By Nasser Arrabyee/07/07/2011
With the killing of the military commander of Al Qaeda in Abyan, the militant must have understood the government is still strong enough to defeat them.
The Saudi military commander Walid Mashafi Al Asiri, alias Abu Khaled Al Asiri, was killed with 40 others earlier this week in Zinjubar, the capital of Abyan, according to the ministry of defense.
Al Asiri, who is the wanted list for Saudi Arabia and Yemen, escaped from Saudi Arabia in 2007 to join Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Al Qaeda has become the biggest benefiter after the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia for treatment from injuries sustained in an attack on his Palace’s mosque on June 3rd.
With their new name, Shariah Partisans, Al Qaeda vows to control the whole south of Yemen after it declared at least two southern provinces as Taliban-style Islamic Emirates, including the province of Abyan and its capital Zinjubar where fierce battles renewed Tuesday July 5th,2011 at the outskirt of this city, which is only less than 50 km from Aden.
In an exclusive interview with the Yemen Observer , a tribal leader from the south, close to Al Qaeda leaders, said Al Qaeda now is determined more than ever before to enter the city of Aden to control the southern Yemen most strategic harbor on the Arabian Sea and Red Sea, where more three billion barrels of oil pass every day.
A total of 40 Al Qaeda fighters were killed, according military officials, on Tuesday July 5th, in battles with the government troops who tried to end about one month long blockade by Al Qaeda fighters on a military camp at the outskirt of Zinjubar and retake a stadium in the same area which was seized by Al Qaeda that killed about 30 soldiers and injured tens others inside the sporting site.
The Stadium, May 22, is only 30 km from Aden, on the highway between Aden and Abyan.
The tribal leader, Ali Abdul Salam, known as Mulla Zabara, said Al Qaeda leaders told him last Sunday “they are determined to enter Aden very soon” and that they would not accept any more mediation from now on.
Mulla Zabara, who is making mediation efforts between Al Qaeda and the government, failed for the second time in two days to get out dozens of dead bodies and injured soldiers who fell victims late last week when Al Qaeda fighters stormed the Stadium of May 22 at the outskirt of Al Qaeda held city of Zinjubar.
By such an attack, Al Qaeda apparently wanted to tighten the blockade on the military camp of 25 Mica, and get closer and closer to Aden.
Mulla Zabara is from Shabwah province which is also partly declared as Taliban-style Islamic Emirate, and he is a relative of one of the Al Qaeda leaders who are now ruling the province of Abyan as an Islamic Emirate.
The army shelled Al Qaeda leaders who were supposed to meet Mulla Zabara on Sunday making them to disappear in trees at the outskirt of Zinjubar. Two days earlier, airplanes bombings on Al Qaeda sites thwarted efforts of the mediator Mulla Zabara to reach the Stadium to take the dead and injured soldiers.
“After this second treacherous attack, Al Qaeda leader Fahd Al Qusu, called me saying (Do not mediate any more , do not believe them, they just want to kill us through you),” said Mulla Zabara who is cousin of Al Qusu.
Mulla Zabara said Al Qaeda told him they would not allow any mediators to come to take dead bodies or injured.
“They already buried about 25 dead bodies,” said Mulla Zabara.
He said for humanitarian reason he would continue mediations with Al Qaeda, but with his own conditions.
“I would tell those who ask me to mediate like the minister of defense, to bring their sons or brothers with me next time,” he said.
When asked why Al Qaeda trusts him and why it would trust him in the future, he said, “Al Qaeda people know me very well, they know I am not paid by the government, they know I want to do the good for the sake of God not for the money or any other thing,” He said.
“I do not hate Al Qaeda, why should I,” said Zabara who called himself Mulla as a sign of admiration of Al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan Mulla Omar.
In a previous meeting with Al Qaeda people earlier last month, Mulla Zabara said he met in Zinjubar important leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular like Qasem Al Raimi, and Saeed Al Shihri, the Saudi leader. “I think ever one is there now,” he said.
