Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Yemen Wed June 8, updates: Proxy War in Abyan

Late update: Saleh: late night in Sanaa and Taiz, over two hours of heavy gunfire so far from pro-Saleh forces shooting in air at news of his return or good health. Simultaneous in Dhamar, Hadramout. In Aden, govt cars seen shooting live rounds (more celebration?) Over 20 wounded in Sanaa arrive at the field hospital. According to friends in Saudi Arabia, theres no report airing about Saleh’s good health and return, and Mareb Press just retracted the report that Saleh wanted to return in 24 hours. However “celebratory” gunfire continuing for hours already. The RG is going to be cranky tomorrow.

Sanaa: Ali Mohsen meets US, EU ambassadors; forces intercept two attacks on Acting President Hadi’s compound. Reports also disbursed protesters demanding a transition council, near Hadis compound, dozens injured. Vid, al Khaiwani arguing with Askar Zoail, Ali Mohsen’s extremist office manager who incited soldiers with sermons on jihad against the Houthis at a mosque in the fifth Saada war. Al Khaiwani was later nearly kidnapped. Later video indicates Zoali’s forces shooting into the air. See below for Mohsen’s role in Abyan fighting.

JMP: did not meet with Hadi, expect to meet within two days; seek Hadi’s formal declaration that Saleh’s reign is over, threaten to unilaterally create transitional council with protesters.

Protesters: demand transitional council immediately in mass demo, “In Sana’a, a spokesman for the youth-led protesters in the change square outside Sana’a University said, after thousands of people marched Street 60th, they had given a 24-hour deadline for the concerned political parties to form a transitional council otherwise the revolutionaries will do that.”

Taiz: still tense, sporadic clashes on the outskirts of town. The Al Qaeda district is the name of the suburb, not a AQAP hideout. Three killed Maweah and Thikra

Ibb : YP: Government forces clashed with armed tribesmen in Qaeda district, Ibb province, 30 miles off Taiz province. According to the tribesmen, the goal of the tribes is to get rid of all government forces attacking the people. “Security forces are now using this lawless time in the country to loot and attack civilians. We will not allow our people to be attacked and will ensure that they are safe from any attacks from pro govt thugs,” said a tribal fighter.

Hodiedah: roads leading in blocked by pro-Saleh thugs.

Saudi Arabia, “Yemen’s neighbor and the biggest GCC country, said after a June 6 Cabinet meeting chaired by King Abdullah that the proposal is still viable, and called on Saleh to accept it. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, will also send Yemen 3 million barrels of oil to alleviate fuel shortages, Yemen’s state news agency Saba reported yesterday.” ( SFgate)

Saada: Mass protests in favor of the end of the regime and against all plots on the rev.

UNICEF: Yemen facing humanitarian disaster.

State Department briefing; must read

AQAP: a decent analysis at Foreign Affairs of relation between tribes and AQAP and prospect in the post-rev phase.

Zinjibar: reduced to “hell” with fighting among unclear sides: < <"There is a cat-and-mouse game going on in the streets now between the army and armed men. I can't tell who's who among them any more,"... The fighting has reduced Zinjibar, once home to more than 50,000 people, to a ghost town without power or running water.>> Most residents of Zinjibar fled to Aden where many are sheltering in public buildings. The Central Security forces of Yahya are attacking the refugees as they flee.

The armed parties appear to be the national military, local tribesmen, local militants (both Saleh’s and Mohsen’s) and the defected army but I’m checking. Update: Gah!!! Armed members of the southern movement also maintaining security on some roads, and for sure they would be described by the regime as al Qaeda. If this is true, southerners carrying arms and creating their own security checkpoints outside local villages in various governorates, its new. (I deleted the areas where they are deployed or the regime will start bombing them.) It needs to be double checked. But being rebuffed after asking to coordinate security with the international community leaves few options. However as security fails, its likely the Southern Movement will reject new deployments by either Saleh’s forces or Mohsen’s forces. The only possibility is Aliwi who has a better reputation in the south than Hadi (as unlike Hadi he didnt attack civilians in the 1986 civil war, according to local lore.) And Mohsen is Mohsen.

