i think AQAP is just another CIA false flag provocationhttp://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/i-think-aqap-is-just-another-cia-false-flag-provocation/
I am not suggesting that the CIA do all this by themselves. They have the Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian, Pakistani, Indonesian, etc. secret services at their beck and call, although of course they go to great lengths to pretend they do not control these organisations. The best single dissection of how all this works, and how long it has been going on, that I have seen is the mysterious Chaim Kupferberg’s piece on Bob Baer, especially the concluding two paragraphs on Ali Mohamed – RB
Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan? (extracts)
Robert F Worth, NYT, Jul 6 2010
After Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch had claimed credit for a failed effort to detonate a bomb in a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day, igniting a global debate about whether Yemen was the next front in the war on terror, Yemen’s once-obscure vital statistics were flashing across TV screens everywhere: it is the Arab world’s poorest country, with a fast-growing and deeply conservative Muslim population of 23 million. It is running out of oil and may soon be the first country in the world to run out of water. The central government is weak and corrupt, hemmed in by rebellions and powerful tribes. Many fear that Al Qaeda is gaining a sanctuary in the remote provinces east of Sana, similar to the one it already has in Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Ali Abdullah Saleh retains a stiff, military bearing, with a strong jaw and glinting eyes. In person he conveys an impression of fierce pride and gruffness and the natural defensiveness of a man from a small tribe who fought his way up with no more than an elementary-school education. When I interviewed him in 2008, he seemed impatient and almost angry. His eyes darted around the room as he fired off commands to his aides in a guttural voice. He bridled at questions about the US role in Yemen. “Arrogant,” he said, staring at me, then adding disdainfully in English, “Cowboys.” in a sense, the key to Saleh’s long rule and to much of Yemen’s modern history lies just to the north in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom squats atop Yemen on the map like a domineering older brother with a rebellious sibling. Starting in 1962, the Saudi royal family viewed Yemenis’ democratic aspirations with alarm and began paying hefty stipends to tribal sheiks throughout the country to reinforce its influence. Later, the Saudis began spreading their hard-line strand of Islam throughout the country, with help from some like-minded Yemenis. Hundreds of religious schools sprang up teaching Salafism. This was bound to be divisive in Yemen, where a third or more of the population were Zaydis, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
As the influence of the Salafists grew, Saleh formed close ties to jihadists and radical clerics like Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who is listed by the US Treasury Department as a “specially designated global terrorist.” Saleh had a political motive: Salafists are mostly quiescent and preach obedience to the ruler, even if they call for violent jihad in other lands. That was an appealing trait in Yemen’s complex social mosaic, where rivalries based on class, region, religious sect and lineage are endemic. But Saleh also knew that he needed the Saudis, who are widely believed to have arranged his accession in the first place. When I met him, Saleh seemed enraged that anyone should dare to criticize his methods. “We have unified the country and brought stability,” he told me. That is true. Saleh orchestrated the unification of north and south Yemen in 1990, and he has remained in power for 32 years. But even as he spoke, in Jun 2008, those achievements seemed to be unraveling. Zaydi rebels from the north, angered by Saleh’s support for the Salafists, were gaining ground. In the south, a groundswell of economic discontent was rising and later became an open secessionist movement. The fact that Saleh is now trying to arrange for his son Ahmed Saleh to succeed him as president has alienated many tribal leaders and other allies, narrowing Saleh’s power base. In the past year, as Al Qaeda began to mount more frequent attacks, he turned to some old friends for help, only to see them abandon him. Saleh was desperate to find a way to rid himself of the militants, preferably without calling in US airstrikes or doing anything else that would alienate the radical clerics on whose political support he counted.
The first real sign that the jihadis were a source of trouble at home came in 2000 with the bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port town of Aden on the southern coast. Seventeen US sailors were killed. A year later, after the 9/11 attacks, Saleh recognized that a major shift had taken place. Fearing that the US might invade Yemen, he flew to Washington and pledged his support. At home, his security forces rounded up hundreds of former jihadists and jailed them en masse without charge. In Nov 2002, the CIA used a Predator drone to kill Abu Ali al-Harithi, then the leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen, as he was driving in the desert east of Sana. Saleh knew his collaboration with the US could make the jihadis turn on him. He was furious after US officials leaked word of their role in the Harithi assassination. Later, Saleh repeatedly denied the US permission to kill Al Qaeda leaders during Yemen’s 2006 presidential election because he feared the strikes might harm his electoral prospects, according to one high-ranking Yemeni official. By 2007, it was clear that a new and more dangerous generation of Al Qaeda militants was emerging. Unlike their predecessors, these men aimed openly to overthrow the Yemeni state and refused all dialogue with it. Many later claimed that they suffered torture in Yemeni prisons during long terms, usually without formal charges. Some of them had gone to Iraq and returned with valuable battlefield skills. The attacks grew bloodier and more frequent: a suicide bombing in Jul 2007 killed eight Spanish tourists; there were attacks on oil pipelines. In Sep 2008, suicide bombers in two cars struck the US Embassy in Sana in a meticulously planned operation that left 10 Yemenis and all 6 attackers dead.
