Al-Qaeda may hinder political progress

Published on 2 February 2012 in News
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Armed men thought to have links with Al-Qaeda reportedly withdrew from Rada’a because they lacked a sufficient presence to maintain control of the district.

Armed men thought to have links with Al-Qaeda reportedly withdrew from Rada’a because they lacked a sufficient presence to maintain control of the district.

SANA'A, Feb. 1 — A recent report carried out by the Abaad Center for Studies and Research has warned of the potential for certain Yemeni cities to fall to Al-Qaeda.

The center also warned about a repeat of a 'Rada'a and Abyan' scenario in other governorates such as Ibb, Al-Dhale, Lahj, Aden and Hadhramout.

However, the report ruled out Al-Qaeda's ability to take control of any city without direct and indirect support from relevant parties in the two-year transitional period.

The report indicated that the reason behind the withdrawal of Al-Qaeda militants from Rada'a last week was a failure by Al-Qaeda to recruit an enough people to maintain control of the city.

"Al-Qaeda took advantage of a political vacuum to strengthen its base," said the report.

It called for the unity government to urgently put together a plan to deal with Al-Qaeda and start a dialogue and discussion with Al-Qaeda members.

Last week, Ansar Al-Sharia (Sharia supporters), a group that falls under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda, called for “all Muslims” to implement Sharia and to not remain silent on corruption.

Ansar Al-Sharia easily took control of Rada'a last month, causing panic among locals. They later withdrew following an agreement between them and tribesmen.

However, it's expected that Al-Qaeda is going to will attempt to seize other cities and exploit unrest in the country.

Ayesh Awas, a security researcher at the Saba Center for Strategic Studies, told the Yemen Times that Al-Qaeda movement and expansion will negatively affect political progress and lead to security tensions.

"It's not reasonable to hold elections in the areas of conflict," he said.

Awas said that Al-Qaeda is sometimes used as a “gun for hire.” He added, "In recent days, there's no one Al-Qaeda, but rather many groups that work under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda."

"Any Al-Qaeda activities will target the Gulf initiative and the powers that support this initiative," he added.

Abdul-Salam Mohammed, head of the Abaad Center for Studies and Research, said that Al-Qaeda movement poses a danger to the Gulf initiative's success.

Mohammed partly holds the international community responsible. "They're responsible for this movement because they didn't tighten their supervision of Al-Qaeda in Yemen."

Mohammed told the Yemen Times that it's been proven that some security officers were accomplices of Al-Qaeda.

He said if all parties exhibit honesty and seriousness, Al-Qaeda will cease to exist. "There would be no problem if the Prime Minister, for example, decided to enter into a dialogue with Al-Qaeda to discuss what their demands are."

Mohammed expects that Al-Qaeda will transfer its operational center from Afghanistan to Yemen and warned that this would lead to a significant in-country American military presence.

"Any American military intervention means that Yemen will turn into another Afghanistan or Somalia," he warned.

Mohammed said that there are those who benefit from Al-Qaeda movement. "It's strange that Al-Qaeda militants took control of Central Security in Rada'a without fighting.”