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Al Qaeda and Kidnapping in Yemen support by Gulf countries Al Qaeda and Kidnapping in Yemen support by Gulf countries
by Abdullah A. Ali Sallam
2013-06-18 10:51:52
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Yemen suffers from a myriad of social and economic and security challenges, Yemen's population faces high levels of poverty and unemployment, and as well Yemen incurred economic losses estimated at 12 million dollars a day as a result of attacks by the tribal elements on oil pipeline addition to the suffering of the Yemenis from the attacks to supply electricity.Furthermore, Yemen’s natural resources are depleting.

Al- Qaeda represents the biggest security challenge for Yemen today, that constitute an existential threat to the government and put great pressure on its resources and its security , since al Qaeda has announced the headquarters is in Yemen and exploitation the fragile situation of Yemen state, that is allowing Al- Qaeda to find safe shelter for training and have be a link to all the cells in the region and the world. It became an influential and strong  informal power in the Yemeni arena so during the past two years AlQaeda fought many wars with the Yemeni army and the war against  Al- Qaeda killed more than 2,000 people  ([1]), half of them armed and security forces in addition to the displaced tens of thousands from Abyan city that seized by al-Qaeda in the year 2011 moreover  the large material losses in infrastructure, agriculture and livestock.

Yemen is a safe haven for al-Qaeda because of The unstable situation in the country which represents strong support for Al-Qaeda in organizing its ranks and training its elements, especially in the eastern regions where the authority of the state is absent where tribes exist specially militant tribal with a deep religious extremist safe havens historical in Yemen in the eastern regions of the country.

During this recent period, al Qaeda was able to mobilize its ranks and carry out processes on the field was most recently control Rada city and declared an Islamic emirate after Al-Qaeda had been defeated in Abyan City by Yemeni military and People's Committees, which were formed from the local community. Whereas Al-Qaeda had controlled Abyan City more than ten months.  

The strange thing is that despite the ongoing war with al-Qaeda and trying to weaken the organization by targeting its leaders a strategy followed by the U.S .A. to fight against terrorism through drones   ([2])  and  deny al-Qaeda from control their cadres, Al Qaeda organization has proved its ability to adapt and ability to emergence new leaders have leadership and organization ability.

Although al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed last year, the organization still enjoys the depth of leadership and ability to adapt with deaths of their leaders([3]) Al Qaeda  has showed ability to  mobilize  supporters in the Arabian Peninsula.

In Yemen the Osama Bin Laden assassination and the deaths many of Al Qaeda leaders, such as Al-Awlaki and Al-ouhichi had little effect on al Qaeda's operations. There  is evidence of a continued strong ability to carry out combat operations outside framework of their leaders, and there are cells take decisions on their own without reference to the founding leaders. In addition, of late there are many kidnappings and killings claimed by the organization.

Around two months ago there was a rise in the number of kidnapping cases in Yemen, of which around ten are foreigners.  

During the last two weeks, a doctor Ukrainian working in a private hospital in the city of Sana’a, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, believed to be from Al-Qaeda. However they have allowed her to communicate with her ​​son and ex-husband. The kidnappers are demanding her country to pay the ransom, but other sources said that the kidnappers are demanding payment of ransom by the Qatari Embassy, which represent her country in Yemen. ([4]) 

Most cases of kidnapping in Yemen carried out by Al-Qaeda with helping of tribesmen, so the government resorted to other tribal mediation for the release of the abductees.

Tribesmen usually kidnap foreigners to pressure the authorities into meeting their demands, including ransom, releasing detainees, or providing some services in their areas.

Through fifteen years ,the total cases of organized kidnapping in Yemen reach to more than 100 cases, most of them has happened in 96 , 97 and 1998 targeted tourists and some foreigners working in economy and healthy sectors in Yemen , It had ended of all safety of the kidnapped except one state kidnapping occurred in Abyan city ended in death of four British tourists out of 16 tourists Britain and Australia, has been kidnapped by a group called the Army of Aden - Abyan in 1999 for reasons and motives of political - religious and this figure is much less than dealt with some who said that the number has reached more than 200 cases of kidnapping in Yemen. ([5]) 

Apparently, the kidnappings that were carried out by some tribes in the eastern regions in Yemen is not only to pressure the government to provide services to the tribal areas it has become a means by which al Qaeda can put pressure on the Yemeni government and other states to provide funds for its operations.

