Remembering of September 11 terror attacks:Yemen rejects & falls prey to terrorism [Archives:2003/668/Opinion]

September 15 2003

Hassan Al-Zaidi
A number of International changes took place on the political and military map of the world since the events of 11 September 2001, after which American had announced its embarkment on a long-term war on terror. That war began with Afghanistan and was with the invasion of Iraq under the pretext of ousting Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein and destroying Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. And according to the latest statements by American officials Iraq is being described as a battlefield in the war against terror.
Undoubtedly, the current US-led war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq had been preceded by some Arab countries in the fight against those terrorist elements, as that happened with Yemen and then the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But, when will the anti-terror war come to an end?
On remembering the anniversary of the 2nd anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, the question here is ‘’What has Yemen achieved in its war against terrorism?’’
Has Yemen fallen a prey to terrorism? Has it declared an anti-terror war after the events of the September 11 or were those events a help in that war and took it out of the impasse it had fallen in specifically since the explosion of the USS Cole destroyer on October 12, 2000?
Has also the US-led anti-terror war had its reflections on relations and cooperation with Yemen?
It is commonly known that Yemen has become a key target of terror groups when they considered it a safe haven for them for carrying out terror operations against Western interests. Political observers see that the terror incidents in which a number of Western tourists were killed in Abyan in December 1998 were the beginning of Yemen’s dilemma with those terrorist groups. Those incidents and those before in Aden and later had forced Yemen to engage in a war against terror with various means.
During all those long years, Yemen’s economy and its foreign relations have been negatively affected by terror acts perpetrated by terror groups here in Yemen.
In 1996, a female foreign tourist was shot dead in Sana’a.
Yemen was then haunted with doubts that it had become a key target by those elements and under a western patronage, and that had been revealed clearly in the official information address at that time.
The president’s speech on June 27, is a clear testimony of his strong determination. An emphasis was given by him on Yemen’s policy to uproot terrorism in all its forms. It is an anti-terror war as well as plucking out its roots. “ Yemen has been greatly affected by the September 11 attacks. We at that time alone have done our best to fight terrorism. Following the September 11 attacks, a cooperation with the US and EU was made to fight terrorism” the president said.

Yemen’s anti-terror war before Sep.11.
Following the incidents that were committed by the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army at the end of 1998, Yemen, adopted strict military measures against that group. It had taken precautionary measures for fear that it might encounter revenge acts.
As a result foreigners as well as Arab returnees were deported. Latest statistics indicate that around 14,000 people have been deported by Yemen.
Some political observers see that Yemen’s policy in its anti-terror war stems from its fear of being a key target of terror acts by those groups who have been financed by some countries.
The Yemen’s seriousness to execute death against Abu Hassan Al-Mehdhar is a strong confirmation of its seriousness on anti-terror war policy.