Tag: Yemen (page 2)

State Dept. Briefing on Yemen

The U.K. is hosting a conference Wednesday on how to help Yemen. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending. (Here's a full list.) The State Department held a briefing today on Yemen. Here's the transcript.

Human Rights Watch has released this report on Yemen in advance of Wednesday's conference, with 7 recommendations for Yemen's allies. Center for American Progress has these recommendations. [More...]

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Yemen Claims AQAP's Qassim al Raymi Among Those Killed

Yemen's Interior Ministry today confirmed that the military commander of AQAP, Qassim al Raymi, was killed in yesterday's strike.

In a statement on its website, the ministry said Rimi had died when a missile struck his vehicle in the eastern part of Saada province. Also killed were Ayed al-Shabwani, Ammar al-Waili, Saleh al-Tais, Egyptian Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh al-Banna and an unidentified sixth person.

They believe AQAP leader Nasser al-Wahaishi is hiding in the area, along with cleric Anwar al Awlaki. Today, Yemen says it captured three more AQAP leaders near the Saudi border. No names yet.

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Captain Underpants vs. Professor Poopy-Pants?

Marc Lynch has a new post at Foreign Policy, Don't Let Captain Underpants Bring Back the GWOT, on the mass over-hysteria about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed bomb plot on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

But is too much to ask that the national discourse over the failed bomber be more mature and analytical than "Captain Underpants vs Professor Poopypants "?

Lynch cites with approval this WAPO op-ed, "Don't Panic, Fear is Al Qaida's Real Goal," which is well-worth a read. He also correctly notes: [More...]

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The Top Bad Guys in AQAP in Yemen

David Kenner at Foreign Policy presents the top 4 bad guys in AQAP in Yemen with photos: there's the group's leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, former Guantanamo detainee Said al-Shehri (who was released into the Saudi Rehab program but left), Qasim al-Raymi and Hizam Mujali.

Gregory Johnson at Waq al-Waq says:

I think 'Adil al-'Abab, Ibrahim al-Rubaysh and Muhammad al-Rashad are much more important than Anwar al-'Awlaqi and Hizam Mujali. But there is little argument on the top three: Nasir al-Wahayshi, Said Ali al-Shihri and Qasimal-Raymi.

Johnson says al-Raymi is "the single most dangerous individual in the organization." While he was never at Gitmo, his brother is.

I also like this November, 2009 Australian think-tank study on the importance of AQAP's relationship with the tribes in Yemen.[More...]

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Obama to Halt Detainee Transfers to Yemen

And so it begins. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today said they are halting the transfer of cleared detainees to Yemen:

"One of the very first things Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula used as a tool was Gitmo," Gibbs said. "We're not going to make transfers to a country like Yemen that they're not capable of handling (the detainees). While we remain committed to closing the detention facility, the determination has been made that right now any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea."

This is unacceptable. Many of these men have been held 9 years, without charges. Many should never have been arrested in the first place. Sending them to Illinois for more indefinite detention is not only unfair to them, it will engender further animosity towards the U.S. and further devalue our core values and principles. [More...]

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More Primers on AQAP

As al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to dominate the news, more news organizations are coming out with primers. Here's one from The New Republic.

A major point that needs to be made more is that this is an off-shoot of the central al Qaida associated with Osama bin Laden.

AQAP represents what many consider Yemen's second generation of Al Qaeda--and while the group may have ties to "Al Qaeda central," the organization appears to act independently. Counterterrorism officials believe AQAP has learned from its recent past and built an organization that can withstand the loss of its leadership. Savvy in delivering its message, the group even has its own magazine, Salah al Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which covers everything from biographies of suicide bombers to advice columns on how to become an Al Qaeda foot soldier.


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U.S. and U.K. Close Yemen Embassies

The U.S. and U.K. closed their embassies in Yemen due to threats by al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP.)

The embassy statement is here.

Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan told ABC's This Morning:

“I spoke with our ambassador in Sana, Steve Seche, early this morning and last night, looked at the intelligence that is available as far as the plans for al Qaeda to carry out attacks in Sana, possibly against our embassy, possibly against U.S. personnel,” Mr. Brennan said. “We decided it was the prudent thing to do to shut the embassy.”


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AQAP and Terrorism Related Events in Yemen and Saudi Arabia

It's not easy learning about events that have been going on for some time in another country. Here is a chronological account of al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and other terror-related events in Yemen and Saudi Arabia I've compiled from the update section of the last ten issues of The Sentinel published this year. The Sentinel is the publication of The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. I'm mostly posting it as a reference point since I've been trying to get up to speed and want the information in one place, and the easiest way to do that is to post it.

The list includes events from from December, 2008 through November, 2009. [More...]

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Obama Directly Blames AQAP in Yemen For Detroit Attack

Even though Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, an off-shoot of the central al Qaeda took responsibility last week for the failed Detroit plane attack of Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, today was the first time that President Obama directly accused the group. In his radio address, he said:

"We know that [Mr Abdulmutallab] travelled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty and deadly insurgencies," said Mr Obama, who is on holiday in Hawaii.

"It appears that he joined an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and that this group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America."

Obama also discussed the U.S. planned response: [More...]

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UK to Host International Summit on Yemen, U.S. to Attend

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced a global summit on aid to Yemen to assist the country in eliminating the increasing number of radical extremists and al Qaida members who have moved there, in hopes of making it their next safe haven.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend.

Mr Brown will spend the next few days attempting to persuade Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, and other Gulf states to join forces with Britain and the US.

Brussels has expressed strong support for the initiative. The Prime Minister hopes that, between them, they can provide enough aid to offer Yemenis an alternative to radical Islam ....Mr Brown said yesterday: “The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism.”

This is welcome news. [More...]

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Abdulmutallab : Keeping Focus As The Story Changes

There's so much anonymous source material being touted in news articles, it's difficult to ascertain who's got the details right.

ABC News now has a different version of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father's reasons for contacting authorities regarding his son. Now, it's an alarming last phone call he made to his father.

ABC News' sources said that during Abdulmutallab's final call, he told his father the call would be his last contact with the family. He said that the people he was with in Yemen were about to destroy his SIM card, rendering his phone unusable.

And, the father went to Nigerian intelligence authorities who promptly took him to the CIA. [More...]

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Strategies for Neutering Al Qaida in Yemen

After reading countless news articles and think tank reports on al Qaida Arab Peninsula (AQAP), its leaders, its presence in Yemen and merger with the Saudi al Qaida's, I think this November 2009 analysis by the Human Security Group Project is most on target.

AQAP can't survive in Yemen without the support of the tribes. Lots of other groups have been treating the rebel insurgents and AQAP as one. This group doesn't and its report presents strategies to keep the rebels and tribes from joining up with AQAP.

Western policy should focus on degrading AQAP’s leadership and breaking this developing tribal nexus in a timely fashion without becoming too overtly involved.

U.S. threats to go after al Qaida are unlikely to do the trick. The economic and other problems in Yemen must also be addressed -- by them. [More...]

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Old News: Gitmo Detainee Released in 2007 Involved in Al Qaida in Yemen

It's been known for a long time that Said Ali al Shihri, believed to be al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) second-in-command was released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. Same for the second Guantanamo detainee Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, whose name is now Abu-al-Harith Muhammad al-Awfi. In other words, this ABC news story is not news.

Both were featured in the January, 2009 video announcing the formation of AQAP contained in Sada al-Malahim, (Arabic for “The Echo of Battle”), the group's online magazine. In January, 2009, the Stratford Group, had this long article on AQAP, the two released Gitmo detainees and why the Saudi's "rehabilitation" efforts to deprogram and reprogram them may have failed. [More...]

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