Yemen..first it was Al Qaeda against Saleh..now its Saleh working with Al Qaeda..make up your minds
At least 30 soldiers and a number of militants have been killed in fighting in southern Yemen, military officials have said.
The clashes took place in the southern province of Abyan, west of the provincial capital and militant-held town of Zinjibar.
One report said that a total of 14 al-Qaeda militants had been killed.
The fighting flared following twin suicide bombings targeting military posts in Zinjibar earlier on Sunday.
At least six soldiers were killed in the suicide attacks which took place at a western and southern entrance to the city, according to Reuters.
Islamists began taking control of parts of the province of Abyan last year and security forces have been battling them since.
There has been a spate of attacks against security forces since President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi took over from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and was sworn in in late February.
In a separate attack on Saturday, two suicide bombers drove a car packed with explosives into a Yemeni army base in the southern province of al-Bayda, killing one soldier, Reuters reports.
The defence ministry said al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for that attack.
Playing devil’s advocate was a popular quirk within the Yemeni government throughout most of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s reign; a game plan mostly used for economic gains.
The political circumstances in Yemen, bound to an emboldened offshoot of al-Qaeda, had proven to be a good pawn when it came to Saleh’s diplomatic ties and calls for foreign aid.
Saleh spent years negotiating foreign funds to tackle security threats, both real and imagined many might argue. Several times, Saleh would provoke the crisis a little, voicing concerns over terrorism and insurgency in his country. At this, Yemen would receive foreign aid, mostly from the United States, directed towards supporting the Yemeni military.
“Saleh had been going back and forth milking the United States for more financial aid under the guise of fighting terrorism for more than over a decade,” says Ibrahim Sharqieh, a conflict resolution expert at the Brookings Doha Center who has written extensively about the conflict in Yemen.
“In the past, over 90 percent of U.S. financial support went to support security and military institutions to fight al-Qaeda, while Saudi Arabia’s aid focused mainly on supporting Saleh’s regime,” Sharqieh adds.
Indeed, a constant stream of mostly Saudi and United States aid would have ideally kept the country afloat across economic, social and military areas.
But as governmental corruption hit, the money did not cross paths with genuine, long-term development goals. Nor did foreign aid countries witness their money being channeled into Yemen’s economic development.
Two years ago the Pentagon approved $150 million fund for training and equipping Yemen’s armed forces. It was part of a political compromise with Yemeni rebels and a sustained offensive against the local al-Qaeda franchise, which trained the man who attempted to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009. The money had exceeded the previous year’s $67 million funding, a figure which did not include the increased covert U.S. military and intelligence aid helping Yemen disrupt al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
More substantial foreign aid figures dated back to 2006 when Yemen received $4.7 billion in international community aid pledges during a donor conference in London, according to U.S. state department figures.
Of that amount, $3.7 billion came from wealthy Gulf states but what disturb donors, noted online news portal GlobalPost (in 2010), was that only 10 to 20 percent of the 2006 money had actually been put to use on aid projects by Yemen.
But a report by the U.S. State Department on Yemen (last updated in January 2012) said: “Much of the pledged support (from the 2006 London conference) remains undisbursed due to difficulties absorbing the aid.”
And as Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi became the newly sworn-in president last week as part of a Gulf-brokered deal that gave Saleh immunity from prosecution in exchange for stepping down, Yemen will face a new foreign aid era.
“The issue of foreign aid in Yemen is all politically driven. The Gulf initiative has the provided framework for the transition of power in Yemen and so Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have a high political investment in the country.” says Sharqieh.
“Now, they have to deliver on their peace initiative with financial support. If they don’t do this they’re shooting themselves in the foot,” he adds.
But Sharqieh warns that continuing financial support to Yemen’s military structures would not put the country on the right development path.
“There should be a changing trend in foreign aid to Yemen after the election [and a new leader.] The United States and Gulf states should now give aid that will provide genuine comprehensive development, helping job delivery, building transparent state institutions and work to fight corruption within them.
“This would be the ultimate solution to dealing with terrorism and other security problems; dealing with the underlying causes that produce terror. That’s the strategy that should lead the foreign aid in the future.”
However, al-Qaeda remains a major cause for concern for the United States. Will the enemy ever be suppressed with a continued stream of money ploughed into a country’s military structures?
“This hasn’t been the case in Yemen, or even Afghanistan,” says Sharqieh.
“It never dealt with the corruption in these countries and so there were more people becoming angered and oppressed and turning to militant groups,” he adds.
The United States, however, is continuing to voice its nightmares over the Yemeni al-Qaeda threat and so it looks probable that U.S. foreign aid will continue to veer towards security and protection.
Yemen opposition has accused the outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh of supporting Al-Qaeda and help it control Yemeni towns and areas.
It said Saleh tries to persuade the global world that he is the only who can fight Al-Qaeda.
The Assistant Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Yahya Abu Asboa, told an Emirati newspaper, Albyan, that he has information that Yemeni army and security forces loyal to Saleh facilitate the expansion of Al-Qaea.
” Saleh supports Al-Qaeda to disrupt the National Consensus government led by the opposition and make foreign states believe that Saleh’s ouster would strengthen Al-Qaeda” added he.
Al-Qaeda militants extensively expanded in Zinjbar of Abayn governorate, and nearly 5,000 Al-Qaeda militants and recruiters are currently existed at Azan of Shabow governorate.
It further said the main road linking between Shabwa and Abyan is completely controlled by the militants.
Political leaders of Al-Baidha governorate accused leaders of the General People Congress party headed by Saleh of complicity with the militants to capture the town of Rada’a.
its just lie upon lie..deceit on deceit..and you can be the good guy one day and the bad guy the next..your enemies become your allies and vice versa..just..one..big..clusterfuck..the new president has not changed a thing in yemen and now the very forces saleh was allegedly fighting have allegedly become his mates now..i give up..