The picture above is of the two necessities carried in a Toyota landcruiser when traversing the Ramlat as Sab’atyn desert in Yemen in March 2006: the Kalashnikov rifle of our Bedouin driver/guide to dissuade potential kidnappers and the greatest essential, water.
Yemen, unfortunately, is at the forefront of all the news bulletins again … American and British embassies closing down because of fears of a terrorist attack by al-Qaida, despite what the Yemeni government claimed was a ‘successful’ pre-emptive air-strike execution of 30 Al-Qaida operatives at Shebwa on the 24 December.
In Yemen Al-Qaeda has found a fertile ground for its agenda. The establishment of training camps (akin to those established to train IRA and Baader-Meinhof terrorists in Libya and Syria in the 1970’s) in the inaccessible highlands and desert wadis to train willing ‘martyrs’ like the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is possible because of that inaccessibility but also because of tribal sympathy and protection. Most of these tribal groups are already in constant dispute with central government and in particular Al-Qaida has fermented and financially supported the political unrest by Houthi separatists in the north. As a result American financial support, to counteract this threat, for the training and equipping of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s armed forces has increased exponentially over the past four years from less than $11 million in 2006 to a projected $70 million in 2010.
To what avail?
Unlike the training of IRA and Baader-Meinhof terrorists in the ‘70’s in prosecuting their version of jihad al- Qaida are not willing to indulge any other philosophy or rationale other than their own. Indeed the jihad of al-Qaida has become its own self-contained belief system and radicalisation (martyrdom) its articles of faith. It is prepared, on any slim pretext of support for or by ‘Western’ influences, to exterminate fellow Muslims within the House of Islam.
Al-Qaida has a parasitic essence, weakening an already impoverished host (for now Yemen, but soon Somalia, and most likely Mauritania) and then departing for richer pickings elsewhere once the damage has been done. It knows only of the speed of darkness!