for U.S-sponsored military and security assistance would prevent “the misuse or illicit transfer of these items and service.” The press release and all references to the 2008 EUMA have since been scrubbed from the US embassy’s website.

Despite the EUMA, in 2009 US trained counter-terror units and US supplied equipment were routinely diverted to internal armed conflicts in northern Yemen, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. "In the cables, US diplomats complain that their requests for Yemen to halt such diversions were having little effect," Human Rights Watch remarked in calling for an investigation into US counter-terrorism assistance to Yemen.

A January 2010 report issued by Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that some of the weapons the US government had shipped to the Yemeni military could not be accounted for and that the Yemeni military was “likely” diverting US counter-terror assistance to wage war against their own citizens in the north. The Foreign Relations Committee's fact finding mission further expressed uncertainty that US Embassy personnel fully understood what the EUMA required, and that diversion was prohibited. The report noted,

This potential misuse of security assistance underscores the importance of enhancing the current (2008) end-use monitoring regime for U.S.-provided equipment. Indeed, the existing end-use monitoring protocols in place have revealed discrepancies between U.S. records of security assistance and those that are in the possession of Yemeni defense forces.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Yemen a month later, Member Ron Klein (D-FL) noted, “The worst thing we can have for our country, and our troops, and our interests over there is to find that U.S. weapons are being used against us.”

In response, Jeffery Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State assured the committee that, “We're very aware of the human -- of a poor human rights record in Yemen. We're very aware of the fact that the country is awash in a black -- in a black market on weapons. So these factors very much play into how we do the monitoring.”

In December 2010, Human Rights Watch urged the US to “investigate Yemen's apparent diversion of US counterterrorism assistance to an abusive military campaign unrelated to terrorist threats and suspend such aid unless the misuse has stopped.” However, US support was only curtailed in mid-2011 when such abuses occurred in the full glare of the western media attending the popular uprising against Saleh's regime.

Fanning the fire

The impending influx of private contractors and new gun sales to a variety of end users in Yemen permitted under the ITAR revision magnify these concerns about the diversion of US supplied weapons onto the Yemeni black market and their use against civilians and for political ends.

With the loyalty of some units in the military and security services, and vast chunks of the state bureaucracies, lying with former President Saleh and competing commanders, President Hadi’s task of wresting control of the state from al Qaeda and private militias is daunting.

The ITAR’s revision in its policy on Yemen may arise from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vision for a State Department that actively prevents low intensity conflicts. In a speech at a military trade show, Ms Clinton cited US intervention in Yemen as an example of her vision of a more integrated and effective nexus between foreign partners, US diplomats and Special Forces, the Danger Room reports,

The State Department has stood up a new bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, which Clinton said “is working to put into practice lessons learned over the past decade and institutionalize a civilian surge capacity to deal with crises and hotspots.” Together, Special Operations Forces and State’s new Conflict Bureau are the twin arms of an expanding institution for waging small, low-intensity shadow wars all over the world.

But rumor has it Clinton’s vision has its detractors — and that its implementation in hotspots such as Yemen and Congo has made some Special Operations Forces officers very unhappy. In Yemen, in particular, some commando officers look upon the State Department’s expanding shadow-war powers as a bureaucratic intrusion on what should be military territory. A source tells Danger Room that in Yemen State has effectively hijacked all U.S. counter-terrorism funding, requiring a labyrinthine approval process for even small expenditures. According to detractors, the funding control is a way of cementing State’s expansion into the Special Operations Forces traditional remit.

The introduction of private defense contractors and commercial weapons vendors to Yemen in an effort to stabilize the state, enhance its reach and thwart al Qaeda carries both potential risk and reward. With the US’s proven inability to keep track of its prior military shipments, the revision of the ITAR has the potential to inflame low intensity conflicts already underway. Many of these internal disputes have deep roots and long histories; others are a result of the reconfigurations that occurred during and after the 2011 Yemen Revolution.

At the same time, the Yemeni military and security services are sorely in need of re-organization, training, standardized methods and modern equipment. A strong legal framework including respect for civil and human rights, and the rights of the soldiers themselves, needs be introduced from the top down and the bottom up. An impartial body in Yemen should also provide oversight and limitations on imports allowed under the revised US ITAR.

