Thursday, July 5, 2012

YemenWatch: July 5, 2012

Things really went crazy in Yemen right after I went on hiatus.  Sorry I wasn't here to keep you apprised of the situation.  Here's a summary of current events.

More clashes in Ta'iz.  It's not quite clear who is doing the fighting.  It looks like the military attacked a neighborhood affiliated with Sheikh al-Mikhlafi.  Iran is also getting into the picture, with money and even possibly weapons training for certain Yemenis in Ta'iz.

Abyan Province is in horrible condition after fighting with the AQAP-group Ansar al-Sharia.  As many as 200,000 people have been displaced and land mines are a severe problem.

The Yemeni military, tribal fighters, and the United States have been trying to drive AQAP forces out of Abyan Province.  Yesterday the Yemeni air force carried out several air strikes.

The US has accused Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani of supporting terrorism, which he denies.  Sheikh al-Zindani is a member of the Islah Party and founder of Al-Iman University in Sana'a.

The Marib oil pipeline is almost repaired following attacks last year and this year by saboteurs.

Yemeni security forces arrested 14 suspected Al-Qa'eda members, 9 of them non-Yemeni.

Three Yemeni fishing vessels were arrested by Eritrean forces, although it's unclear if they were actually encroaching on Eritrean waters.

Saudi Arabia no longer has an embassy in Yemen, since it's vice-consul was kidnapped in March.  Many Yemenis are very upset that they may not be able to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.  The Kingdom is not allowing Yemenis in on tourist or work visas.  A number of prospective pilgrims held marches in Sana'a and Tai'zz.  There was a new video this week from vice-consul Al-Khalidi asking for the release of female AQAP prisoners in exchange for him.

I'm not sure what's going on in Aden.  There are reports of the southern separatist movement (Al-Harak) fighting the military.  There was also a prison break.

There was a prison break in Al-Hodeida.  Five AQAP member escaped.

Something is going on with some security forces and the Transportation Minister (Waeed Bazeeb of the Yemeni Socialist Party).  This is the 3rd time his convoy has been shot at.

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