While Western allies would have you believe that the Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen are meant to ‘restore’ order – we’ve had no explanation as to how this unprovoked bombardment will help to bring stability to an already fractured region.
This week saw a new batch of Saudi airstrikes hammer Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. The targeted campaign has continued its breach of international law, following a ceasefire flip-flop by Saudi Arabia earlier last week.
Although it’s been just over month since the aggressive bombing campaign began, the US along with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies, are still openly supporting the asymmetrical proxy war that is tearing Yemen apart.
‘Striking Yemen’ – Saudi air raids destroy part of a neighborhood in Sana’a, Yemen, on April 26, 2015. (Photo link reutersmedia.net)
With many mainstream outlets pushing a heavily biased narrative regarding Yemen, there are legitimate humanitarian concerns and even the mainstream outlets can no longer ignore the truth about the Pentagon-approved Saudi airstrikes. This sentiment appears to be echoed in a recent NY Times report from April 26th, as the failure of Saudi air raids are acknowledged:
“The air campaign has killed scores of civilians and earned derision from critics in Yemen and abroad who have called it strategically incoherent for failing to either dislodge the Houthis and their allies or to force them to negotiate.”
‘Death from Above’ – Another air raid conducted following Saudi Arabia’s ceasefire reversal last week. (Photo link nyt.com)
Terror After Chaos
As previously reported by the LA Times, as well as here at 21WIRE, Al Qaeda militants in Yemen, also known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or ‘AQAP’, had been able to organize a jailbreak and robbery of a Central Bank in Yemen, while the Western-backed proxy war targeted the tribal Houthis.
In the LA Times piece entitled, “Al Qaeda in Yemen using chaos of war to carve out terrorism haven,” we see a clearer picture emerging out of the wreckage in Yemen – one that depicts the rise of AQAP following the dubious air raids conducted by Saudi Arabia:
“AQAP fighters launched a jailbreak near Mukalla that freed about 300 prisoners, including several dozen of their comrades, officials and residents said.”
“The militants also stole more than $1 million in Yemeni rials from the local branch of the Central Bank, security officials said, and set up roadblocks across the city.”
Other aspects of this report outline a clear ‘counter-terrorism’ failure in the region, along with the casual disclosure that AQAP terror has grown in the aftermath of the Saudi-led airstrikes.
As of April 17th, we’re told that AQAP had been able to seize a regional airport, a coastal oil terminal, an Arabian Sea port and a weapons depot after an alleged pact with other local tribes. Yet, the US-sanctioned proxy war in Yemen would rather concern itself with the indigenous Houthis who have sought regional autonomy, than to go after terror networks that are openly destroying the region. The LA Times continues:
“The Houthis have fought with AQAP, Sunni Muslims whom they consider enemies. But the Saudi airstrikes have only targeted the Houthis — giving Al Qaeda a relatively free hand.”
Above we see just a glimpse of the foreign policy nightmare that has yet to fully unfold within Yemen. As think-tank planners inside the beltway look to push the next phase of operations in Yemen, we’re told the chaos in the region could be expanded by AQAP, along with other Sunni militants. Yemen is on the brink of the type of chaos we saw during, and after NATO’s devastating 2011 onslaught of Libya.
‘Targeted Resistance’ – For over a month Saudi-led air raids have left villages in rubble. (Photo link enca.com)
Once again, its worth mentioning a revealing report from a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) March 19th release. The article predicts the rise of AQAP extremism as a symptom of the US-GCC proxy war in Yemen:
“A sectarian conflict in Yemen could help AQAP exploit the instability and expand its domestic insurgency among Sunni communities.”
Before the sectarian conflict had been completely exploited and manipulated to the degree its is today in Yemen, its important to remember that in February of 2006, “twenty-three convicted terrorists escaped from a high-security prison in the capital of Sana’a, a turning point for al-Qaeda in the region.”
According to officials, the “CIA coordinates closely with Saudi intelligence officers, who have an extensive network of on-the-ground informants,” in Yemen.
For years, Yemen has been referred to as a “terrorist playground“. Is there a correlation between long-term Saudi intelligence and CIA activity in Yemen and AQAP’s well-established citadel there?