Yemeni service men and women, police and security officers, are in the cross hairs of al Qaeda with assassinations and suicide bombers targeting them nearly daily. And like other sectors of the ravaged and dysfunctional Yemen state, the military and security services could benefit greatly from international aid and support. But the focus of the US State Department must remain on creating an effective and cohesive national force that serves all the Yemeni people and not only urgent US counter-terror interests.

By Jane at 06:05 AM | Comments |

June 29, 2012

Vietnamese Immigrant Charged With Aiding AQAP
Met With Awlaki & Samir Khan

Minh Quang Pham allegedly helped design and distribute AQAP "propaganda"

A Vietnamese immigrant has been charged in New York over an alleged role in helping al-Qaida in Yemen.

Minh Quang Pham was arrested in Britain. He is accused of traveling to Yemen to train with members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

Pham is also accused of helping the group with its online propaganda efforts. Investigators said he was in Yemen from December 2010 through July 2011.

The article further states he met with Anwar al Awlaki and Samir Khan. As regular readers know, both were droned. Too bad this assmaggot wasn't with them at the time.

Update: Alternative title: Samir Khan's assistant arrested in Britain, soon to be shipped to USA

Update II: The IPT has a PDF link to Pham's (aka "Amin") indictment

From the indictment, Pham appears to have been actively participating with AQAP just months before the United States killed senior American al-Qaida propagandists Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. The drone strike effectively halted AQAP's reach in the English-speaking world, although the group released two additional issues of the Inspire magazine produced by al-Awlaki and Khan.

By Stable Hand at 05:08 PM | Comments |

June 25, 2012

Drones Kill 2 al Qaeda Bosses in Yemen

Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:18 PM | Comments |

May 15, 2012

More Drone Strikes Against AQAP in Yemen

This is getting interesting.

Long War Journal:

The US launched two drone strikes today in a city in southern Yemen that is currently under the control of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Seven AQAP fighters and eight civilians are reported to have been killed in the airstrikes.

The first strike targeted "a militant hideout" in Jaar, a city in Abyan province that is currently under al Qaeda control, CNN reported. The eight civilians were killed after they attempted to recover the bodies of AQAP fighters, apparently after the unmanned US Predators or Reapers launched a second salvo of missiles into the hideout.

This follows airstrikes and Yemeni military activity against AQAP over the weekend.

Read "civilians" as "people who just happen to hang with al-Qaeda on a Tuesday afternoon."

Come to think of it even the al-Qaeda are "civilians", they are unlawful belligerents.

By Howie at 07:03 PM | Comments |

May 08, 2012

Update on Underwear Bomb Plot & Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso (Related)

DEAD

Apparently the "underwear" bomb plot was "thwarted" because it involved a Saudi double agent. He/she infiltrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (aka AQAP) and agreed to become a suicide bomber. He/she left Yemen for Saudi Arabia for the "planned suicide mission". When landing in Saudi Arabia the double agent contacted both Saudis and CIA agents.

The double agent had the "new and improved" underwear bomb plus coordinates of where, in Yemen, was one of America's most wanted for the USS Cole bombing, Fahd al-Quso. He was droned Sunday.

How cool is that!

WASHINGTON — The suicide bomber dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner was actually an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia who infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the mission, American and foreign officials said Tuesday.

In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the double agent left Yemen last month, traveling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his aviation attack and inside information on the group’s leaders, locations, methods and plans to the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi intelligence and allied foreign intelligence agencies[...]

After spending weeks at the center of Al Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate, the intelligence agent provided critical information that permitted the C.I.A. to direct the drone strike on Sunday that killed Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, the group’s external operations director and a suspect in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, an American destroyer, in Yemen in 2000. [More..]

Awesome...

By Stable Hand at 10:42 PM | Comments |

May 07, 2012

Developing: CIA thwarts Al Qaeda underwear bomb plot on anniversary of bin Laden's death, US officials say
Update: FBI Statement on Seizure of IED Overseas

Will update when more info comes available.

Update: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula[AQAP] is alive and well.

