Tag Archives: yemen

Foreign Military Instructors Killed in Yemen. Is al-Qaida to Blame?

Foreign Military Instructors Killed in Yemen.  Is al-Qaida to Blame?

In violence-prone Yemen, unknown gunmen killed two Belarussian military instructors in the capital of Sanaa on Tuesday, November 27, according to police and defense ministry sources. This shooting, in which the killers rode in on a motorcycle and began shooting,  is similar to other attacks that the Yemeni authorities have blamed on al Qaeda.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”incontentbox”]Yemen in recent years has been beset by internal violence and external intervention.  A Shia rebellion in the north sparked Saudi intervention a few years ago, Arab Spring-related protests led to a change in government, southern secessionism, which is a left-over from a past civil war, and an al-Qaida inspired rebellion that hits the news occassionally when American drones attack Qaida targets.


Osama bin Laden Biography

Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qa’ida Terrorist Organization

Osama bin Laden 

 Osama bin Laden (March 10, 1957-May 1, 2011) was the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, is reported to have been killed by U.S. forces in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 1, 2011. The evening of May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that bin Laden was killed by an American team in a compound deep inside Pakistan. After a firefight in which bin Laden was killed, the American forces took custody of bin Laden’s body.

Osama bin Laden came from a wealthy Saudi Arabian family of Yemeni origin. Bin Laden’s father gained his wealth as the owner of one the major construction firms in Saudi Arabia, and Osama bin Laden himself was trained in construction engineering. Osama bin Laden became radicalized largely through two significant events in recent history. The first was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a muslim country. Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan, as did many other young Arab men, to help the Afghans battle the atheistic Communist Soviets. The other radicalizing moment was the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia during and after the Gulf War of 1991.

In bin Laden’s particular world view, the Americans were latter-day Crusaders occupying the birthplace of Islam (Saudi Arabia), for the benefit of Christianity and the Zionists (Jews) occupying Palestine and Jerusalem. Jerusalem is holy city to Muslims, as well as to Christians and Jews. Taking the skills and networking contacts he gained in the Afghan War, bin Laden formed an organization he called al-Qaida. In Arabic, al-Qaida means “The Base”, or “Foundation.” Osama bin Laden intended al-Qaida to be the base or foundation upon which other Islamist individuals and groups could stand upon to wage war against Islam’s enemies (Christians, Jews, the West in general, and Shiite Muslims).

The first major attack by al-Qaida that actually brought the group and bin Laden into the American public’s view were terrorist bombings in Africa in 1998 that resulted in hundreds of deaths. The targets in those bombings were American Embassies.

Then, in 2000, al-Qaida attacked an American naval ship, the USS Cole, in Aden harbor. His next big attack took place on September 11, 2001, when his operatives hijacked four commercial airliners and launched them into buildings in New York and the Pentagon. In retaliation, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan, where bin Laden enjoyed protected status as an ally of the Taliban government there.

Ever since the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. has hunted for Osama bin Laden. On May 1, 2001, U.S. Navy Seals helicoptered into Pakistan, assaulted the compound where bin Laden was located, killed him in a firefight, and then” took his body into custody”, to use the words of President Obama, who gave a nationally televised speeche announcing the death of bin Laden.  See also: http://www.historyguy.com/bin_laden.html

The Sa'dah War in Yemen Appears To Be Over

The Sa’dah War in Yemen appears to be over, for now at least. The rebels have agreed to stop fighting the government and Yemen’s Saudi allies. This now allows the Yemen gov. to concentrate on the al-Qaida threat and the Southern secessionists. http://www.historyguy.com/yemen_saada_war.htm

Yemen With al-Qaida Threat May Be New Front In War

Yemen has long been connected to the family of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist organization. The bin Laden family originated in Yemen prior to settling in Saudi Arabia and becoming wealthy in the construction business. Like Afghanistan and Somalia, other favorite bases for al-Qaida, Yemen status as a nation with a fairly weak central government and the frequent conflicts inside Yemen’s borders makes the poor Arabian nation a good location for al-Qaida to hide, recruit, and plan further attacks on the West and on others. In October of 2000, al-Qaida operatives rammed a small boat into the side of an American warship, the USS Cole, blasting a hole in the side of the ship and killing 17 American sailors. A year later, in October, 2002, al-Qaida attacked a French oil tanker, killing one, and causing the spillage of 100,000 gallons of oil. In September, 2008, al-Qaida attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a in a car bomb attack followed by a gun battle with Embassy guards. The Yemeni government has worked with the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. in combating the al-Qaida presence in Yemen. In 2002, an American Predator drone controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed a vehicle in Yemen containing several al-Qaida operatives. Airstrikes against al-Qaida targets in Yemen in 2009, prior to the Christmas Day airliner attack, are believed to have been conducted with significant American aid, though officially the attacks were conducted by the Yemeni government.

