By Nasser Arrabyee, 16/08/2013
Yemen is witnessing an unprecedented war from the sky. More than 40 Al Qaeda suspects were killed over 10 days by 13 US drone attacks mostly on moving targets in different places of the country.
With this fact in mind, and with some observers saying Al Qaeda is getting weaker and weaker, the top leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen Nasser Al Wuhayshi threatened after all those drone attacks that he would raid on maximum security prisons of intelligence to get out his "brothers" to let them fight with him.
The unprecedented drone attacks on Yemen came after allegations based on intelligence leaks from both US and Yemen that Al Wuhayshi had been ordered by his boss Eyman Zawaheri to implement big terror operations on Western embassies and gas and oil facilities of Yemen.
In a statement attributed to Al Wuhayshi and published in Al Qaeda-linked websites on Monday August 12, 2013, Yemen Al Qaeda top leader said,''We ask God to make us a cause for unlocking your incarceration and relieving your agony."
''Your brothers are pounding the walls of injustice and the thrones of oppression. These walls and thrones are coming down every day and victory is but one step. Victory is one hour of perseverance,'' said Al Wuhayshi who himself broke the Yemen maximum security intelligence prison of Sanaa in February 2006 along with 22 inmates.
20 of them were killed or re-arrested later except for Al Wuhayshi and two low-profile other men.
The Yemeni expert on Al Qaeda affairs, Abdul Razak Al Jamal commented on Monday to the Ahram Weekly that the statement aimed to raise the morale of Al Qaeda fighters and sympathizes after the painful repeated drone attacks.
"Al Wuhayshi wanted to say to his enemies: we are still here steadfast, and at the same time raise morale of his remaining fighters and also giving hope to prisoners," said Al Jamal who met many of Al Qaeda leaders.
The recent drone attacks, between July 28th, and August 10th, 2013, came during and after a White House meeting between Yemen President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and President Barack Obama for discussing Yemen Al Qaeda threats.
These attacks caused a lot of public anger especially the fact that the drones continued flying over the capital Sanaa for two days day and night for the first time during Eid Al Fetr.
Despite their announced approval, President Hadi and his government were in a big embarrassing situation especially after US and western embassies closed and evacuated their staff. Violation of sovereignty by drones was the most controversial issue among Yemenis although they know of the government approval and cooperation and coordination.
" The US and Yemen governments were very skillful in creating justifications for these drone attacks this time, only to reduce the reactions of the people," said Al Jamal.
He said "This time, the Americans with Yemeni cooperation recorded many targets and they wanted to strike them all but before the strikes they were concerned about angry reactions," He said.
Al Jamal believes that they made two lies: The American lied about the alleged imminent threats and closures of embassies and evacuation of staff. And the Yemen lied about the oil facilities when they said Al Qaeda was planning to destroy oil facilities.
"The two sides were lying to justify the repeated attacks," Al Jamal said.
His assessment for those killed by those attacks is that most of them were from middle level and at least 8 of the 40 killed were Saudi nationals.
The Saudi national leading member Ibrahim Al Rubaish might have been among them, and if confirmed this would be big loss for Al Qaeda. Al Rubaish is the deputy head of Al Qaeda in Yemen now replacing Saeed Al Shehri who was killed by drones early this this year and his death was confirmed by Qaeda spokesman Al Rubaish only in the middle of last July.
The expert Al Jamal said Al Rubaish might have been killed in the strike of Al Nakaba of Sayid Shabwah on July 30th, 2013.
The last drone strike killed 2 Al Qaeda suspects and seriously injured one after they left their car and escaped walking in an area called Askaria between Yafe'e and Radfan in southern province of Lahj on August 10th.
The drone strike of August 7th, at Damasheka Abeida Mareb east of the county, three brothers fighting with Al Qaeda were killed by drones and they are identified by ministry of interior as the terrorists, Abdullah Kayed Salem Afraj, Al Hassan Kayed Salem Afraj, Al Hussein Kayed Salem Aftaj,
From Raghan, Dahm tribe, Mareb.
Ahram Weekly local sources said the older brother Abdullah is known to everyone as Qaeda member, he started by making money from the slain Anwar Al Awlaki in return for easing his movements between Mareb, Al Jawf and Shabwah. Awlaki was killed by US drones on September 30, 2011.