Tag Archives: Yemen

Al Qaeda desafía a Obama

27 Ene

Al Qaeda desafía a Obama

Martes 27, Enero 2009 14:51

La red terrorista lanza un video desde Yemen donde muestra a ex prisioneros de Guantánamo que amenazan con volver a atacar.

Obama se enfrenta a duras fuerzas. Por Gustavo Sierra, de la redacción de Clarín.
Miembros de la red terrorista Al Qaeda que fueron liberados del campo de prisioneros de Guantánamo reaparecieron en un video lanzado en Internet desde Yemen. Dos de ellos, los yemenitas Said al-Shihri (ex detenido número 373) y Mohammed al-Doufi (ex detenido 333), reivindicaron recientemente su pertenencia a Al Qaeda en un video sobre un sitio de Internet islámico.

“El período transcurrido en cárcel nos volvió ahora más decididos y Dios nos bendijo ahora haciéndonos regresar a la tierra de la Jihad (Guerra Santa), Yemén”, dice en un video al-Shihri en un claro desafío al nuevo gobierno de Obama que anunció esta semana que cerrará el infame campo de prisioneros ubicado en la base aeronaval de Guantánamo, en Cuba.

Por su parte, el gobierno de Yemen realizará “una rehabilitación” en un centro especial para los 94 ciudadanos presos en Guantánamo una vez que regresen al país, tras abandonar esa controvertida prisión, que será cerrada el próximo año, según ordenó esta semana el presidente de Estados Unidos, Barak Obama.

En ese sentido, el presidente Ali Abdullah Saleh dijo que el regreso de los 94 yemenitas, detenidos en la base de Estados Unidos en la isla de Cuba, está previsto para los próximos tres meses. “Todos los que regresen serán sometidos a un período de rehabilitación para liberarlos del extremismo” islámico, dijo el presidente yemenita en un encuentro con militares y responsables de los servicios de seguridad.

Y agregó: “Di instrucciones para la puesta a punto de un centro con una escuela, una estructura sanitaria y alojamientos para los familiares de los residentes”. El Pentágono, en tanto, hizo saber que 61 de los ex reclusos en Guantánamo, luego de su liberación, regresaron a formar parte de organizaciones terroristas.

En este contexto, el presidente Barack Obama eligió una televisión árabe para la primera entrevista formal como presidente estadounidense, a fin de enviar un mensaje al mundo musulmán: “Estados Unidos no es su enemigo”.

En la entrevista a la televisión Dubai Al-Arabiya, realizada en coincidencia con el arribo a Medio oriente del nuevo enviado norteamericano a la región, George Mitchell, Obama buscó reanudar el diálogo con el mundo musulmán, que, desde su punto de vista, fue dañado por ocho años de gobierno de George W. Bush. Obama dijo que hubo errores por parte de su país en la relación con los países árabes y hacia los islámicos “pero no hay razón para no reanudar el mismo tipo de respeto y colaboración que estados Unidos tuvo con el mundo musulmán 20 o 30 años atrás”.

El mandatario mencionó que creció en Indonesia, un país de mayoría islámica, y que tiene parientes musulmanes. Dijo que el adversario a derrotar es el extremismo, como Al Qaeda , pero, incluso ellos, según el presidente, “parecen nerviosos, y esto me dice que sus ideas están en bancarrota”.

Anuncios

In Yemen, a Massacre of Americans Is Averted

23 Sep
Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2008

In Yemen, a Massacre of Americans Is Averted

If the attack had gone according to plan, it would have killed or wounded countless U.S. diplomats in the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden within a week of the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Although Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a left at least 16 people dead, the bravery and quick reaction of Yemeni security forces foiled what appeared to be a daring attempt to storm the embassy compound and kill everyone inside. One American of Yemeni origins was among the victims of the thwarted attack.

The brazen, sophisticated attack sparked fears in counterterrorism circles that al-Qaeda is gaining ground in Yemen, a key front in the Bush Administration’s war on terror. A major purpose of the attack may have been to undermine Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih. Yemeni officials believe it may have come in retaliation for recent raids by Yemeni security forces against al-Qaeda in which senior militant Hamza al-Quaiti was killed. Militants had also threatened more attacks if Yemeni authorities fail to free detainees. Says Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee: “Al-Qaeda and the security forces are in a serious confrontation now. The government is cracking down, and al-Qaeda is retaliating.”

