Islamic Jihad Movement & Authority between Coalition and Disunity [Archives:2001/35/Reportage]

August 27 2001

Hassan Al-Zaidi 
Yemen Times 
During the time in which the FBI investigators in Yemen were conducting their investigations concerning the USS Cole bombing in September 2000. The accused were the Islamic Jihad Movement (IJM) members. The Yemeni authorities conducted a massive combing against IJM activists throughout the whole Republic. Political observers believe that this combing came when the Yemeni authorities allowed US investigators to come to Yemen and conduct interrogation of some political and religious personalities. Not only this, the government also has facilitated the task for the Americans to do whatever they want. So in this case, IJM members accused the government of being submissive. This in turn resulted in the deterioration of the relations between the authorities and the IJM members. Perhaps Aba Abduh Al-Rahman’s arrest during Aldhalae incidents in 1995 and the refusal of the government to meet the demands of IJM members helps to aggravate the situattion. Statistics indicate that the number of the detainees totaled 150 (all of which are IJM members). In December 1998, the Islamists activists executed a number of kidnapping operations against foreigners in attempt to release the Islamists held captive by the government. Consequently, the Movement has begun to carry out a number of attacks, in particular against the foreign embassies, by pursuing foreign tourists in addition to attacks on governmental institutions. During Abu Al-Hasan Al-Mehdhar’s trial, the government has tried hard to convince the members of the movement to stop its actions concerning bombing courts in Abyan and seeking to neutralize them. In this case the government has promised to release prisoners who were not involved in any terrorist acts. After 
Almehdhar’s execution, new leaders were appointed to lead the Movement, among these were Abu Allail and Al-Rawy. The Movement had been supported by tribal and military personalities. It is also said that they used to get financial aid from the Gulf Countries with the pretext that they got these amounts of money collected as almsgiving (Zakah) to the members of the Movement. 
It has to be mentioned here that the Americans fear the spread of the Islamists in the region (the Arab Peninsula) because of the American arm presence and its interests in the Gulf Countries. The USA has applied pressure on the Yemeni authorities to limit the role of the IJM members. On the other hand, the government has withdrawn the IDs and passports of the Islamic militants (Mujahideen), particularly those who came back from Afghanistan or those who belong to Asian, African and other Arabic origins. Some sources said that the reason behind the kidnapping of the German diplomat can be ascribed to the Islamists existing here in Yemen. The source added that kidnappers might have wanted the release of the IJM members in return for the German diplomat. Thus there is a big difference between the authority and the Islamic Jihad Movement and this will in turn culminate in the long-time discrepancies between the two sides.