Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Possible Al Nashiri facilitator mediates compensation for civilian drone victims in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, USS Cole, al nashiri, al-Bayda — by Jane Novak at 1:13 pm on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Title 2: Why I can’t blog too much anymore

Al Masdar reports Yemen’s former Interior Minister, Hussain Arab, is one of the dignitaries who negotiated on behalf of the Yemeni government with civilian victims and their families following US drone strikes over the week-end. The agreement reached is for 30 Kalashnikovs and 12M Yemeni riyals, about USD 55K, which was paid on Monday 4/21. The strikes targeted one vehicle containing known al Qaeda, killing ten, as well as a workmen’s car that unexpectedly appeared.

“Regrettably, three civilians were also killed during the attack and five were injured when their pickup truck unexpectedly appeared[18][19] next to the targeted vehicle,” the (Yemeni government) statement said. Quote via Just Security.

At least the Yemeni government didn’t try to smear the victims as al Qaeda, like they did in Hadramout,. Quickly taking responsibility, expressing regret and paying compensation is a step in the right direction.

At the time of the USS Cole bombing, Hussain Arab was Yemen’s Interior Minister. He resigned in April 2001. Defense evidence introduced in Yemeni court in the 2004 Cole trial included “ a letter to al-Qaeda commander Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri instructing Yemeni authorities to give safe passage to al-Nashiri and three bodyguards without being searched or intercepted. The letter states that, ‘All security forces are instructed to cooperate with him and facilitate his mission.’ ” His mission was a terror attack on a US warship.

Mr. Arab has held other official positions since his resignation including recently on the consensus committee of the National Dialog Committee.

The trial of Al Nashiri aka Billal, al Harazi etc., is proceeding in court in Guantanamo Bay today where lawyers are arguing whether two witnesses can be interviewed by the defense in France without submitting the questions first to the prosecution.

The original Arabic article from al Masdar is below the fold.

Related: Sami Dayan (Dhayan) was convicted of the murder of the effective General Qatan in Abyan. General Qatan had recently given interviews noting a state faction’s complicity in arming and facilitating al Qaeda. Sami is the reason I had to make up a category called State Jihaddists in 2009. He was overtly working for Ali Mohsen in Jaar at that time. I think Abdulkarim al Nabi gave in interview that discussed Sami Dayan as well as his own situation. Both could be termed local jihaddists and occasional mercenaries, but they are not the al Qaeda of Wahishi and certainly not AQAP leaders. Dayan was sentenced to 15 years, and will probably be released in two, if he doesn’t escape first.

(Read on …)

Fostering and countering terrorism in Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Military, USA — by Jane Novak at 7:48 am on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The US CT industry in Yemen is sketched out in the following excerpts from Inside Yemen’s Shadow War Asenal at Foreign Policy BY GORDON LUBOLD, NOAH SHACHTMAN

Since November of 2011, the United States has pledged nearly $600 million to Yemen for everything from spy drones to opinion polls to pickup trucks as part of a shadow war to fight terrorism there. But how much Washington is getting for its money is an open question, even within U.S. government circles…

Only a portion of the $600 million committed since late 2011 goes directly to fight terrorism — about $250 million, according to State Department officials. The rest goes towards “helping to strengthen governance and institutions on which Yemen’s long-term progress depends,” as then-White House counterterrorism czar (and unofficial envoy to Yemen) John Brennan explained last year. That includes cash to “empower women,” “combat corruption,” and provide “food vouchers, safe drinking water, and basic health services,” Brennan added.

But even that non-military aid can sometimes come with a hard edge. Last year, the State Department paid out $2.2 million to Griffin Security, a Yemeni contractor specializing in “close protection,” “surveillance systems,” and “maritime security services,” according to the company’s website. On June 26, Foggy Bottom sent another $3.1 million to Advanced C4 Solutions, a Tampa-based business with strong military and intelligence community ties, for an unspecified “administrative management” contract. Six days later, the State Department executed a second, $1.3 million deal with the same firm — which publicly declares itself a specialist in computer network attacks — for “translation and interpretation services.”

(JN-The US Air Force suspended Advanced C4 in 2011 for shoddy and unfinished work, and the firm was nearly excluded from any more work for the US gov’t.)

Overt security assistance was put on hold for about a year when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh brutally cracked down on his people. But that ban has been lifted, and the spigot is once again open. The Pentagon is outfitting the Yemenis with weapons, short takeoff and landing spy planes, night vision goggles, and even Raven drones to help Yemeni security forces to strengthen their effectiveness against internal threats and extremist activity, according to defense officials…

“We need to remember that we have done at least as badly in planning and managing aid as the worst recipient country has done in using it,” said Tony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Nonetheless, a variety of programs aim to directly achieve American security objectives in Yemen. During 2012, for instance, the Pentagon spent about $14 million on a single U.S. Special Operations Forces counterterrorism enhancement program in which a limited number of American military personnel provided training and equipment — from small arms and ammo to radios to rigid hull inflatable boats to night vision goggles to navigational systems — to Yemen’s counterterrorists. Another program, referred to in Pentagon briefing papers as the “Fixed-Wing Capability Program,” spends about $23 million “by providing equipment and training to improve the operational reach and reaction time of Yemen’s CT forces,” including two short take-off and landing aircraft. The United States spends another $75 million on building the counterterrorism unit of Yemen’s Central Security Forces.

