September 11 events, impact on Yemen [Archives:2003/671/Opinion]

September 25 2003

Hassan Al-Zaidi
Apart from the effects resulting from the 11 September events in America, and information on the killing of seven Yemeni citizens in the World Trade building and losses sustained by Yemeni businessmen, the more than 25 thousand Yemeni expatriates in the United States had been subject to harassment, some had been arrested as well as tightening the grip on expatriates remittances to Yemen.
The latest statistics indicate that in the late of 202 the number of Yemenis detained in American amounted to 60 thousand persons, let alone expelling tens of thousands of Arabs, including Yemenis, from their jobs. Yemen, on the other hand, was listed as among the convenient strongholds of terrorist elements following the war against them in Afghanistan, a matter that harmed Yemen's reputation and its economic status. That has obliged Yemen to increase deployment of security elements as precautionary measures to round up and detect any terrorist activity and tightening the grip on suspected elements and chasing them. This task has added additional burdens on the budget and inflicted losses on Yemeni armed forces and security bodies in some of such events. Among the damage resulting from terrorist act were those caused by the blasting of the USS destroyer Cole and the explosion in the French oil tanker Limburg. That had caused an increase in insurance costs by 300%, Yemen's losses of which amounted to about 10 million dollars.
Here we will try to mention the more important operations implemented by al-Qaeda linked elements in Yemen. We will also try to review the acts carried out by Yemeni authorities against al-Qaeda individually and in cooperation with the United States of America.
Statistics on attacks carried out before 11 Sept. 2001:
-Explosion of the American destroyer USS Cole with an explosive-laden boat on 11 October 2002 causing the death of 17 sailors and the wounding of other 37.
-An explosion in the building of the British embassy in Sana'a on 12 October 2000 in which a highly explosive material as used and caused great damage to the building and shattering window panes of adjacent buildings.
-On 21 March 2000, a bag was discovered near an officer's house in the Hadda area containing 17-18 kg of a highly explosive (C.3) material.
-On 4 April 2000, a quantity of C.3 explosives were detected near an officer's house in the Sheraton residential area. The explosives were made ready for detonation and equipped with a timer.
-On 4 April an explosion happened at headquarters of the political security organisation in Faj Attan area causing a huge opening in the building's wall and large cracks in the building.
-On 16 April 2000, a powerful explosion took place near the building of the state authority of civil aviation in Zubairi street in the capital causing smashing of window panes, destruction of its doors and cracks in nearby buildings.
-On 14 April 2000, a person called Issam Abdeh Hasan Barouk attempted a blasting near an important institution but he blew himself with the bomb he was carrying killing and tearing him to pieces. A search of his house resulted in the discovery of water pipes filled with TNT explosives to be used in later blasting operations.
-On 19 August 2000, and while some extremists in a rented house in Socotra residential area were adjusting the electrical system of a rocket it exploded and burnt them to death. The power of explosion also resulted in abortion of six women in nearby houses. After inspection of the house it as found that there was a quantity of TNT explosives estimated at 337 kg, two rockets and a group of bombs and projectiles.
– On 6 October 2002 happened the explosion of the French oil tanker Limburg at its anchoring in Mukalla port. A boat loaded with explosives was used in the blast which made a large hole in the tanker, killing one of the crew and wounding seven others. The explosion affected heavily the fish wealth in the area and caused pollution of the marine life in addition to the rise of insurance percentage.
-On November 3 2002 a group ordered by a Qaed Salem Sufyan al-Harithi attacked an airplane of the HUNT oil company targeting it with a Sam-2 rocket that missed it, but they opened machine-guns fire at it, hitting the plane body and injuring two of the engineers on board.
-In December 2002 a powerful explosive charge went off at a place nearby the house of Mareb governor, director of security and a government complex in the governorate. Security apparatus considered that a message to the officials whom they accused of collaborating in the killing of Abu Ali al-Harithi and his companions in Marib.
Despite the security and military measures Yemen has taken against terrorist elements suspected of having links with al-Qaeda and the Yemeni-American security coordination and cooperation to fight those elements, Yemen is still in the eyes of western states as a dangerous country. The latest warning by the American state department to its national was on 21 August mentioning that security threat to their nationals in Yemen would remain expected due to al-Qaeda continued efforts for forming its effective practical base.