Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

First US airstrike in Saada, Yemen at Wadi Abu Jubarah

Filed under: Air strike, Saudi Arabia, USA, abu jubarah, obits, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:53 am on Sunday, October 28, 2012

The 2011 AQAP eulogy of Ammar al Waeli said, “His father was a leader in the mujahadin in Yemen who was appointed by (bin Laden) to open a training camp in the area of Saada.” The long established Abu Jubarah training camp is discussed in my 2010 article, Large al Qaeda camp in North Yemen dims peace prospects, politician says or see my category Saada, Abu Jubarah.

Air strike kills three al-Qaeda suspects in Sa’ada: Sa’ada Governor
Sunday 28 October 2012 / 26 September Net

26 September Net – Air strikes killed three Al-Qaeda militants on Sunday in the northern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, Sa’ada governor told “26 September Net”.

“Three Al-Qaeda suspects were killed in the air strike targeted the suspects on Sunday in Wadi Aal Jubara, Sa’ada province” Sa’ada governor said, adding two of those killed were Saudi nationals and the third one is a Yemeni.

One of al-Qaeda chief called Omar Batais was injured in the strike.

It is believed the Saudis possessed money for financing al-Qaeda operations in some provinces, the governor went on to say.

He revealed the terrorists had been trying (ed- and succeeding) for more than five years to turn Wadi Abu Junbara a station for crossing to Mare, al-Jawf, Shabwa and Abyan provinces.

US drone and foreign fighters:

Brach Net – said a government official in the province of Saada, preferring anonymity in an exclusive authorized ¯ “politics”, said the plane that carried out the air strike on the area of Wadi Al Abu Jabara Directorate كتاف yesterday is an American drone.
And confirmed the existence of at least 70 militants of the leaders and elements of the organization in the Valley of the Abu Jabara, where “they have a training camp and allied by with the Salafists in fighting the Houthis in the past period and killed them more than 150 people at the hands of Houthis, including foreigners of different nationalities Saudi and Egyptian.”

Pres Hadi on US drones: more precise than the Yemeni Air Force

Filed under: Counter-terror, Sana'a, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:04 pm on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Drone strikes are an improvement from aging and imprecise Soviet aircraft in the Yemeni air force, said Hadi, and that’s indisputable. (Why Saleh poured millions on the decrepit MIGs is another story.) Hadi, like Obama, personally approves all strikes in advance.

President Hadi was the only foreign leader that Obama actually had a meeting with, and the US considers him much more reliable than Saleh, not a high threshold to beat. Hadi said there are more controls that should reduce or hopefully eliminate errors and civilian casualties which are the primary concern among Yemenis and others. With 33 airstrikes this year, and 10 last year, the ratio of the death of innocents has dropped substantially, if we use the US metric that every male over 16 killed in a drone strike is assumed a terrorist and legitimate target.

Those in Yemen like HOOD who continually decry a loss of Yemeni sovereignty over its airspace should be reassured, but probably won’t be, by Hadi’s comments that he retains control. Those who see the air strikes as the harbinger of an impending US invasion are disconnected from reality and/or engaging in incitement and wouldn’t be swayed by any facts or adjustments to the program. The Houthis consider the Youtube trailer for the 2002 movie Rules of Engagement to be an CIA blueprint of some sort, really. Its a phrase to be avoided.

NYT: President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, elected in a one-candidate election in February, said at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that the precision afforded by drones gave them a marked advantage over the aging Soviet aircraft in the Yemeni Air Force.

“They pinpoint the target and have zero margin of error, if you know what target you’re aiming at,” said Mr. Hadi, a former army officer and the successor to Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down after protests against his three-decade rule.

The United States “helped with their drones because the Yemeni Air Force cannot carry out missions at night,” he said. “The electronic brain’s precision is unmatched by the human brain.” —

On Tuesday, President Obama underscored America’s gratitude to Mr. Hadi by dropping by as the Yemeni president met in New York with John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s counterterrorism adviser. While Mr. Obama spoke briefly with several heads of state at a reception during the United Nations General Assembly meeting, Mr. Hadi was the only one singled out for a meeting.

CT center in Sanaa includes Oman, SA, US and Yemeni reps

WAPO: Yemen’s president said Saturday that he personally approves every U.S. drone strike in his country and described the remotely piloted aircraft as a technical marvel that has helped reverse al-Qaeda’s gains.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi also provided new details about the monitoring of counterterrorism missions from a joint operations center in Yemen that he said is staffed by military and intelligence personnel from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Oman…

Hadi’s comments mark the first time he has publicly acknowledged his direct role in a campaign of strikes by U.S. drones and conventional aircraft targeting an al-Qaeda franchise that is seen as the most potent terrorist threat to the United States.

“Every operation, before taking place, they take permission from the president,” Hadi said in an interview with reporters and editors from The Washington Post. Praising the accuracy of the remotely operated aircraft, he added, “The drone technologically is more advanced than the human brain.”

Hadi’s enthusiasm helps to explain how, since taking office in February after a popular revolt ended President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, he has come to be regarded by Obama administration officials as one of the United States’ staunchest counterterrorism allies.

In a sign of Hadi’s standing, he was greeted by President Obama during meetings at the United Nations in New York last week and has met with a parade of top administration officials in Washington, including Vice President Biden, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The pace of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen has surged during the past year, as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula gained territory in the southern part of the country and continued to mount attacks against the United States, according to U.S. officials who said they disrupted an airline bomb plot earlier this year that originated in Yemen.

