By Nasser Arrabyee/19/04/2011
Al Qaeda will likely strengthen in Yemen after collapse of the regime of President Ali Abdulla Saleh, said an expert on Al Qaeda affairs on Monday.
“The new regime after President Ali Abdullah Saleh will take time at least to become as hard as Saleh on Al Qaeda,” said Saeed Obaid Al Jimhi, chairman of the Al Jimhi Centre for Studies, a local think tank specialized on Al Qaeda affairs.
“They(Al Qaeda leaders) think Saleh was the worst and hardest to them.”
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is now playing politics more than terrorism, taking as much advantages as possible from the 3-month old unrest, according to Al Jimhi, the author of the book ‘Al Qaeda in Yemen’.
“They know that any terrorist operation would be in the interest of President Saleh, so they are turning to politics now,” said Al Jimhi in an interview in his house on Monday.
Al Qaeda would likely keep silent if the Islamist opposition party, Islah, that leads a coalition of Socialists and Nasserites, ruled after the semi-secular regime of President Saleh.
“Not because they (Al Qaeda) agree with the Islamists of Islah, but to take a while to prove for their sympathizers these Islamists are more corrupt than Saleh as they always say ,” said Al Jimhi.
Because AQAP now is playing politics more than anything else, it does not show any anger over the statements of the Islamists that they would be more serious partners in combating terrorism than Saleh when they rule.
The opposition apparently wants to reassure the west and US in particular, although local they play down the threats of Al Qaeda and keep saying it was made by the regime.
“AQAP would start fighting the new regime, whether Islamists or whoever, when this new regime starts to prevent them from fighting the Americans,” said Al Jimhi.
The representatives of the Yemeni opposition and Saleh’s government are now in the Saudi capital finding out a solution for their crisis according to a US-backed and Saudi-led GCC plan for transferring the power smoothly and peacefully from President Saleh to someone or a group who could establish a regime that would continue the fight on Al Qaeda.
Dr. Adel Al Shuja’a, chairman of Future Centre for Researches, warned all conflicting parties in Yemen from any attempt to turn to violence for taking the power.
Al Shuja’a urged both sides to do their best for ending the crisis and avoiding bloodshed through dialogue and compromise .
“Refusing dialogue means wanting to take power by force, and this means overthrow on constitution and other principles, and this means returning to square of zero,” said Dr. Al Shuja’a.