In early January, 2010, General David Petraeus,..READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT: http://www.historyguy.com/yemen_history_wars_politics.htm

Saudi Forces Hit Yemeni Rebels Hard Along Border


Saudi artillery fires into Yemen


Saudi Arabia and Yemen are two arabic speaking Sunni
Muslim-majority nations on the Arabian penisula with a
long history of hostility toward each other. However,
both nations are battling al-Qaida rebels, and both have
concerns about the growing influence of Shiite-majority
Iran and its growing influence in the Arab world. Yemen
has battled a local Shiite insurgency (called the Houthi
Rebellion or the Saadah Insurgency), in the northernmost
region of the country near the Saudi border.

As the Shiite rebellion in Yemen grew, and appeared to
be receiving aid from Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, the
Saudis in turn aided the Yemeni government. The Yemeni
rebels launched an incursion into Saudi Arabia in early
November, and a Saudi soldier was killed by the so-called
al-Houthi rebels along the border on Novermber 4, 2009,
and on November 6, Saudi forces openly intervened in the
Yemeni war with air strikes near the border and artillery
fire on rebel positions inside Yemen.

Saudi officials reported that as of Nov. 8, Saudi
military casualties included three killed, 15 wounded,
and four missing. Saudi Arabia claimed to have regained
control Saudi territory seized by the Yemeni rebels the
week before. Smoke from airstrikes rose above the Jebel
al-Dukhan, a 6,600-foot tall mountain on the border
between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, near the town of




video of a Saudi
warplane over Yemen border


 Web and News
Links on the Saudi-Yemen Border Wars:


Saudi and Yemen battle Zaidi rebels–AFP, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudi Arabia says regains area seized by Yemen
–Reuters, Nov. 8, 2009

Forces Bomb Yemeni Rebels on Southern Border
Street Journal, Nov. 7, 2009 

Capture Saudi Soldiers, Saudi Bombing Yemen for Third
–Nov. 6, 2009

Factbook on Country or

on the country name (Yemen) at this site.

Incidents in Yemen, 1998
the Al-bab website.


Voices Defy Child Marriage in
29, 2008

protest in south Yemen
Jane Novak, for the Long War Journal, May 27,

Jane Novak, for the Long War Journal, January 2,

Saudi Air and Artillery Strikes in Aid of Yemen

The Sa’dah insurgency in northern Yemen began in June of 2004 with a rebellion led by the Shiite cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, head of the Shi‘a Zaidiyyah sect. Most of the fighting has taken place in Sa’dah Governorate (province) in northwesternmost Yemen.

In November of 2009, the Sa’ada insurgency took on an alarming new dimension, as Saudi Arabia openly intervened to aid the Yemeni government with air strikes and artillery barrages on the Shiite rebels.  Analysts see the Saudi participation partly as a pre-emptive strike to prevent the war from actually spreading into Saudi territory, but also as a move against Iran, which is believed to be aiding the rebels. Saudi Arabia and Iran have engaged in a long-running proxy conflict in the Gulf region, in the Iraqi civil war, and also in Lebanon, where Iran backs Hezbollah, and the Saudis support the Lebanese government.

Of interest is the fact that Saudi Arabia is aiding Yemen at all, given the fact they have a long history of dislike toward each other,  but the mutual threat from both Iran and al-Qaida (and their mutual alliance with the U.S.) appears to trump past history.