Snippet via ABC Global

U.S. officials say the plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also built to be used in a passenger's underwear but contained a more refined detonation system.
Obama: "The war on terrorism is over"

h/t Someone who is fighting against terror in Kenya.

Update II: Via FNC:

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought his plane tickets when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It's not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.

The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no Al Qaeda plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of bin Laden's death. The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday[...]

U.S. officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss the case.

It's not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Christmas bomb, authorities suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that Al Qaeda built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010.

Apparently, there are many disconnects on who exactly was briefed on this terror plot.

Update III: FBI Statement

As a result of close cooperation with our security and intelligence partners overseas, an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack has been seized abroad. The FBI currently has possession of the IED and is conducting technical and forensics analysis on it. Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks, including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations. The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the U.S. government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device. We refer you to the Department of Homeland Security, including the Transportation Security Administration, regarding ongoing security measures to safeguard the American people and the traveling public.
BTW I failed to mention the awesome job our counter terror community did on thwarting this attack. Thank you!

Probably related:
Top al-Qaida bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, resurfaces

By Stable Hand at 03:14 PM | Comments |

May 06, 2012

Yemen: Top al-Qaeda Leader Wanted In USS Cole Bombing, Fahd al-Quso, Killed in Airstrike?

Black sheet_2.png

This will be like the umpteenth time or something he has been reportedly killed. Nothing from US officials yet, color me skeptical

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike today killed a top al-Qaeda leader on the FBI's most wanted list for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship, Yemeni officials said. The airstrike resembled earlier U.S. drone attacks, but the U.S. did not immediately confirm it.

Fahd al-Quso was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle, along with another al-Qaida operative in the southern Shabwa province, Yemeni military officials said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with military regulations.

Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 2000 bombing in the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured[...]

A telephone text message claiming to be from al-Qaeda media arm confirmed al-Quso was killed in the strike.

Will update when more info becomes available.

Update: Getting a bit warmer (or dead cold as in sploded), via Roggio

Today, an airstrike killed Fahd al Quso (Alias: Abu Huthayfa) in Rafth, Shabwa," according to a statement by the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, D.C., that was received by The Long War Journal.

While the Yemeni Embassy did not say that Quso was killed in a US airstrike, a US intelligence official involved in operations on the Arabian Peninsula confirmed that Quso was indeed the target of a drone strike today. The official would not comment on the Yemeni Embassy's claim of Quso's death.

Quso was traveling in a car with at least two other AQAP operatives when the unmanned Predators or Reapers fired missiles at his car, an intelligence official told The Long War Journal. Three AQAP operates are believed to have been killed in the strike, which occurred at nighttime.[More..]


By Stable Hand at 03:31 PM | Comments |

April 27, 2012

Top al-Qaida bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, resurfaces

But, the war on terror is over

WASHINGTON (AP) - When a drone strike killed one of the leaders of al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen[AQAP,,ed] last year, U.S. intelligence officials thought they also had wiped out the terrorist group's top bomb maker.

Soon it became apparent that Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the brains behind sophisticated bombs that have been used in attempts to attack the U.S., was still alive. A hunted al-Asiri went underground, knowing the U.S. was after him, particularly after the U.S. killed Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the Yemen group's top leaders.

But U.S. counterterrorism officials say he has resurfaced. They worry he might be at work doing what he does best: building bombs that could defeat airline security, The Associated Press has learned.

There is a hellfire out there somewhere with his name on it.

By Stable Hand at 04:05 PM | Comments |

April 14, 2012

Press Conference of Cole Bombing Defendant At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

uss cole_gitmo.jpg

More importantly, the victims and families:

USS Cole bombing victims and victim family members' press conference following a series of motion hearings in the case of U.S. vs. Al Nashiri, held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Carol Rosenberg, reporter from the Miami Herald, has covered all things GITMO:

twitter_rosenburg.jpg

Carol Rosenberg is the granddaughter of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg. She previously has called for the release of all GITMO detainees...surreal

By Stable Hand at 10:18 AM | Comments |

April 11, 2012

al-Qaeda Beheads Woman in Yemen

Nasser Arrabyee:

Al Qaeda beheaded a woman for not being a good Muslim in the south eastern town of Rada'a, said local sources on Wednesday.