The Weakness and failure Yemeni state to control some tribe areas , provided an opportunity for Al-Qaeda to do kidnappings of foreigners easily it had reached abductions that carried out by al-Qaeda during three months ago more than ten kidnappings.

Yemen was ranked the third "Arab" failed state and monitored by the Eighth International report in 2012 on the measure Failed States Index, issued by the American Foreign Policy magazine «Foreign Policy». ([6]) 

According to the report Yemen fell in  international class from the 13th that were in the index between the countries in the world last year, to the 8th grade in this year, according to the criteria of international economic, social and political adopted by the annual index report.

Yet even with the increasing incidence of kidnapping, Yemen is still the most popular country  for foreigners from countries  like Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand. ([7])

The kidnappings in Yemen has become something unusual but striking is the liberation of hostages has taken an international trend by intervention of countries in the region such as Qatar and Oman to negotiate with the kidnappers for release the abducted by tribal leaders in Yemen, in last March, released a Swiss teacher hijacked by al Qaeda militants in the coastal city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea coast where she taught at the Institute of Foreign Languages. Her time in captivity went on for more than one year. The evidence suggests the kidnappers are from al-Qaeda.

Negotiating for the release of the Swiss women kidnapped were representatives of  the State of Qatar, which lasted more than six months. The kidnappers demanded the release of al Qaeda prisoners in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but it settled only that Qatar paid $ 50 million to the kidnappers, according to tribal sources ([8]).And has been hijacked received by tribal mediators and transported her by private jet to Doha and then delivered to the Swiss authorities.

Legally, Kidnappings of foreigners are considered terrorist crimes that all countries agree on the criminalization and State of Qatar consider is one of these countries that have signed to the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism issued in 1988 and the Convention of Cooperation Council countries for Gulf countries in 2004, in addition to the Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to combat international terrorism in 1999 and all of these agreements certified.

The State of Qatar also issued laws to combat the financing of terrorism. Law No. 28 of 2002 on combating money laundering contains in the second article of the right to confiscate all the money earned from blackmail and extortion crimes of terrorism. ([9]) 

Also issued The Penal Code No. 119 of 2004 stipulates that the provisions of Islamic law on crimes of banditry and the meaning of banditry is intermittency and robbery. ([10]) 

In addition Qatar anti-terrorism law No. 3 of 2004 noted, that the purpose of the commission of the crime of terrorism if the impulse to use force or violence, threat or intimidation. ([11]) 

If it considered that happen by Qatar is within the political action or a political solution, but this contrasts with the groups that make the kidnapping is not a political act and demands were not politically and also contrary with what Qatar see through its report to the Security Council (document 171/2006/A) it is not considered terrorist crimes within the political context.

It is also incompatible with Qatar response for queries that contained in the memorandum of the Security Council No. S/AC.40/2006/OC/06 and to ensure that Qatar is committed to concerted international efforts to combat terrorism and its financing,  especially international law of human rights, so what it means to provide material support to the kidnappers ([12]).

Surprisingly, the Sultanate of Oman has the same approach of Qatar in the liberation of the one Austrian and two Finnish nationals and has paid more than one million Euros to the kidnappers.

Oman deprives such crimes in their laws and emphasizes the confiscation of funds that proves they came from illegal acts or were geared to commit terrorist acts. ([13]) 

What does this mean payment of Qatar and Oman these money, despite the criminalization of the domestic laws of these countries such acts and authenticate these two countries for many regional and international conventions in the fight against terrorism and its financing.

The strange thing is that Finland is a country of abductees believed that negotiations with the kidnappers is the infraction of international law in the fight against terrorism and the Finnish Foreign Ministry has refused flatly to pay a ransom to the kidnappers, Finnish Foreign Minister said: Finland did not pay any ransom to the abductors as financing terrorists is clearly forbidden under the international rules, Tuomioja told a press conference. ([14])

On the humanitarian level .. True has been released Finnish couple Leila Watt Kalifa and their Austrian friend Dominique Neubauer  after five months of abducted by al-Qaeda fighters from Sana’a in December last year but this is incompatible with international norms and laws and consequences will be dire in the next phase

Europeans have been delivered three abductees to Omani authorities by the Yemeni tribe located near the Yemeni-Oman border. said Yemeni media reports and Finnish government sources.

