Al-Qaeda attempts to disrupt Yemen’s transition period
“Security and stability is the first enemy for Al-Qaeda. When the organization [Al-Qaeda] felt things are changing towards a stable Yemen, it hurried in operations to confuse the new regime headed by Hadi,” he said.
The death toll from the attacks against the Yemeni army was raised on Tuesday to 139 soldiers across a number of different military units in Abyan.
The recent attacks by the armed militants against Abyan army bases have been widely condemned both domestically and internationally, with statements demanding a swift response to reduce Al-Qaeda activity in area.
The US condemned the attacks in Abyan last Sunday, stressing its continued support of the newly elected president of Yemen and the Yemeni people in their endeavor to achieve a better future for their country and to pursue its fight against terrorism.
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, conveyed in a statement last Monday her condolences to all the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims of the brutal assault. She considered the assault to be an act demonstrating the utter indifference and apathy towards human life shown by Al-Qaeda towards the people of the Arabian Peninsula.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice-President of the European Commission, on Monday also denounced the recent attacks in Abyan. She stressed that the EU is determined not to allow the violence to hinder the process of power transition in Yemen.
Ashton said in a phone call with President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday that the European Union will continue to support the ambitions of the Yemeni people to reach a better and brighter future, so that the Yemeni people will be able to build a democratic, civil, safe, and inclusive state. She affirmed the EU’s firm backing of the efforts of President Hadi to move forward in this transitional phase in Yemen.
She also reaffirmed the EU’s bid for all parties concerned in the political process of Yemen to engage sincerely in the upcoming national dialogue and to discuss constitutional reforms. She stressed that the EU understands the dire need to confront Yemen’s economic challenges, and that it is ready to provide aid and support to help Yemen fulfill its objectives.
Ashton considered the presidential election held in Yemen to be a defining moment in this transitional phase, pointing out that Yemenis had expressed through the election an overwhelming response indicating that they want the beginning of a new era.
She also said that President Hadi realizes the tremendous challenges awaiting him, and that he informed her that the national dialogue will pave the way for a permanent reconciliation via political and economic reforms.
Call for investigation
The opposition coalition known as the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said in a statement released on Wednesday that “what happened in Abyan was plotted by some groups at this critical period of Yemen’s history.” They demanded President Hadi investigate “those who plotted this crime and bring them to court.”
Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar, the former minister of endowments and a member of the dialogue initiative with Al-Qaeda’s members in 2006, has condemned the recent incidents in Abyan. He demanded that the president and the interim government, as well as the military and security commission, form a neutral committee with members outside the armed and security forces to investigate these events, and to announce the results of the investigation to the Yemeni people so that they are aware of what is going on.
He also said in a press statement for Al-Sahwa.net that those terrorist operations and the severe damage inflicted on public and private property, which enabled the supporters of Al-Shariah to control a large amount of heavy and light weapons, cars, equipment, and ammunitions, raised the alarm for a great danger that should be urgently rectified.
He added, “if some of the armed forces and security forces are not able to protect themselves and their military bases, and maintain the weapons they hold and those under their care, how can these people protect the nation and its citizen?”
He stressed the need to take all necessary actions to recover the weapons controlled by extremist elements, eradicate all terrorism, and take legal actions against the perpetrators of those crimes, those who helped them, and those who intentionally failed to perform their duty – according to Islam and the law – to deter them and others and preserve the security and peace of the country.
Attempts to disrupt Yemen’s transition
Saeed Al-Jimhi, an expert on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, said that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which is based in Yemen is trying to take advantage of this time before the new Yemeni regime, which has a wide popularity in the country, consolidates its power.
He told the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that AQAP lives in a state of anxiety and fear because of the acceleration in the implementation the GCC Initiative for the transfer of power in Yemen. Almost half of the initiative has so far been completed, and this has prompted Al-Qaeda into rapidly carrying out several large terrorist operations.
“The terrorist operations of Al-Qaeda are self-motivated, but they are a result of the anxiety and fear of what will happen next. So it [Al-Qaeda] attempts to take advantage of this transition phase,” said Al-Jemhi.
He said that Al-Qaeda is very concerned by the radical political changes in the country and has tried to take advantage of the remaining elements of the former regime to implement its desired operations before conditions change.
He explained that Al-Qaeda attacked the institutions of the former regime which it accuses of being the agents and dependents of America.They want to legitimize their operations by moving away from the popular revolution.