The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA have carried out 33 airstrikes in Yemen this year, compared to 10 in 2011, according to the Long War Journal Web site, which tracks drone attacks.

In the interview, Hadi alluded to civilian casualties and errant strikes earlier in the campaign, which began in December 2009, but he said that the United States and Yemen have taken “multiple measures to avoid mistakes of the past.”

He also described a joint operations facility near Sanaa, the capital, that serves as an intelligence nerve center for operations against AQAP, as the terrorist group’s Yemeni affiliate is known. “You go to the operations center and see operations taking place step by step,” Hadi said.

U.S. Special Operations drones patrol Yemen from a base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. The CIA aircraft are flown from a separate facility on the Arabian Peninsula whose location has not been publicly disclosed.

AQAP and/or Houthis to Syria? Buzz

Filed under: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, terror financing — by Jane Novak at 10:36 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last week’s local buzz. Using al Qaeda as internationally supported mercenaries against Assad is an ominous concept. Hopefully no one on the planet thinks thats a good idea. Oh wait, that’s what happened in Libya. The Houthis lining up fighters behind Iran and Hezbollah is not impossible, but I’ve never seen them export fighters before, unlike al Qaeda, and they are not lock-step with Iran. It would be new.

Yemen Observer: Former al-Qaeda leader Tareq al-Fadhli said that Ansar al-Sharia militants affiliated to al-Qaeda organization have withdrawn recently from Zinjubar and Ja’ar cities of Abyan province as a matter of partaking in the war against the Syrian regime, local media reported. (Read on …)

Houthis cleaned up drug trade, blame Ali Mohsen for Midi hashish smuggling: report

Filed under: Biographies, Hajjah, Military, Ports, Saudi Arabia, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 10:09 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

This below is not from the official Houthi media but it is from a Houthi supporter if not an unofficial outlet. As with all posts presented here and explaining various Yemeni viewpoints, I am posting it to demonstrate the narrative and not as an endorsement of its authenticity. However it is well known the 1st Armoured Division did facilitate smuggling into Saudia during Saada War 1-5, and Ali Mohsen was a major figure in the black market international weapons trade as well as fuel smuggling with Faris Manna and Tawfiq Abdel Rahman respectively. As Amb Krajeski correctly noted in a Wikileaks cable:

“Ali Mohsen’s questionable dealings with terrorists and extremists, however, would make his accession unwelcome to the US and others in the international community,” Krajeski wrote.

“He is known to have Salafi leanings and to support a more radical Islamic political agenda than Saleh. He has powerful Wahhabi supporters in Saudi Arabia and has reportedly aided the [Saudis] in establishing Wahhabi institutions in northern Yemen.

He is also believed to have been behind the formation of the Aden-Abyan army, and is a close associate of noted arms dealer Faris Manna.

For years, he acted as Saleh’s iron fist, building a reputation at home that lies somewhere between fear and revulsion,” reported Krajeski.

Googlish below regarding the latest bust : (Read on …)

Saudis give 2.2 bill in oil products to Yemen

Filed under: Donors, UN, Oil, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:43 am on Monday, September 10, 2012

Is Saleh’s partner Tawfiq Abdel Rahman still the sole distributor of oil products in Yemen?

Saudis give $2.2 billion in oil products to Yemen at donor conference
Tuesday 04 September 2012 162012000000Tue, 04 Sep 2012 16:12:24 +0300 04 PM / 26 September Net

Saudi Arabia has provided Yemen with fuel and other oil products valued at $2.2 billion to relief its domestic demand, deputy minister for external financial affairs said at donors’ conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Read on …)

Hashish bust at Midi port, Hajjah Yemen

Filed under: Hajjah, Hodeidah, Islands, Saudi Arabia, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 7:56 am on Monday, September 10, 2012

300 kilos (660 lbs) hash, conservatively and roughly valued at $ 2000 per kg is worth over a half million dollars. That’s a lot of money, I’m wondering about a typo. Here’s another report at FNA saying its cannabis.

Yemen Post

The border guard in western Yemen seized on Saturday 300 kg of hashish that smugglers had planned to sell in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the interior ministry reported.

The stash was seized on the Thu Hirab island in the Midi district, it said, pointing out that the hashish quantities were concealed inside 6 bags.

Two Ethiopian smugglers were arrested, it said, adding that the two and the hashish were given to the army battalion in the Luhaya district as a prelude to hand them over to the police in Hodeida province, the ministry added.

In recent years, Yemen has been as a transit hub to smuggle drugs coming from other countries including Pakistan and Iran to Gulf countries.

Earlier this year, the authorities destroyed tonnes of drugs worth millions of US dollars that were seized last year.
In the past few years, tens of smugglers including Yemenis, Africans, Iranians and Pakistanis were arrested in some Yemeni cities while trading in and smuggling drugs.

Related: “The (US) Coast Guard has determined that the Republic of Yemen is not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures in some of its ports…(with the exception of Ash Shihr Terminal – YEASR-0001; Balhaf LNG Terminal – IMO number not listed; and Port of Hodeidah – YEHOD-0001)”

For earlier happenings on Midi Island include weapons and drug smuggling and many instances of exploding boats.

Related: Revolutionary Guard ‘running Iran drug trade’

Also see my 2008 article: Yemeni Arms Fuels Instability in Somalia, keeping in mind UN sanctioned major weapons dealer Faris Manna (who worked in conjunction with the Saleh regime and Saleh personally for years) is now recognized as governor of Saada.

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