Yemeni authorities via a senior security official said that the release of the hostages came after lengthy negotiations with the kidnappers a ransom has been paid to them through tribal mediators for releasing the abductees.

The hostages were set free after the authorities of neighbouring Oman had held negotiations with the abductors and paid them ransom for the release, a senior Yemini security official told Reuters, reported . ([15])

On the other hand al-Qaeda diped for the release of the Saudi deputy consul in Aden Abdullah al-Khalidi, who has been held two years ago, calling for doubling the ransom they want to 20 million U.S. dollars.([16])

The uncertain at ground level with receiving this money enables Al-Qaeda to obtain funding then Yemen will suffer from the scourge of al-Qaeda, especially in the difficult circumstances experienced by Yemen Recently, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said it was able to thwart a plan for al-Qaeda in Yemen, which was designed to control the Al Gail Bawazeer city and declare an Islamic emirate in Hadramout governorate. ([17])

Also, many of the kidnappings and murders increased this year and has targeted military and security leaders. Al-Qaeda had published their names and they replace the target.

Worrying more that al-Qaeda operations began more organized and focused in the past few months.  Three military aircraft have crashed on residential neighborhoods in the city of Sanaa, capital of Yemen. A  statement issued by the Yemeni Air Force  says that the plane exploded and the military investigation ruled out a malfunction or e-mechnical, resulting in killing the pilot. Abdul Rahman Al-Hilali. A spokesman for the Air Force said to Yemen Times newspaper the accident was caused either by a bomb or shotgun, opened fire on the airframe.([18])

On the other hand it have been killed three pilots are the most efficient pilots Yemenis near one of the largest air base in Yemen by unidentified gunmen were driving a motorcycle and official reports say that the process has great similarity  to operations carried out by Al Qaeda.

It seems that al-Qaeda began to change its strategy in the war with the government. Al Qaeda is targeting pilots who they believe are involved in operations against them in the cities of Shabwa and Abyan. But the question is to what extent can reach the ability of al-Qaeda in planting improvised explosive devices inside the military aircraft and know the names of the pilots unless there are strong personalities influential and cooperate with them to reach the goal, which tends to confirm that financial support has had a strong influence in reaching the annexation and help these powerful figures with the Al-Qaeda.

yemen01_400In fact ,The liberation process of the hostages by paying ransom with large sums has been opened the appetite for al-Qaeda and tribal leaders to make more kidnappings.   During May there has been the kidnapping of more than ten foreigners, including three from the International Committee of the Red Cross in addition to the kidnapping of two Yemenis journalists by tribesmen. The kidnapping of foreigners are used as a card to put pressure on the Yemeni government to get the money and release for prisoners belonging to these tribes

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, on more than one occasion rejected an offer 'to reconcile' with al-Qaeda by a group of scholars and tribal elders, stressing the requirement of the organization's abandonment of its weapons in advance. He stressed that «war against Al Qaeda commitment of Yemeni».([19]) 

What is sure certain that the series of the kidnapping in Yemen will continue and will increase as long as there is money paid generously to the kidnappers and thus more instability of political, social and economic development of Yemen, the fact that the party that receives the support is the al-Qaeda and this means more suffering for the Yemeni people at all levels of development. But the more important question is why the countries of the region pay these funds despite the note of the seriousness in Yemen and the region, particularly as the party that is paid money for them is one of the most dangerous organizations in the world?



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda_insurgency_in_Yemen

[5] Kidnappings in Yemen .. Reality and motives - 26 September - d. Mohamed Mohamed Hamidi http://www.26sep.net/newsweekarticle.php?lng=arabic&sid=24231

[9] A study on anti-terrorism legislation in the Arab Gulf and Yemen http://www.unodc.org/documents/terrorism/Publications/Study_CT_Legislation_Gulf_Yemen/Arabic.pdf

[10] A study on anti-terrorism legislation in the Arab Gulf and Yemen  http://www.unodc.org/documents/terrorism/Publications/Study_CT_Legislation_Gulf_Yemen/Arabic.pdf

[13]A study on anti-terrorism legislation in the Arab Gulf and Yemen http://www.unodc.org/documents/terrorism/Publications/Study_CT_Legislation_Gulf_Yemen/Arabic.pdf

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