Al Qaeda fighters stormed the house of Mrs AlSharifa Amer, in Bani Zeyad, Rada'a, and slaughtered her and took the head and hang it in front of the house of Mohammed Mohammed Al Awbali. Mrs Amer is locally known as a popular doctor who treats sick people by herbs .

The sources said that Al Qaeda considered the woman as an enemy of Allah for being a "trickster".

I would like to say this is a rare public murder by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but its not especially of late.

By Howie at 07:39 AM | Comments |

April 02, 2012

Things That Make Me Feel Better: Volume I Issue I

When al-Qaeda gets shelled.

Yemen's army shelled Al-Qaeda hideouts in the southern city of Zinjibar, one of the jihadists' major strongholds, killing six militants, a local official told AFP on Monday.

The official, speaking from the nearby town of Jaar where wounded militants and dead bodies from Zinjibar are usually taken, said that "a Somali group leader named Abu Bilal" was among those killed in the late Sunday assault.

Hmmmm, Somalia? Wonder if Omar Shafik Hammami was there or close by.

One can only hope so.

There was chatter about disillusioned al-Shabaab members feeing to Yemen in small boats shortly after Hammami, AKA Abu Mansour al-Amriki, expressed his displeasure with al-Shabaab. So far as I know he's not been heard from since that can be confirmed.

Hat Tip: J.M. Berger.

By Howie at 07:43 AM | Comments |

March 30, 2012

Airstrikes Against al Qaeda in Yemen

You know my motto: kill every member of al Qaeda, big or small.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:40 PM | Comments |

March 12, 2012

Yemen: AQAP hides hostages in US CT liaison's warehouse

Seriously, if you are looking for AQAP hostages in Yemen, its always a good idea to start with the land owned by deposed dictator Ali Saleh & his relatives including the US's Counter Terror liaison, Yahya Saleh, nephew of Ali, and specifically the al Maz warehouse in Jaar, Abyan:

Yemen Times: Dozens of soldiers are held inside the Al-Maz Company, owned by Yahya Saleh, nephew of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The soldiers were captured during armed confrontations in Dofas on March 4.

Sources close to Ansar Al-Sharia stated that no soldiers were wounded or killed during the recent (ed- US drone) raids.

The militants have demanded that 300 Al-Qaeda militants be released in return for the release of 72 captured soldiers.

With multiple news sites reporting, its likely true. Since the drones didn't hit the warehouse, the US probably also knows it as well. Collusion between al Qaeda and the top levels of the Saleh regime goes back decades and is undeniable.

The mystery is why the Obama administration is pushing, bullying and threatening the Yemeni opposition in order to keep Saleh's relatives as heads of the CT units and in other military and security posts.

There were public protests Friday across Yemen demanding Saleh's relatives be deposed from the military and security forces. Air Force pilots have been protesting for weeks to replace Saleh's corrupt brother as AF commander. The US ambassador told them to go back to work, repeatedly.

US Ambassador Feierstein also affirmed repeatedly that the Obama administration believes former dictator Ali Saleh has the right to remain in Yemen active in politics. Saleh was granted immunity for all his crimes as part of the US, UN transition plan. None of "his" assets have been frozen, although they are all ill gotten--stolen, embezzled or the result of black market smuggling.

US aid to Yemen was $326M since 2007. Yet the Yemeni military is still poorly trained and ill equipped as the recent AQ mutilation and slaughter of 150 soldiers demonstrates.

Meanwhile Saleh's son and head of another CT unit, Ahmed Saleh, has a $5M condo in DC. That's your taxpayer dollars right there people.

US officials highlight the very real and growing threat of AQAP. Yet contrary to national security concerns, the Obama admin is continuing its efforts to maintain and restore the Saleh regime, which has a long history of colluding with al Qaeda and diverting CT aid.

