Biscuits and chocolates from Turkey to poison Yemen
Turkish ambassador: it was smuggling attempt.
By Nasser Arrabyee,07/11/2012
A cargo of smuggled weapons was discovered this week in the harbor of Aden ,south of Yemen. More than 3000 Glock pistols and their accessories hidden in biscuit boxes, stirred a lot of controversy about who was behind such a dangerous cargo and why now when political tension remains high and assassinations continue.
The cargo came from the Turkish harbor of Mersin and passed through the Saudi harbor of Jedda before arriving in the Yemeni harbor of Aden.
The Turkish ambassador in Sanaa, Fazil Corman denied that his government had anything to do with cargo. " It was an attempt of smuggling arms, it was illegal activity, and investigations are going on to know who was behind it," said Corman in a press conference held in Sanaa.
After a big clamor and rumors that these pistols were supposed to be used for more political assassinations with the aim of controlling the political process, the Yemeni authorities quickly announced that it would deal with the smuggled cargo according to the Yemeni law.
And they also announced a name of unknown businessman who might have been deceived by influentials to put his name in the documents of the cargo of
" biscuits and chocolates". Some observers even say the name written in the documents is an unreal because there is no yet comments from his side.
Accusations are exchanged between three groups which have alleged connections with regional States. The first group is the largest Islamist Sunni party, Islah ( Yemen brotherhood) which is accused of having links with the ruling Islamist party of Turkey.
And second is the group of Al Houthi Shiite rebels who are accused of having links with Iran. The third group is the southern separatist movement, Hirak, which is also accused of receiving support from Iran.
The Al Houthi and Hirak groups accused the influential tribal leader of Islah, Hamid Al Ahmar of having imported the cargo of pistols with the aim of implementing political assassinations against activists from the two groups.
"The cargo was imported for Hamid Al Ahmar by the leading member of Islah in Aden, Nabil Ghanim," said Ali Al Bukhaiti, leading activist in the group of Al Houthi " Nabil Ghanim assigned his friend Adnan Sabu to do the procedures of customs clearance, and both of them were working for Hamid who is smart enough not to put his name in the documents of the cargo."
The political activist Al Bukhaiti said in a statement sent to media that the cargo of weapons would not have passed through Turkey and Saudi Arabia without coordination with intelligence of these countries.
"Turkey supports the brotherhood in Yemen and Saudi Arabia supports tribesmen and Salafis and Islah to confront Ansar Allah," he said. Al Houthi group call themselves Ansar Allah.
And on his part, the secretary general of Hirak, Hassan Al Yazydi said,"The cargo belongs to Hamid Al Ahmar."
In March 2011, a similar cargo of pistols coming from Turkey was discovered in Dubai. Accusation fingers were pointed to Hamid Al Ahmar, the Islamist billionaire and tribal influential leader who is known of his high political ambitions.
Al Ahmar family and Sunni Islamist of Islah accuses the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters and his party of supporting Al Houthi and Hirak.
They also accuse a businessman from Saada called Hashem Abu Meskah of being behind the cargo.
Regardless of who was behind the cargo of weapons, it is very dangerous indication to Yemen which tries to hold national dialogue in the middle of this month in an attempt to find a political formula to contain all these groups under one State.
All Yemeni media outlets and social media are spending most of their time talking and arguing about such a dangerous deal.
However, the national unity government kept silent. The chairman of Yememi customs authority, Mohammed Mansour Zemam, said that the cargo of weapons seized in Aden harbor belongs to a Yemeni businessman based in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
In an official statement to the state-run agency (Saba) Zemam identified the unknown businessman as Rashid Saleh Abdu Al Badani, whose tax number is 0154069.
The official Zemam said that the cargo contains 3171 pistols and their accessories.
According to information obtained from the chamber of commerce in Sanaa, the businessman Al Badani got the license of importing only four months ago. And his license is for importing electrical equipments under the name ' Universal Company for Importing'. Because of corruption and connections, more than 60 percent of the licenses are given to delusive businessmen who are exploited by influentials to import suspicious deals, according to sources in the chamber of commerce.