Saudi acts as AQAP’s airforce
According to a Reuters news release on April 28th, Yemeni Vice President Khaled Bahah has called on the Houthis to follow the UN Security Council’s demand to end fighting in the region. However, the demand for peace is hypocritical when you consider that the Saudi air campaigns have been without condemnation from Western allies.
Additionally, the Houthis have been told to give up their arms in order to reach an apparent resolution with the Yemeni government, a stance which is supported by the UN.
Once again, these demands are being viewed as hypocritical, considering how the Saudi air raids are not ending anytime soon – not to mention that AQAP, along with other Sunni militants, have also escalated violence within the region since the conflict began and are even receiving arms directly from Saudi Arabia.
On April 24th, in the UK’s Telegraph, we’re told that ‘AQAP terror could effect the world’s financial system’, and that AQAP has ‘strengthened itself’ within Yemen:
“The danger for Saudi Arabia and potentially world markets is that they cross the sands and launch attacks in the kingdom, which is the world’s largest exporter of crude. Earlier this week Saudi’s interior ministry warned of the possibility that oil installations and shopping malls may be attacked by terrorists, while the last few weeks has seen a spate of shootings around the capital Riyadh.”
Well, according to the LA Times report mentioned in the above portion of this article, AQAP has already gained control of a coastal oil terminal – and yet – the Houthis still remain the singular focus for Washington DC and Saudi’s ‘Coalition’, even as known terror entities have taken advantage of a shattered Yemen.
MADE FOR TV – Al-Malahem Media, Al-Qaeda’s glossy media outlet, produced a suspicious propaganda video in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. (Photo link theguardian.com)
AQAP & The Paris Attack
This past January, following the theatrical Paris shootings in and around the offices of the salacious periodical Charlie Hebdo, we were told by western media outlet CNN, that AQAP had taken responsibility for the attacks.
Shortly thereafter, authorities had received reports that ‘two fugitive suspects’ had abandoned a vehicle along a country road, some 50 miles northeast of Paris. The two suspects were ID’d asCherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi. As the narrative rapidly unfolded on the news, as if by magic, Said Kouachi’s identification was ‘discovered’ laying on the seat of the apparent get-away vehicle left near the initial scene of the Paris shooting.
It didn’t take long for investigators and media implicate the Kouachi brothers as being the two masked individuals seen fleeing the Charlie Hebdo offices, and later we discover that the pair were reportedly well-known to French authorities for sometime before the Hebdo shooting.
‘Left at the Scene’ – Said Kouachi’s ID found in the apparent getaway car after the Paris shootings. (Photo link thegatewaypundit.com)
As the dust settled, there appeared to be ready-made conclusion to the events, complete with amassive marketing campaign in the wake of the shooting attack in Paris.
With the focus was on the Kouachi brothers’ perceived involvement in the Paris shooting event and a dramatic 6 hour hostage standoff with police, we then learned that their suspected accomplice, Amedy Coulibaly, who according to official reports, stormed a kosher supermarket in Paris, taking some 19 people hostage and killing 4, before succumbing to authorities as they closed in. The elaborate three-day manhunt continued throughout the 48 hour news cycle, as Coulibaly’s apparent girlfriend Hayat Boumeddiene, was able to slip away to Syria via Turkey (so we are told) during the height of the investigation – as all three alleged gunmen were killed by police.
Right on queue, the media released audio recordings and terror declarations via YouTube, as Coulibaly had professed his allegiance to ISIS, while supposedly working with the Kouachi brothers, who claimed they were “financed by AQAP”, to carry out their part in the attack.
Here at 21WIRE, we covered the Paris events extensively and as the story progressed, the Kouachi brothers’ history with the terror group AQAP was revealed:
“The fugitive suspects are said to be the ‘French-born’ sons of Algerian-born parents, who incredibly, were already under police surveillance, with at least one already on a “no fly list”, and even jailed for 18 months for trying to travel on jihad to Iraq 10 years previous. US officials have also leaked to the media the talking point that one of the brothers,Said Kouachi, was also in Yemen in 2011 for a number of months “training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)“
‘Terror Host’ – suspected US double agent, Anwar al-Awlaki, as seen in this SITE intelligence group media package.