A Yemeni source familiar with the initial government intelligence report on the incident told TIME that suspected militants tied to al-Qaeda were responsible and that it involved substantial weaponry, ample funding and elaborate planning. Officials believe the timing of the 9:15 a.m. attack was designed to catch security personnel off guard after their rising early for the predawn sohour meal before beginning the day’s Ramadan fast. In an apparent effort to enter the embassy compound without firing a shot, the terrorists, officials believe, pulled up to the first perimeter checkpoint in a vehicle, impersonating uniformed Yemeni personnel.

The terrorists’ aim, according to officials, was to use the vehicle as a bomb blitz to blow apart the heavily fortified front gate about 200 yd. away. According to the plan, a second vehicle loaded with commandos armed with automatic weapons and grenades would speed through the breach and enter the embassy’s chancery building, located another 200 yd. inside the compound. Once they made it inside, says TIME’s source, their plan was to kill all the diplomatic personnel they could find. “Had they made it inside,” he says, “it would have been a disaster.”

But the plan faltered at the first hurdle, when the Yemeni security guards refused the vehicle entry through the checkpoint. The militants then opened fire and detonated the bomb, which killed several guards and militants, eyewitnesses told journalists. The explosion set off a huge plume of black smoke over Sana’a as nervous U.S. diplomats, according to the source, headed for a specially designed secure room in the basement of the embassy building. One of the suicide bombers’ arms was found later on a nearby street.

At that point, government sources say, the second vehicle raced past the carnage toward the embassy’s front gate. Firing grenades and automatic weapons, the militants engaged Yemeni guards in a 20-min. battle but failed to penetrate the compound before all were killed. Yemeni officials said the casualties included six guards, six militants and four civilian bystanders.

The embassy raid is a sign that Yemen’s war against jihadists is far from over. “It’s like those scary movies when you kill one [monster] and it makes two more,” says the TIME source. “It means we have to work harder, hit harder, be more alert, and hopefully we’ll get rid of them.” Some Yemeni officials privately criticize the Bush Administration for demanding better results while withholding substantial aid that could help the impoverished country be more effective in the fight. “The U.S. should provide more assistance, more equipment, more training,” a former senior government official tells TIME. “The assistance is like a drip from a faucet.”

U.S. officials, though, complain that while Yemen’s government is a valuable ally against al-Qaeda, it has sometimes been too lax — for example, by sentencing hardened militants to short prison terms and freeing repatriated Guantánamo Bay detainees. Last May, an appeals court reduced from five to three years the prison sentence for Saleh al-Ammari, the Yemeni man who opened fire on the U.S. embassy in Sana’a in 2006. Still, U.S. officials acknowledge that the government faces a formidable challenge. The country is home to a large number of veterans of the anti-Soviet jihads in Afghanistan and the Iraq insurgency; local militants have links to powerful Yemeni tribes; the country’s rugged terrain provides safe havens; and Yemen’s gun-crazy population of 23 million is estimated to own anywhere between 6 million and 60 million firearms. Yemen also has a history of tolerating radical theology; an Islamic school in Sana’a once provided teaching to John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban captured in Afghanistan in 2001.

Yemen is also the site of one of al-Qaeda’s first, albeit little-known, international operations: an attack on two hotels in the port of Aden in 1992 that was aimed at U.S. troops bound for Somalia. Two people died, but neither was American. Better known was the group’s strike in 2000 on the U.S.S. Cole in Aden’s harbor, killing 17 U.S. servicemen. Three months before 9/11, Yemeni authorities arrested eight people in a plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Sana’a. And only last March, there was a failed mortar attack on the embassy compound. Despite the deaths of Wednesday’s attackers, the carnage at the embassy in Sana’a is a clear sign that al-Qaeda’s deeds in Yemen are far from done.

(See Pictures of the Week here.)