yemen’s complicated war
After the cArgo bomb plot, Yemen faces US pressure to

help rout militants – but Yemenis oppose US involvement.
On guard: Yemeni

troops took position on the hills overlooking the town of Huta three days after regaining control of the besieged town on Sept. 24 from suspected Al Qaeda militants. Huta is located in Shabwa governorate, one of several militant hotbeds.

by Laura KasiNof / COrrESPOndEnt


Sanaa, Yemen

n the wake of the foiled cargo plane bomb plot by Yemen-based militants, the country has ramped up its fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in what some see as an attempt to preclude more direct US involvement.

Four days after the plot was foiled by international intelligence agencies on Oct. 29, the boom of military jets sounded over Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as Yemeni forces reportedly went after Saudi national Ibrahim Asiri – the suspected bombmaker in the operation. And in a major gesture to the United

States, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government announced that it has started court proceedings against YemeniAmerican preacher Anwar al-Awlaki in absentia for plotting to murder foreigners. “The Yemeni government has realized that Anwar al-Awlaki has become a pet project for the Pentagon,” says Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen analyst at Princeton University in New Jersey. “The fact that they have gone ahead and opened up the proceedings now is a step they are taking in the hope that it will preempt

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al Qaeda activity in yemen: a short history
December 1992 Militants funded by Osama bin Laden bomb a hotel housing US troops in the port city of Aden. Late 1998 Mr. bin Laden sets in motion a plan to attack a US vessel in Yemen, providing funding. OctOber 2000 Al Qaeda attacks USS Cole, killing 17 US sailors. November 2001 In the wake of 9/11, President Bush hosts Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a newly minted ally in the “war on terror.”

NOvember 2002 CIA Predator drone strike kills Abu Ali al-Harithi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. February 2006 More than a dozen Al Qaeda operatives escape from a Yemeni military detention facility. JuLy 2007 Car bombing at archaeo-

logical site kills seven Spanish tourists. September 2008 Attack on US Embassy in Yemen kills 16; Yemen blames Al Qaeda militants. JaNuary 2009 Al Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia announce merger, forming Al Qaeda in the Arabian


The ChrisTian sCienCe MoniTor | noveMber 15, 2010

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