In 2007, an end use monitoring agreement was signed by the US and Yemen to prevent diversion of US CT funds and military equipment. A 2010 report by the Foreign Relations committee revealed many lapses in US monitoring, ie- missing equipment, US trained CT forces fighting the Houthis and not al Qaeda. The responsible US officials made few if any reforms as a result of the report, and the CT forces were involved in slaughtering hundreds of Yemeni protesters in 2011.

Related: Obama admin scrubs 2007 Military End Use Monitoring Agreement from Sana'a embassy's website

Update:

Yemen Post: An investigation commission found that the former commander of Southern Region Mahdi Maqwala was involved in supporting Al-Qaeda militants, an Emirate newspaper, Al-Bayan, has quoted Yemeni military sources as saying.

The sources told Al-Bayan on Sunday that Maqwala supported the militants with weapons and helped them to capture military positions in the southern governorate of Abyan....Yemeni politicians (ed- with formal statements) and analysts accused the ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh of using Al-Qaeda to intimidate some Western countries with the aim of keeping his relatives in their military positions.

Governor of Abyan Saleh Al-Zawari has accused military and political services of surrendering Abyan to Al-Qaeda.

In remarks to a local Aden radio, the governor also revealed that tanks, cannons and other military equipments were surrendered to Al-Qaeda militants without any resistance, pointing out that those behaviors were clear evidence of the collusion of some military services with Al-Qaeda.

By Jane at 10:23 AM | |

March 10, 2012

Impending AQAP attack on US Embassy Sanna, Yemen: report

***Sticky until noonish, scroll down for newer posts***

The plan appears to be a diversionary attack in Mukallah Hadramout, then a vehicular swarm in the capital Sanaa with many targets including the US Embassy.

The Yemeni security has been making official statements about an impending attack in Hadramout and exactly which cars they are looking for, but this (in my view, reliable) report takes it the next step.

For earlier news reports on Ibrahim al Banna, see my post yesterday and then just keep clicking back through the earlier links and later trackbacks.

The short story is Ibrahim al Banna (Egyptian) was arrested in Hadramout in 2008 after a lethal January ambush on a Belgium tourist convoy in Shibam. He was tried and convicted in 2010, and reported killed in a 2011 drone strike. But then AQAP said he wasn’t dead after all, and it turned out that many of the 21 charged with the terrorist attack were convicted in absentia.

Yemen Observer: Reliable sources have said that al-Qaeda has been preparing for its largest operations yet in the capital city of Sana’a, operations aimed at strategic sites including military and security installments and embassies.

Sources said that al-Qaeda cells in the areas of Zindan and Arhab have trained for operations involving the storming of fortified sites, attacking fixed and mobile targets while aboard vehicles and motorbikes, and that al-Qaeda militants have entered Sana’a in preparation for carrying out their attacks in the coming few days.

The sources expect that al-Qaeda’s potential targets include the Airbase in Sana’a, the Interior Ministry, Republican Guard units and a number of embassies, including the American embassy.

Related: US drones strikes kill 25 AQ in Yemen overnight: "Moreover recent news that al-Shaba’a, the Ethiopian al-Qaeda wing had sent hundreds of Jihadists over to Abyan to join in Ansar al-Sharia, has been the cause of great concerns for both the government and the civilian population, as they feel their land could become the ground of a mighty war."

Ethiopians? al Shaba'a? 1) Maybe these are the nine mystery ships that everyone is talking about arriving before last Sunday's attack on the military base in Abyan that killed nearly 200 Yemeni soldiers. 2) How weak is AQAP that they need to import fighters?

There's also reports of drone strikes in Jaar, Abyan that destroyed the military equipment AQAP captured from the army last week-end. The Yemeni soldiers captured (who weren't beheaded or otherwise mutilated) were paraded around Jaar, forced to train the terrorists on how to operate the tanks, and now are threatened with execution if the govt doesn't release AQ prisoners.

Update: I fixed the Yemen Observer link, its quite a lengthy article and bumped the post from 730 to noon. Scroll down for new.

Update 2: The al Baydah airstrikes hit the AQAP training camp and targeted local al-Qaeda leader Abdulwahhab al-Homaiqani, the BBC reports. Its always good when there are no immediate reports of civilian casualties, I would have heard by now.

By Jane at 12:46 PM | Comments |