By Jane Novak
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 14, 2005
In the remote country of Yemen,
a determined and heroic democracy movement battles an alliance of al-Qaeda,
Saddam's generals, and a corrupt regime that wields all the tools of the state.
The terrorists are operating on the proceeds from gun running and oil sales.
The reformers are operating on pure determination.
Throughout Yemeni security forces, military,
businesses, and public institutions, an interlinked web of corruption and
brutality is stealing Yemen's
resources and attacking any Yemeni who opposes it. And the majority do oppose
it. All the natural enemies of the jihadiis are under attack in Yemen:
reformers, democrats, journalists, socialists, pluralists, Shiites, Sunnis,
anti-corruption advocates, human rights workers, and more. As forces unite
against them, the Yemeni people unite for democracy.
In 2003, al-Qaeda praised Yemeni
President Saleh as the only Arab leader not beholden to the West. It's clear
why. Saleh has refused to freeze 143 UN identified terrorist affiliated bank
accounts in Yemen.
Some of the millions in those accounts may be proceeds from weapons sales,
narco-terrorism, and oil sales. One person who might be able to provide details
is Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, Saleh's half brother, prominent military commander, and
reputed al-Qaeda loyalist.
Wherever there is a conflict in
the region, the jihadi side seems to be armed by the Yemeni weapons pipeline,
reportedly controlled by top military officials. Yemen
has sold tanks and missiles to the genocidal Sudanese government. Yemen
provides weapons to Eritrean and Somalian terrorists, according to the Eritrean
Center for Strategic Studies.
"It's no secret" that weapons smuggling to Palestinian insurgents is
sanctioned by the Yemeni government, an Israeli intelligence official said. The
Saudis say they catch Yemeni arms dealers "hourly."
There's a lot of missing oil and
missing oil revenue in Yemen.
Parliamentary member Ali
Ashal notes the official sale price for Yemeni
oil is $22/barrel, but it is sold on the market at $45/barrel. The
Canadian corporation Nexen takes nearly half of all its Yemeni oil production
as royalties. Itís a sweet deal, but not for the Yemeni people. Yemen
is one of the poorest countries in the world. The word corruption is a rather
benign term to describe the rape of the Yemeni economy by its top officials.
Ayatollah Sistani recently advised
the world that a "pact of evil" extends from Iraq
Itís a pact between al-Qaeda-linked Yemeni officials and numerous former
officials of Saddam's regime currently residing in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen.
In 2004, Radio Free Europe noted the recruitment of many Iraqi generals into
the Yemeni military. Recently, the Chief of the Yemeni Supreme Shia Council
stated, "(Iraqi) military men advised Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh
to kill Shiias in the country as did Saddam in Iraq."
Sistani has termed the ongoing violence in Sa'ada, a Shiite region,
"genocide." The integration of al-Qaeda infiltrated Yemeni security
forces with Saddam's henchmen has many victims.
A Yemeni official recently stated
that al-Qaeda affiliated Yemeni security forces have established Ba'athist
training camps in Yemen
for Iraqi "insurgents."
Shaykh Zindani, a prominent Yemeni political leader and business
executive, is described by the US
as a mentor to Usama bin Laden and a "Major Terrorist" who supports
and finances a variety of terrorist activities. (Neither he nor his assets have
been restricted in Yemen
since this designation in 2004.) The US Treasury Department notes Zindani as a
contact for the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, parent organization to Ansar
al-Sunna operating in Iraq.
Ansar al-Sunna has claimed responsibility for beheading 12 Nepalese workers in Iraq
and bombing a US
mess tent in Mosul which killed 22
The Yemeni population is attacked
by the military and the courts. Thousands are in jail without trial for months.
Outspoken individuals are arrested and social groups targeted by identity.
Within about a week recently, two reformers were arrested, an opposition
newspaper targeted, a female journalist crudely defamed, the socialist party
headquarters bombed, an opposition politician kidnapped, mass and arbitrary
arrests occurred, and the slaughter in the Sa'ada continued. In response,
Yemenis only stand more firmly and call more loudly for reform, democracy, and
pluralism, for an end to the corruption, an end to the dictatorship.
The Yemeni people are trapped
inside a box of propaganda. On the outside is a democracy; on the inside is a
tyranny. The official news agency touts impotent political structures as proof
of reform as al-Qaeda grows more dominant. With the ongoing ascension of
radical Islamists in Yemeni leadership, Yemen
may become the first modern state fully corrupted by al-Qaeda, a threat much
greater that Afghanistan
is considering Yemen a strategic
location for international shipping.
Presidential elections in Yemen
are scheduled for 2006. Last election President Saleh received 96% of the vote.
Yemen has a
well developed and mature civil society. US
policy should favor Yemen's
reformers, not its dictator. During President Saleh's upcoming trip to Washington,
President Bush should advise President Saleh to step aside, as Yemeni
opposition parties have asked. Twenty seven years is enough for any dictator.
It was enough for Saddam, it's enough for Mubarak, and it's certainly enough
for Saleh. For the security of Iraqis, Americans, and Yemenis, the pact of evil
from Iraq to Yemen
must be replaced by a pact of democracy, and a pact of freedom between the
Yemeni people and the democratic world.