Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

“Brigade 27 Mika (Mechanical) is the Octopus of Smuggling and Terrorism in Hadramout, Yemen”

Filed under: Hadramout, Military, Security Forces, mil restrucuturing, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 8:23 pm on Friday, August 29, 2014

Update: This article (which I did not write) is reprinted from the Hadramout Tribal Coalition website and can be found at http://www.alhelf.com/?p=1368.

The following article asserts that significant parts of the Yemeni military in Hadramout simultaneously operate as an organized crime syndicate and an incubator for al Qaeda. The configuration is not unusual in Yemen where military fiefdoms spawn local tyrants, loyal jihaddis and unchecked smuggling networks. While some vital security sector reforms have been instituted, like biometric identity cards, dislodging these nodes of criminality is essential to integrating the entire military within an overt command and control structure focused on the security of Yemeni citizens.

Brigade 27 Mika (Mechanical) is the Octopus of Smuggling and Terrorism in Hadramout

Hadramout has not experienced any kind of smuggling such as drug trafficking, arms smuggling and human trafficking in its history like it has now. Unfortunately, Hadramout became unable to maintain its well known a safe and a security place and great values anymore, and it became the home of all kinds of smugglings. Due to Hadramout’s position and to its wide borders, it was and still used to be the station of smuggling into neighboring countries. With time expansion, another task was added to Hadramout which is converting it into an incubator for armed groups (Al-Qaeda) to serve the main purpose of the Big Mafia in the Republic of Yemen (RoY).

The beginning of this story goes back to the 1994 war and the arrival of the armed groups of Mujahedeen to Hadramout coast, who took part against the war on communism (Southern Forces). This decision was taken by the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, his brother from a different father, through recruiting those Mujahedeen and they were officially numbered and turn them into a brigade called Brigade 27 Mika ( Mika means Mechanical). Staff Gen. of this brigade since its start is Abdulaziz Makaleh Al Zindani(عبدالعزيز المقالح الزنداني ), one of Al-Qaeda militants and a cousin of Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani(عبد المجيد الزنداني). With the establishment of this brigade, smuggling and terrorism were strongly started. Its network was strongly developed since then, and is threaded from the coast of Hadramout all the way to the neighboring countries, and even inside some of neighboring territory.

The Brigade 27 Mika site is not in one place, but it spreads gradually from the coast and all the way to the neighboring countries to secure the borders for mainly smuggling and terrorism!! The Brigade 27 Mika consists of five battalions, and they are located in strategic positions with functions as follows:

1- Coast Guard Battalion: It is the one that insures all landings of contraband materials from outside RoY, and it secures all the smuggling of fuel and crude oil from Hadramout by ships to the international black market.

2- Battalion 4: a battalion stationed in the Al Dabah area(الضبه), the official crude oil export port. This battalion led by Mujahid Alkotaiba (مجاهد القطيبي) and it is the smuggling and terrorism operation room. It coordinates with local smugglers, some Local Fish Associations, and international smugglers; and it also protect trafficking along the pipeline into the valley.

3- Oil Companies Protection Battalion: This battalion has 2 tasks: the first one is to protect the collection of illegal dues from the oil companies which is amounted about a quarter of a billion dollars a year; and this amount goes directly to the Oil Mafia as cost of protection, as many press and government reports mentioned this many times, without being remitted to the state treasury. The second task is to secure the lines of smuggling in the middle of the valley and make sure they are not exposed to the obstacles. The person in charged of this battalion is Mohammad Qahm (محمد القحم) regardless of the change of the well know and the highly corrupted battalion commander in a year or so, i.e. Ahmed Al Tharab( ‏احمد الضراب).

4. TOTAL Protection Battalion: TOTAL contributes part of strengthening this network, intentionally or unintentionally, through forming alliance with the traditional power and Oil Mafia to protect them and thus protect the smuggling network.