The US grew increasingly concerned about Al Qaeda’s growth in Yemen and about Saleh’s tendency to see it as a family problem, solvable through dialogue. Veteran jihadists were said to be coming to Yemen from Afghanistan and Somalia. Last summer, Gen Petraeus, then the overall commander of US military forces in the Middle East, visited Sana, and the number of US military trainers working with Yemen’s counter-terrorism forces quietly grew. In the fall, a select group of US officials met with Saleh and showed him irrefutable evidence that Al Qaeda was aiming at him and his relatives, who dominate Yemen’s military and intelligence services. That seems to have abruptly changed Saleh’s attitude, US diplomats told me. The Yemenis began to mount more aggressive ground raids on Al Qaeda targets, in coordination with the airstrikes that began in December. Officially, US policy in Yemen is twofold: using airstrikes and raids to help the Yemeni military knock out Al Qaeda cells, while increasing development and humanitarian aid to address the root causes of radicalism. In late June, the White House announced it was more than tripling its humanitarian assistance, to $42.5m. But the numbers are still small given Yemen’s need. And diplomats concede that they have not figured out how to address the central issues of poor governance, corruption and the economy. Edmund Hull, the US ambassador to Yemen from 2001 to 2004, said when I met him in Washington:
There is a huge amount of diplomacy that needs to be done and is not being done. It makes me uneasy to hear that we’re not getting out to those remote areas. One way or another, we have ceded the initiative to Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda is calling the shots.
Al Qaeda has a clear Yemen strategy. On Jan. 23, 2009, the group released a high-quality video clip on the Internet. The video was a setback for President Obama. But the real news was Al Qaeda’s announcement that same month that it was merging its Saudi and Yemeni branches into a single unit: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It proclaimed a broad ambition: to serve as a base for attacks throughout the region and to replace the infidel governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia with a single theocratic state. It has followed bin Laden’s example in building an ever-more-sophisticated propaganda arm for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including frequent video and audio tapes and an Internet magazine, Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Battles), that appears every two months or so. The magazine makes for bizarre reading, by turns chilling and poignant. The first page of one recent issue showed a colorful 1950s-style stock image of a hand that was mixing fluid in a chemical beaker, alongside a hand grenade and the headline “Year of the Assassination.” The authors are clearly familiar with the style of Western magazine journalism, and many articles are framed as regular features like View From the Inside and The Leader’s Editorial. There are didactic items, with headlines like “Shariah Is the Solution” and “Practical Steps Toward the Liberation of Palestine.” But some of the articles are almost whimsical (“A Mujahid’s Thoughts”), and there are sharp satires (“The Saudi Media on Mars”). Much of the content has an earnest, proselytizing tone, a bit like the ads that Western corporations publish to trumpet their civic responsibility. One recent article, for example, was titled “Inside View: Why We’re Fighting in the Arabian Peninsula.” Since it first appeared in early 2008, the magazine has grown steadily more polished.
The target audience for all this rhetoric is a bit of a mystery: Internet access is rare in Yemen, especially in the areas where Al Qaeda operates. There is evidence that the group may be aiming to win over members of the military or even the political elite (not an implausible goal, given the depth of sympathy for jihadism in Yemen). As for the broader public, one hint came in a video the group released last summer. The 18-minute video, “The Battle of Marib,” about a successful battle with the Yemeni military, pointedly emphasized the accuracy of Al Qaeda’s casualty count. The narrator, Qassim al-Raymi, mocks the government for failing to acknowledge that seven soldiers were captured. The video then cuts to a government press conference, in which a spokesman stumbles badly in response to questions from journalists and refuses to acknowledge the soldiers’ capture. The video then returns to Raymi, who, facing the camera almost gloatingly, delivers his message:
I call upon all Muslims to take their information from clear and correct sources, like the jihadi Web sites on the Internet.
It is far from clear how Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in remote and desperately underdeveloped areas, turns out such a slick product. A Yemeni journalist who interviewed Al Qaeda’s top leaders told me he also met four members of the group’s media arm in a room that was set up like a studio, with computers and other equipment. He said:You could tell they were rich and well educated. Some did not look like Arabs. They did not speak, so I wondered if they even spoke Arabic.
In recent weeks, Al Qaeda has sounded more confident than ever, issuing threats and calls to arms, along with publishing its Internet magazine and introducing an English-language online magazine called Inspire. In May, a botched air raid led to the death of a tribal leader in Marib who was negotiating on the government’s behalf with a local Al Qaeda leader, infuriating the local tribes and further eroding Saleh’s credibility. On Jun 19, four heavily armed men stormed the fortified headquarters of the Political Security Organization in the southern port city of Aden, freeing prisoners suspected of being Al Qaeda members and escaping unharmed.