Abyan: Local direct reports indicate military airplanes dropped two bombs today recently. Vid here of warplanes that bombed Abyan City, per local sources.

Another says the attack was on tribesmen who took up arms in the face of military assaults. “Ms. Novak – Greetings – I would like to clarify what is happening today in the province of pilgrimage in southern Yemen as a witness elders – the army is firing different weapons on the housing Almutnyen and Batalli tribes touched by the bombing respond and of these forces and drops dead from both sides.” Still no names on the militants leaders, but likely remnants of the localized jihaddist group AAIA operating under another new name. Upon asking, it seems that most discussions on southern forums regarding Zinjibar are operating on the assumption (as am I) that Khaledabul Nabi* is leading the jihaddists in Abyan but no eye witness confirmation. Ja’ar and Zinjibar are close enough. In 2009, Nabi was fighting on the side of Saleh in the battle of Ja’ar, another jihaddist proxy war.

Update, Southern Yemen: Ali Mohsen’s forces are in Abyan, see YT article Rebel soldiers engage militants, but are described below as “gunmen” so these could be the jihaddists as well. Majority of Mohsen’s soldiers are either graduates of Iman Univ or loyal to Zindani, per local buzz. The defected military issued a statement though that they were going to intervene in Abyan as military, and that may be what is triggering an armed (defensive) response by the southern movement if there is indeed an armed response. When the article below talks about forces loyal to Islah, it sounds like they mean armed militants loyal to Mohsen and Zindani. Maybe this is what Nuba meant by an invasion of Zindanis forces.

So Abyan could be a proxy war between Saleh and Mohsen with both sides using militants and military men and equipment. and the southerners who take defensive positions attacked by both. Now I really have a headache. Saada source comments, “That’s exactly whats happening with al Jawf,” and likely why the Houthis are fighting there, as a defensive measure.

Al Jawf/ Marib: Battles reported and continue over last months between Houthis and “Islahis” in conjunction with Mohsen’s forces, with back up from pro-Saleh forces according to news and local sources. Explains positioning of large amounts of troops there. Both the Mohsen forces and Saleh forces, militants and military, are fighting the Houthis in rotation. These developments bring into question both Mohsen’s alleged reformation and his commitment to the youth rev goals. Maybe he is just out to finally wipe out the Houthis and the Southerners. Clarification: There’s no troops on the al jawf/Saada border. Troops and militias of both Saleh (Republican Guards and militias) and Mohsen’s army and militias are on the border of Aljawf/Mareb and also inside both Aljawf and Mareb. There’s quite a number of troops in Saada but they are non-combative.

Yaf3press: Lapin: genocide and the destruction of cities, “Zanzibar and Jaar .. and forces loyal to the Reform Party (ed-Islah) and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar involved in control of southern Yemen.

صحيفة يافع / خاص / 7/يونيو/2011م الثلاثاء Young newspaper / private / 7 / June 2011 Tuesday

قالت مصادر لـ”صحيفة يافع “: صول إلى محافظة أبين اللواء فيصل رجب قبل أيام على رأس قوة وصفت بتحرير زنجبار ، Sources told “young newspaper:” access to the province of Abyan, Major General Faisal Rajab days ago at the head of strength and editing described Zanzibar
وقالت المصادر :أن فيصل رجب يشتبك مع قوات من القبائل والأهالي ومسلحين من المنطقة منذ خمسة أيام . The sources said: that Faisal Rajab clash with troops from the tribes and people and gunmen from the region since the five days.