5. Al Suwairi (السويري) Battalion: This battalion was initially created as a training camp for the Mujahedeen and for the returnees from Afghanistan which follows Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar commands directly. Later on, this Mujahedeen camp was turned into a Mujahedeen battalion which follows Brigade 27 Mika.

The elimination of the smuggling and terrorism threats to Hadramout and to neighboring countries starts with the removing of Brigade 27 Mika away from Hadramout and the dismissal of the battalion’s effective leaders of Brigade 27 and other effective members and Mujahedeen.

By Mohammed Al Haddar

Sami Dayan sentenced in General Qatan assassination

Filed under: Abyan, Military, assassination — by Jane Novak at 3:09 pm on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nice lengthy article from the Yemen Times:

SANA’A COURT SENTENCES JAAR RESIDENT TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON ON ASSASSINATION CHARGES
Published on 24 April 2014 in News
Ali Saeed (author)

SANA’A, April 23—The Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, which is dedicated to prosecuting suspected Al-Qaeda operatives, on Tuesday sentenced Sami Fadhl Dayan to 15 years in prison on charges of assassination, attacks on security forces and theft of military hardware, according to the state-run Saba News Agency.

The a 26-year-old Dayan from Jaar in Abyan governorate is accused of playing a role in the killing of Major General Salim Qatin on June 18, 2012 in Aden. (Read on …)

Re-hiring the southern Yemeni army

Filed under: Military, South Yemen, mil restrucuturing — by Jane Novak at 11:39 am on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I have argued for a long time that integrating (or re-hiring) the forcibly retired southern military has many advantages:

1) the long idle former southern army are disconnected from the vast web of corruption, smuggling and nepotism that pervaded the upper levels of the Yemeni military during the Saleh regime
2) they may have more respect for human rights, especially if they are deployed in the south
3) they already have formal training by the Russians
4) it will decrease the sense of alienation of some southerners and especially unemployed young men in the southern provinces who are regularly turned away from the army when recruitment is a function of a sheikh’s patronage
5) it will lessen the proselytizing of soldiers wherein some extremist commanders deem military operations as jihad instead of security missions designed to protect all Yemeni citizens.

The army must become a non-political, neutral and uniformly trained body that provides equal opportunity to Yemeni men (and women) regardless of identity. Even those who are advocates for separatism might be able to see the advantages to southerners (and peace and stability) of rehiring the retired military, instead of seeing it as a way to defuse the southern movement.

The Link: (ar) Hadi to re-hire 795 former southern military commanders

Reuters: Yemen has launched a $1.2 billion fund to give back tens of thousands of southern Yemenis jobs they lost after the 1994 civil war, a minister said on Tuesday, part of efforts to revive talks aimed at ending longstanding political divisions.

International Cooperation Minister Mohammed al-Sa’adi said the fund, agreed on Sunday, had persuaded southern separatists to return to talks they boycotted last month in protest against the government’s handling of their demands.

Another positive development is the adoption of the biometric voter ID system, this must be internationally funded and locally implemented and will enhance the legitimacy of future elections as well as reduce corruption, ghost workers, and ensure the distribution of aid. The positive benefits of incorporating this technology are many and can jump start a fairer Yemen.

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

Yemen Centre for Transitional Justice calls for de-militarized cities

Filed under: Military, Pres Hadi, mil restrucuturing — by Jane Novak at 2:12 pm on Friday, May 17, 2013

Statement from YCTJ

An Urgent Appeal to Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbo Mansour Hadi: Remove All Military Bases from the Major Cities of Yemen

His Excellency President Abdu-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, President of the Republic of Yemen.

Dear Excellency:

The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice takes this opportunity to congratulate Your Excellency on the launching of the Comprehensive National Dialogue on March 18, 2013 and wishes to express the appreciation of the YCTJ on your concerted efforts to bring peace, security and political stability to Yemen. We hope that the National Dialogue will lead to concrete decisions that strongly respond to the needs and aspirations of the Yemeni people and that best serve the interests of all Yemenis.