(Photo link telegraph.co.uk)
According to claims from French broadcaster BFMTV, a CNN affiliate, one of their ‘journalists’ had been in contact by all three gunmen and it was also stated that Kouachi Brothers were “financed by Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen,” revealing another bizarre twist in the Paris attack – one that seemed to lack all credibility. To many alternative analysts, this was an obvious attempt to shore up some of the loose ends within the Paris attack/siege narrative. The other function it performed was to set-up Yemen as the new central focus for the west’s next destabilization campaign.
The following was an excerpt from 21WIRE written during the dubious Paris attack that provided key details left out of the official story and the al-Awlaki dossier:
“This story line appears to be bogus on its surface, not least of because al-Awlaki, aka the ‘American al Qaeda’ leader, was a CIA double agent – and was reported to have been killed 3 years ago by President Obama in a drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011. For at least three whole hours this afternoon, CNN reporters seemed to be unaware that al-Awlaki was long-dead, talking as if he was indeed alive and well in Yemen.”
If the tall-tales told during the Paris attack are to be accepted – it would mark a clear connection between AQAP and ISIS. No surprise then that this is exactly the narrative we see shaping up today in Yemen.
Sponsors of Terror
In a New York Times report from December of 2010 entitled, “Cash Flow to Terrorists Evades U.S. Efforts,” it was stated that a classified memo sent by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outlined that the largest financial support for Al Qaeda linked terror operations involving Sunni extremists worldwide – has come from Saudi Arabia, with other GCC allies providing logistical support for terror:
“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” the cable said, concluding that donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
“The dispatch and others offered similarly grim views about the United Arab Emirates (‘a strategic gap’ that terrorists can exploit), Qatar (‘the worst in the region’ on counter-terrorism) and Kuwait (a key transit point).”
In a March 1st report by the Washington Post, we learn how many of the Arab states high-security prisons are more like 5 star hotels:
“Except for the machine guns and guard towers, the al-Hair high-security prison looks remarkably like a hotel — especially the conjugal-visit wing.”
Continuing, The Post states:
“Here, just around the corner from the prison ATM, married inmates are allowed to spend three to five private hours with their wives at least once a month, with fresh linens and tea and sweets on the nightstand.”
“Nearly 1,100 high-security prisoners, all of them jailed on terrorism-related charges, are serving time in this prison a few miles south of Riyadh. Al-Hair is the largest of five high-security Saudi prisons established in the past decade to deal with a growing terrorism threat, first from al-Qaeda and more recently from the Islamic State.”
As a more ground-based offensive in Yemen appears eminent, one wonders where exactly will the Saudis draw their stable of fighters from.
Here’s an interview conducted by The Real News that provides some historical context about Yemen and the influence of outside agitators affecting the region…
‘ISIS in Yemen?’ – We’re told that ISIS is in Yemen by Vocativ, an Israeli tabloid media outlet. (Image screenshot of professionally stated, style ISIS marketing push in Yemen)
In yet another highly staged video by the media presenters of ISIS this week, we see a larger narrative appearing with the situation in Yemen. Since the conflict between the Yemeni government, the predominantly Shia Houthi Rebels and Saudia Arabia has escalated, we are now told that their just aren’t enough intelligence operators to keep AQAP at bay, now that the US embassy has been evacuated.
However, while it’s true evacuations have been made, it’s important to see the new story emerging here – as the US wants to avoid any culpability later down the road, when their joint-venture proxy war with the Saudis eventually fails – while simultaneously setting the stage for future AQAP reprisals in the coming years.
As global conflicts intersect, you have overlapping stories, like the ISIS video declaring their “presence” in Yemen – while at the very same time the Saudis report injecting some 300 trained fighters into an already brutal conflict.
Many skeptics quickly questioned why, with so much on their plate in Syria and Iraq, why on earth ISIS has suddenly appeared in Yemen. Good question.