Yemen: US terror alert enflaming conflict?
An apparent US drone strike in Yemen's Marib province—the fourth reported in the last 10 days—killed four purported al-Qaeda militants Aug. 6. The strikes come as the Yemeni government is "deeply disappointed" in the US decision to evacuate embassy staff, an official said. "It plays into the hands of al-Qaeda," the official warned. (LAT, Aug. 6) On the same day as the new drone strike, tribesmen in Marib shot down an army helicopter, killing eight soldiers, during a clash as workers attempted to repair a main oil pipeline blown up by saboteurs. (AFP, Aug. 6) Fighting has also returned to the capital, with least one killed in clashes between soldiers and troops of the ostensibly disbanded Republican Guard, who were holding a protest in central Sanaa. (BBC News, Aug. 2)
Reports from a RAND analyst indicate that Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the "emir" of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has recently been appointed to also serve as the global al-Qaeda network's "general manager"—challenging the widespread claim that al-Qaeda's "core" is based solely in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. Al-Wuhayshi has been named as the mastermind of the supposed plot that has prompted the embassy closures. Al-Wuhayshi served as Osama bin Laden's personal aid from the late 1990s until after 9-11, and was reportedly by his side at the battle of Tora Bora. Al-Wuhayshi fled to Iran, where he was detained and deported to Yemen in 2003. He escaped from prison in 2006 along with other jihadists who rebuilt al-Qaeda's presence inside Yemen. (Long War Journal, Aug. 6)
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