We are very concerned about the widespread existence of military bases and installations inside the major densely populated cities of Yemen. Your Excellency has certainly noticed the previous recent crash of a military aircraft of February 19, 2013, in which 12 citizens needlessly lost their lives. You will also recall that the fall of a military aircraft in November 2012 killed 10 Yemeni citizens, In addition there were more than 400 civilians killed in Ta’ez and Sana’a City during the armed confrontations that took place during the Yemeni Uprising of 2011.

In the latter, it was clear that major Yemeni cities were literally turned into battlefields for the political combatants. Undoubtedly this was primarily due to the location of military bases in the midst of highly populated areas of these cities. Among the civilian victims of these unfortunate armed confrontations were rising number of cases of Vitiligo (whitening of skin) and nocturnal enuresis (involuntary urination) among children, who resided near the Central Security Military Base in Ta’ez City, as reported by many physicians. As a result of the armed conflict in that area and the excessive use of force, there were many children who experienced sudden stress caused by the dreadful sounds of ordnances and the thunderous firepower unleashed in these conflicts, all of which caused such illnesses.

The fight against Al-Qaeda insurgents in Abyan also led to disastrous results for civilians there. The military bases, depots and ammunition stores targeted by AQAP insurgents were all too close to civilian residential homes and working areas in the cities of Abyan Governorate. The subsequent death of at least 150 civilians in the munitions factory attack in Ja’ar by Al-Qaeda in March 28, 2011 is testimony to the senseless presence of these military installations in the middle of cities. Half of these civilian victims were women and children.

The extensive presence of military installations and facilities amidst densely populated areas clearly constitute a clear violation of international customary norms and practices . They also certainly evoke obvious breaches of international and local humanitarian law, including, inter alia, Article 13(1) of the Additional Protocol II[8] as well as Article 8 of the Second Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property[9].

These military bases and installations occupy large surface areas in already congested cities. They also force more beneficial and useful projects, such as schools, hospitals, and parks to be relocated outside the cities, thus increasing the hardships of citizens to reach and have access to the services of these important civilian facilities. This presents an important opportunity to convert these dangerous military installations and bases to become useful public parks, educational facilities and hospitals and other more useful projects that will better serve the public.

Therefore, we urge Your Excellency to take an unprecedented historic initiative and reform this archaic aspect of the old regime, which literally used cities as military bases. The Yemeni people will appreciate this important development and will surely support you in this monumental decision. This would be especially significant as Yemen is undergoing a transitionary period and the priority needs of the Yemeni people at this important stage is to establish security, safety and peace. Your initiation of this step during your presidency will ensure for Your Excellency a praiseworthy place in the history of our country and will promise to bring a peaceful life for the future. In addition the decision will be a step in the right direction towards achieving a real democratic transition.

With all due respect to your Presidency and to the authority of your esteemed transitional government, we appeal to Your Excellency to take this highly important step and proceed to relocate all military bases and installations at safe distances outside Yemeni cities.

Respectfully yours,

The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice

[1] 14 January 2010

[2] Found Human Rights Watch, “Disappearances and Arbitrary Arrests in the Armed Conflict with Huthi Rebels in Yemen”, 24 October 2008 (ISBN: 1-56432-392-7).

[3] Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II stipulates that “the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations”

[4] Article 8 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property provides: “The Parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible: … b) avoid locating military objectives near cultural property.” In the event of international armed conflict it would be a violation of Article 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I which states that the parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas”.
[5] Article 4(2)(c) and Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II

[6] Yemen’s Military Criminal Code (1998), the “use of civilians as human shields during war operations” constitutes a war crime.

[7] In the event of an international armed conflict, it would contravene Third Geneva Convention, Article 23; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 28; Additional Protocol I, Article 51(7)

[8] Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II stipulates that “the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations”.

[9] Article 8 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property provides: “The Parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible: … b) avoid locating military objectives near cultural property.” In the event of international armed conflict it would be a violation of Article 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I which states that the parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas”.

Ahlam M Mothanna
Secretary General
Yemen Centre for Transitional Justice (YCTJ)

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?

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