وأضاف : أن قوات فيصل رجب أستخدمت جميع الأسلحة الثقيلة والخفيفة ، و أفاد : أن فيصل رجب يقوم بقصف مدينة جعار قصفا مكثفا مما أجبر السكان النزوح من المدينة ، He added: Faisal Rajab forces used all heavy and light weapons, and said: Rajab is that Faisal shelling the town of Jaar intensive shelling, forcing the population exodus from the city,
وأفادت المصادر: أن مايجري في مدينة” زنجبار وجعار ” أعمال حربية يندى لها الجبين وهي وصمة عار في حق الجيش اليمني حيث وصفه المصادر أن فيصل رجب جاء على رأس ” مرتزقة لدك المدينتين بالأسلحة الثقيلة . According to the sources: that what is happening in the city of “Zanzibar, Jaar,” acts of war is shameful and a stain on the right of the Yemeni army, where he described the sources that Faisal Rajab came on top of “child mercenaries cities with heavy weapons.
كما أفادت المصادر : أن مسلحين موالين لحزب الإصلاح وعلي محسن الأحمر مشاركة في اللعبة التي تجري في محافظة أبين و وقال المصدر أن الأعيان ومشايخ والأهالي المدينتين قد حملوا المجتمع الدولي مسؤولية جراء مايجري من إبادة لمدينتي جعار وزنجبار ، The sources also reported: Gunmen loyal to the Reform Party and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar participation in the game taking place in the Abyan province and the source said that the Senate and the elders, parents, the two cities have taken up the responsibility of the international community as a result of what is happening with the annihilation of the cities of Jaar and Zanzibar,
وقال المصدر :أن الأعيان من قبائل أبين يطالبون المجتمع الدولي بتكليف لجنة أمنية وتحقيق دولي لزيارة المنطقة لمعرفة الحقيقة وتقصي الحقائق ، وقال إنها لعبة بين المتصارعين السياسيين في اليمن وحملوا المجتمع الدولي مسؤولية جراء صمتهم عن جرائم الإبادة والتدمير للمدينتين والتي نزح الأهالي منها . The source said: that the objects of the tribes show asking the international community commissioned by the security committee and an international investigation to visit the area to know the truth and fact-finding, and said it is a game between the feuding politicians in Yemen and carried the international community’s responsibility due to their silence for the crimes of genocide and destruction of cities and displaced people from them.
وقال المصدر :أن المواجهات خلفت عشرات القتلى والجرحى وأضرار بالغة في الممتلكات العامة والخاصة وصفها بالإبادة والتدمير . The source said: that the clashes left scores dead and injured and damage in the public and private property and described by annihilation and destruction.
وقالت المصادر :أن اللعبة بدأت تظهر مؤشرات أن قوات موالية لعلي محسن الأحمر وحزب الإصلاح تريد السيطرة على جنوب اليمن كما هي خطة ليبيا في السيطرة على بنغازي ، The sources said: that the game began to show signs that the forces loyal to Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and the Reform Party wants to control the south of Yemen, as is the plan for control of Libya in Benghazi,

A clusterfrick indeed. Maybe I’ll write it in a more coherent summary later; just understanding is giving me a headache.

*The funny part about the unending spew of small and large lies is they can’t keep track of what they said before. One of my favorite stories involves Abdulkhaled Nabi, leader of the Abyan Aden Islamic Army. The Yemeni regime told the US in 2003 that they killed al-Nabi in a shoot-out. In 2004, Yemeni officials admitted that they let al-Nabi go after he was spotted breathing. In 2005, top Yemeni officials claimed Nabi was completely rehabilitated and living the life of a peaceful farmer. In 2006, local media reported Nabi and his band of fanatics was training a tribal paramilitary for the government to battle Shiite rebels in Sa’ada. In 2007, the newspaper (Al-Sharie) was brought up on charges of revealing state secrets, and the editor faces the death penalty. In 2008, the Yemeni government announced with great fanfare that they had captured the dangerous terrorist al-Nabi after an intensive five year manhunt. The tickers all said, “Yemen captures al-Qaeda terrorist after five year hunt.”

Nabi and his band of jihaddists was quite instrumental in the 2009 battle of Jaar in returning control to Saleh’s forces. The Minister of Defense negotiated a deal for money with Sami Dhayan and his crew.

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6/9/2011 @ 9:42 am

[...] • Heavy gunfire rang out in the capital Sana’a and the southern city of Taiz last night as supporters of the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, celebrated rumours that the president was recoverin…. [...]

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6/9/2011 @ 6:07 pm

[...] • Heavy gunfire rang out in the capital Sana’a and the southern city of Taiz last night as supporters of the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, celebrated rumours that the president was recoverin…. [...]

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