During 2013, the Pentagon spent nearly $50 million on what’s called an “integrated border and maritime security” program to help the Yemenis be more effective with aerial surveillance and ground mobility, according to a defense official. That helped the Yemenis build up the capacity to monitor threats along the country’s nearly 1,200 mile coastline. The program includes 12 short take-off and landing aircraft, each with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as flight and maintenance crews.

The United States has spent other money on Yemen, including $24 million the Coast Guard spent to build two 87-foot coastal patrol boats, and another $11 million for about 340 F-350 Ford pickup trucks, according to publicly-available contracting data. Another $27 million was spent for a contract with Bell Helicopter for four Huey II helicopters within the last three years.

Two years ago, the polling firm Gallup, Inc. was paid more than $280,000 for a “Yemen Assessment Survey.” Around the same time, Yemen was part of a major contract to provide crew-served weapons, gun mounts, and stands for .50 caliber weapons. Last year, the Army paid $3 million to Harris Corporation for radios for the Yemenis, and the Navy paid $5.4 million for aircraft engines and spare parts for CASA 235 transport planes. Also last year, the Army paid $1.9 million for tactical UAVs in both Kenya and in Yemen.

Ties into my 2012 article State Dep’t ends Yemen arms embargo

US drone target tied to Yemen’s military leader

Filed under: Air strike, Military, embassy, mil restrucuturing, obits, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 10:47 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012

US drone strike 11/6 in Sanhan, another mediator killed, tied to 2008 US embassy attack

SANAA: A drone strike near the Yemeni capital killed three suspected Al-Qaeda members including a militant wanted for a deadly attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, security officials said on Thursday. They said the drone strike, believed to have been carried out by the United States, targeted a car near the village of Beit al-Ahmar in the Sanhan region, 15 kilometres (nine miles) southeast of Sanaa. Among the dead was Adnan al-Qadhi, a former jihadist fighter in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda member wanted for a 2008 car bomb attack on the US embassy that killed six Yemeni soldiers and four civilians.

After a decade of willful ignorance, the US starts tying AQ attacks to the former regime, probably in search of evidence for sanctions:

Yemen Fox: Mareb Press cited diplomat sources as saying that the US Embassy in Sana’a exerts efforts in collecting and documenting many terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and in which former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was found involved, most important the bombing the US Embassy in Sana’a in 2008. The sources said that the Americans have evidences that some with close links to Saleh’s family are involved in that operation, as US investigations showed that cars used in the terrorist attack were purchased by people close to Saleh’s family, specifically from Sanhan.

Better summary of the relationship

Nasser Arrabyee: The drone- killed Al Qadi was general in Yemeni army

By Nasser Arrabyee,07/11/2012

Adnan Al Qadi, Al Qaeda operative killed by US drone Wednesday, was a lieutenant colonel in the Yemeni army before he joined Al Qaeda, said sources Thursday.

Adnan Al Qadi was working as a commander of brigade in Al Makha under the leadership of Saleh Al Dani, a retired general who is now working with the defected general Ali Muhsen. All of them are from one village called Sanahan, the same village of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Adnan Al Qadi and Aref Al Qadi, were arrested after the bombing of the US embassy in Sanaa late 2008 for being involved. Aref is a nephew of brigadier Abdullah Al Qadi, retired general from Sanhan. Both of them were released secretly because of influence of their fathers and sympathy of general Muhsen.

Recently, Aref Al Qadi, raised the flag of Al Qaeda over his house in village of Bait Al Ahmar, the village of all conflicting guys, according to local sources.

The slain Adnan Al Qadi was one of the mediators between the Yemeni government and slain Sheikh Tarik Al Dhahab, Al Qaeda leader in Radaa last year according to Al Qaeda specialist journalist, Abdul Razak Al Jamal who met Al Qadi and most of the Al Qaeda leaders..On Wednesday November 6th, 2012, a US drone hit a car in the area of Al Nasrin in Sanahan, 30km south east of the capital Sanaa, killing Adnan Al Qadi and two others identified as Rabee Laheb, and Redwan Al Hashidi. Some sources said that the latter two were only injured..

Related: “‏@adammbaron abdulrazak jamal interviewed Adnan alQadhi, target of sanhan drone strike, before his death.” Had the black flag on his roof and door?

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.”

Study: disrupting recruitment more important than targeting leadership

Filed under: Counter-terror, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:18 pm on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Meh, maybe if we exempt bomb makers. Thwarting recruitment doesn’t get much or enough attention as an vital CT strategy, its always tomorrow’s problem.

Balt Sun: U.S. counterterrorism efforts monitor and sort vast databases of information for clues on potential plots. Now a team of University of Maryland researchers have used data-mining techniques employed by online giants like Google and Amazon.com to aid in the fight against terror.

In the same way corporate America uses algorithms to predict what consumers are most likely to buy or what ads they might click, the researchers analyzed two decades of data on Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. They were looking for patterns around attacks, including the 2008 shootings and bombings in Mumbai that some compare to the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

The study found that the most effective means of thwarting such violence include stirring dissension within the terrorist group, promoting government crackdowns on its activity and thwarting recruitment efforts — not arresting or attacking the group’s leaders.

The research has implications for current counterterrorism efforts, its authors say, and could give insight into other terror networks and how to best prevent future attacks.

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.

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