See also:



Yemeni Rebels Kill Baptist Hospital Workers

Nine foreign hostages were found dead in Yemen, near the Sa’dah region of northwestern Yemen.  The obvious suspects are the al-Houthi Shiite rebels who live and fight in that region, but they deny any involvement in the deaths a British engineer, his South Korean wife, a German doctor, his wife and their three children, and two other German women, believed to be nurses. The dead foreigners all worked in a hospital in Sa’dah, and worked for a Baptist Mission.  If that denial is true, then another suspect group, one which the Yemen government may prefer to blame, is al-Qaida’s local wing, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  The long-running fear among Western governments and analysts is that al-Qaida may be setting up shop in chaotic Yemen. 

Kidnapping is a common occurrence in Yemen, especially of foreigners, who may be worth some ransom money.  Killing those hostages is not common, due to the aforementioned financial value inherent in healthy, breathing captives.  This tends to make the possibility of the murderers being regular Yemeni rebels or entrepreneurs more remote.

The Yemeni government, embattled in the north by the al-Houthis, and facing a possible new front in the south around the port city of Aden with a new effort by southerners to secede, may welcome the chance to gain more Western aid if a threat by al-Qaida is seen.  The bodies were found in the el-Nashour area, which is slightly to the east of the Sa’dah areas where the al-Houthis are fighting.  Al-Qaida is known to have a base in the el-Nashour area.


Sources and Information:

3 foreign hostages found dead in Yemen, LA Times, June 15, 2009

British engineer among nine foreigners feared murdered in Yemen—Telegraph.co.uk, June 15, 2009

Hostages in Yemen Found Dead??!! Update: Six Alive??!!—-Armies of Liberation, June 15, 2009

Sa’dah al-Houthi Rebellion in Yemen (2004-Present)–www.historyguy.com

The Threat to Yemen: al-Qaida and the Perils of More War in Yemen

The Threat to Yemen: al-Qaida and the Perils of More War in Yemen

Yemen, that oddly-shaped nation on the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the world’s poorest nations with a very uneducated, illiterate population.  It is also a hotbed of violence, tribalism, insurgencies and protests against the weak central government, along with a history of civil war and conflicts among Yemen’s very different regions.  Most men in the rural mountains and deserts own guns, know how to use them, consider kidnapping foreigners a fun and profitable way to pass the time, and they don’t like their alleged central government telling them what to do.

Oh, and to top off the list of unfortunate things about Yemen, it is the traditional homeland of the bin Laden family, (yes, THAT bin Laden family!), and, according to U.S. military and intelligence sources, it is turning into a possible new safe haven for al-Qaida fighters and leaders as they look for a more out-fo-the-way place to lead their Jihad from.  Yemen gained notice in the U.S. in 2000 with the al-Qaida attack on the American warship, the USS Cole. The U.S. did not publicly respond to that attack, but after the al-Qaida attacks of September 11, 2001, Yemen sided with the United States, and began dealing with its own militant problem with American aid.  The U.S. also conducted Predator drone strikes against Jihadist/al-Qaida targets in Yemen, most likely with the knowledge of the Yemeni government.

In 2004, the Sa’dah Insurgency began in the northwestern tip of Yemen, with the Islamic cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, the leader of the Shiite  Zaidiyyah sect, launched an uprising against the Yemeni government. The Yemeni government also has problems in the south of the country, (which used to be the independent and avowedly Marxist/Socialist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen).  Southern Yemen is making noises about seceding from the northern-dominated government, and some analysts and commentators (http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35108&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=7&cHash=cf625c5341) claim that al-Qaida is getting involved in the southern protests and violence against the government.

So, why should the U.S. or any other Western nation care?  Look at the map of where Yemen lies.


Map of Yemen and Surrounding Region

Map of Yemen and Surrounding Region

Yemen is next to Saudi Arabia, and across the Bab al Mandeb (narrow straits separating Arabia from Africa) lies Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia.  Most of the Somali pirate action is in the Gulf of Aden, which lies between southern Yemen and Somalia. A LOT of the world’s oil supply travels through those waters, and a seriously unstable Yemen on the scale of pre-2001 Afghanistan or the present-day Somalia is bad news for Saudi Arabia and Western interests.

The potential for a new Yemeni North/South War (past North/South conflicts erupted in 1972, 1979, and 1994) is serious and could spell trouble for the whole region.  This bears watching…

 Some websites and blogs of interest regarding Yemen:

Waq al-Waq

Jane Novak’s Yemen Articles

Wars of Yemen (1914-Present)