About the blockaded military camp of 25 Mica in Zinjubar, Al Qaeda said they are ready to let them go but without any weapons or equipments. The camp became under the siege after Al Qaeda completely controlled the capital of Abyan, Zinjubar, late last May.
Airstrikes and military operations from the besieged camp and other reinforcement units forced more than 50,000 people to displace to the neighboring provinces of Aden and Lahj.
“We will keep imposing the siege on them until they surrender or die,” Mulla Zabara quoted his cousin Fahd Al Qusu, one of Al Qaeda leaders who is one of the most wanted by the CIA. “We are determined to enter Aden sooner or later.”
Politically, the acting President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi confirmed this week that President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is now recovering in Saudi Arabia,would stay as President until a new president is elected.
In a televised interview he said he has all powers to talk with all parties and sign any document to implement the US-backed and Saudi-led GCC deal. He is accepted by all opposition parties, defected general Ali Muhsen and the tribal leaders.
The commander of the highly qualified and most trained and equipped forces, the Republican Guards, Ahmed Ali, son of Saleh, also declared last week he would do his best to support Mr. Hadi for ending the crisis.
Ahmed’s public declaration was the first ever since the crisis erupted earlier this year.
The opposition however wants the power to be transferred to Hadi now.
But opposition is not united. To pressure for transferring the power to Hadi, they inspire their young people in the streets to demand a transitional council although they know, nobody would recognize such a council. This week, the opposition coalition met to discuss the possibility of forming a transitional council to appease the young people in the streets.
One of the opposition leaders after that meeting said it’s only a recompilation or war.
“Yemeni now have only two options: either to reconcile or to go to destroying war,” said Dr Abdul Malik Al Mutawkil, member of the high council of the opposition coalition which includes Islamists, Socialists, and Nasserites ( Arab nationalists).
“All Yemenis should be represented in the new State to be established,” said Al Mutawakil, who is alos secretary general the opposition party of popular forces federation, small Islamic party, Shiite, in the coalition which dominated by the Suni Islamist party Islah, brotherhood.
The assistant secretary general of the Socialist party, Yahya Abu Asbu, criticized the Americans, Europeans and Saudi Arabia describing them as “enemies of revolutions”.
“The US, EU, and Saudi Arabia threatened not to recognize the transitional council, but I’m wondering when the great revolutions took permits from their enemies,” Abu Asbu told hundreds protesters in the main sit-in square at the gate of Sana’a university.
The spokesman of the ruling party, Tarik Al Shami said, “Any talk about transitional council is a provocative act, and desperate and failed attempt to overthrow the constitutional legitimacy.”
The government is also battling the saboteurs and tribal rebels who exploited the unrest and bombed oil pipelines and electrical pylons making the daily life of the people worse and worse.
On Tuesday July 5th, the ministry of interior published the names and photos of 59 tribesmen loyal to the Islamist party from Arhab district north of the capital as wanted for charges of blocking the roads and attacking the check points and military camps.
The ministry allocated 15,000 US dollars for any information leading to arrest any one of them.
Last week, the ministry published the names and photos of 53 tribesmen from Marib province loyal to the Islamist party as wanted for charges of blowing the main pipeline of oil last March which caused a total stop of oil production.
Earlier this week, the Yemeni army said in statement , it is confronting Al Qaeda in Abyan, and the sympathizers of Al Qaeda in three other places nowadays.
In Arhab, 40km north of the capital Sana’a, Al Haima, about 60 km west of the capital, and Taiz about 260 km south of the capital.
The statement mentioned three tribal leaders from these places as the leaders of the popular army of the Islamist opposition party, Islah or brotherhood.
Mansour Al Hanik in Arhab, Rabish Wahban in Al Haima, and Hamoud Saeed Al Mekhlafi in Sharab,