Friday, 16 August 2013

Why all these drone attacks on Yemen at once?!

Nasser Arrabyee, 16/08/2013
The Yemen Al Qaeda second man might have been killed in one of the 13 recent drone attacks on Yemen where more than 40 Al Qaeda suspects killed over 10 days. 
The Saudi national Ibrahim Al Rubaish, deputy head of AQAP, was the second target of those attacks that happened on July 30th, 2013 in Nakabah area, district of Sayeed district  of southern province of Shabwah.
Earlier this month, and amid the media frenzy about big imminent terror attacks, the Yemeni government published names of 25 men labeled as terrorists behind the security and military assassinations and those terror threats. 
The top of that list was the Saudi Ibrahim  Al Rubaish who replaced the slain Saudi Saeed Shihri as deputy of AQAP, though not yet officially announced as deputy. If death of Al Rubaish is confirmed, this would be a significant success for these  recent drone attacks. 
" I am not excluding the death of Ibrahim Al Rubaish in Nakabah drone strike, but we have to wait for statements from Al Qaeda," said Qaeda expert, Yemen researcher Abdul Razak Al Jamal who had access into inner circles and interviewed many leaders of Al Qaeda. 
Security sources said that 3 of the 25 were arrested  this week in neighborhood of Sunainah, western part of the capital Sanaa where young people calling themselves Shabab Mujahid, or Jihadist youth. There are at least 2 more similar neighborhoods in Sanaa city:  Musaik and Sawan known to many locals as neighborhoods of Jihadists activities. 
Yemen President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi met US ambassador to Sanaa Gerald Feiestein on Tuesday August 13th, the first day after Eid AlFetr holidays.  
Although US embassy was still closed due to alleged terror threats, the meeting between Hadi and Feierstien gave impression that the two governments felt they overreacted the threats to the extent that they helped Al Qaeda in a way or another. The embassy would remain closed even after such a meeting, according to diplomatic sources. 
The meeting was to  discuss the terror threats and alerts that led to closures of embassies and evacuation of staff from Sanaa, according to the official news agency.
The minister  of defense, Mohammed Nasser Ahmed shortly after the meeting of Hadi and Feierstien played down the terror threats as " limited" saying that security forces deal with them  wisely capably.
Security sources, however, said that authorities are taking serious  specific threats released this week by Qaeda top leader Nasser Al Wuhayshi to storm prisons and let his men go. 
The sources said that about 60 Qaeda prisoners were transferred from the intelligence maximum security prisons in Sanaa and Aden to secret places in the country as precautionary measures after such threats.
''We ask God to make us a cause for unlocking your incarceration and relieving your agony,'' said Al Wuhayshi in a statement published Monday by Qaeda-linked website that was described by experts as reliable. The words of this sentence indicate that suicide bombing can be used for breaking the jails where Al Qaeda prisoners have been languishing for a long time. 
The expert Al Jamal said the statement was important to say "We are still here"  to raise morale of remaining fighters and give hope for prisoners and sympathizes. 
Also  he belittled the terror threats came from the two governments of Yemen and US. 
" 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 " The new thing this time is that the Americans with Yemeni cooperation recorded many targets and they wanted to strike them all at once , but before the strikes they were concerned about angry reactions," He said.
Al Jamal criticized the simi-ruling Muslim brotherhood and wondered why they kept silent after all these interventions and  violation of sovereignty.
"They were talking day and night about violation of sovereignty now they are not, if they  keep silent over drone attacks, they would be silent also over any direct American occupation," said Al Jamal.
The recent drone attacks caused a lot of anger and resentment especially after a lot of  Yemenis saw  with their eyes drones flying over their capital Sanaa during Eid holidays. 
Many activists of twitter and Facebook made a lot critical comments and jokes about President Hadi's last visit to White House. Drones started while Hadi was still paying  thar official visit to US late last July. 
The drone attack of August 7th killed three brothers in Damashekah Abeidah  Mareb, and the ministry of interior  labeled them as terrorists and identified them as :1- Abdullah Kayed Salem Afra, 2-Al Hassan Kayed Salem Afraj 3-Al Hussein Kayed Salem Aftaj, From Raghan, Dahm tribe, Mareb east of the country.
My local sources said  the older brother, Abdullah  is known to everyone as Qaeda member, he started by making money from Anwar Al Awlaki in return for easing his movements  between Mareb, Al Jawf and Shabwah. 
Local sources are not sure about the two younger brothers.
However, another source  from Mareb ( closer to the youth meaning Qaeda)  told me  that all the three brothers were with the "youth" meaning  Al Qaeda.
 For strike of August 6th, in Markha area of Shabwah,  the locals found only their man from the neighboring village of Naseen tribe, Sarhan Abdullah Ali Al Dhumluki.
 His family and tribe came immediately after the strike and found him only. Family and relatives buried Sarhan immediately. One of those who  attended the funeral said Sarhan was known as Qaeda local leader. 
Qaeda  men came before local residents and took 4 dead bodies, according to the locals. 
However, in the strike of August 1, Al Qaeda came after the strike and took all victims including a local young man who was given only a ride by Al Qaeda men who were driving nearby his village At Wadi Ser between Sayoun and Kutn. All the men were Saudis according to locals. 
Locals identified them as  Makdad Al Sayeri and two of his  brothers.
The local man, killed was from a known family called Ishak. 
Local residents from Al Kutn told me  that another Qaeda car came and  took all dead bodies including the local man, who had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. Until now the family of Ishak is looking for their son in his 20s not a  child  as reported by some media. 
" Although we need another way to fight Qaeda other than  the drones, but we are not angry at all, we do not know those people, they are Saudis and wanted by their government and they are doing problems to us by staying here," said Aref..

"For our son who was killed with them, that was his fate to be with them at that time," said Aref over phone from Al Kutn.

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