Yemen’s Bigger Problem Is How To Deal With Resurgence Of Islamist Groups

September 3, 2019

Amidst the fight for freedom and ownership in Yemen, the more pressing issue coming to light is the resurgence of terrorist outfits such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (Daesh).

The civil war that has devastated the basic fabric of life on the Yemenis has become a perfect breeding ground of Muslim Brotherhood supported terrorist factions.

More severely affected is the South of Yemen where, despite UAE led forces having driven out AQAP from all its strongholds, almost three years ago. It seems as if they had never gone.

According to various social media discussions, comments, video posts by Al-Qaeda itself, and document shared by Yemeni citizens with the media, this situation remains a bigger threat to Yemen, because of the underlying agenda of these terrorist groups.

While Houthis are looking at reclaiming what they have considered their own, they have no interest in being associated with any Islamist propaganda driven terrorist.

With the gradual domination of the Al Islah Party in the legitimate government of President Hadi , their long term association with AQAP and Daesh is proving to be of great support to the latter.

Al Islah it is confirmed through various sources, is the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Yemen, and has had a history of being hand-in-glove with such terrorist groups. They all share the extremist Islamist vision on the one hand, and continue to nurture an ulterior motive in the war-torn country match, to meet their economic gains off the rich oil and gas reserves.

Ali Muhsin Al Ahmar, the Vice President of Yemen who belongs to Al Islah Party has publicized his nexus to terrorist outfits in much farfare. All of Yemen is aware of this.

These terrorist groups are not hiding their terrorizing attempts in Yemen, either. Most of the times, Daesh and Al-Qaeda are publicing their attacks of army personnel, anti-terrorism squads on their websites itself.

On August 1, 2019, a suicide bomber called Aqil Al Muhajir attacked a police station in KhourMukassar district in Aden, resulting in the death of 11, including civilians. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack. The next day, on Friday, August 2, Al Qaeda terrorists attacked a camp belonging to the Security Belt in Al Mahfad. The terrorists were also seen marching in the streets until they were repelled by reinforcements from the Shabwa Elite Forces.

Yaser Al Hasani, a media officer working at the office of the President Hadi, tweeted on August 24 that the supply lines had been cut off to prevent the Security Belt reinforcements from traveling to Shabwa from Abyan. In a few hours of the tweet and indicating close coordination between elements in the government and terror outfits, Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for targeting Security Belt reinforcements on their way from Abyan to Shabwa. The list of such incidents is a long one. 

Al-Qaeda has been seen moving around in Afghani outfits in Yemen, fighting all the other smaller militant factions from inside. Supported by Al-Islah party, a coalition within Yemen, it is working its way into the minds of the innocent and war torn common man who is looking for a solution to meet his basic needs.

It is no surprise then that Al-Qaeda itself as taken to the social media. Through its various accounts, it is filling in news bits alleging that the Saudi led coalition and Houthis were working to destroy the people of Yemen. Instead, Al-Qaeda shows itself off as a humanitarian lot that is willing to provide, basic amenities. It will take a lot back in return, like has been happening in the past

Al-Qaeda’s only aim is to strengthen its financial networks, tailoring its ideology to attract disenfranchised Yemenis, and cooperating with local tribal factions in Yemen right now.

What is also interesting to note is how the Saudi-led coalition’s one sided focus on driving out the Houthis has gone in favou of the Al-Qaeda. It is done nothing more than social damage, leave alone economical damage but has also opened easy and comfortable avenues for Al-Qaeda to regroup in Yemen and use other smaller terror groups to fulfill its needs.

It continues to be a part of the Yemeni crises since 1998. Many cells were wiped out with the help of Saudi led coalition working in tandem with United States. However, sources have confirmed that Al-Qaeda continues to work within Yemen, with complete support from the Al-Islah party that is the backbone of Hadi’s government. Al-Qaeda has exploited the fact that the Saudi financed Al-Islah and the coalitions themselves are at war with Houthis. Latter are willing to side with this terror group, little realizing they are actually selling their soul to the devil itself.

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