Back to drones and suicide bombings
The political and security situation in Yemen is worsening despite international and regional efforts to bring the two-year transition deal to a successful conclusion, says Nasser Arrabyee
About 30 people were killed and injured in a suicide bombing at the gate of the Yemeni cabinet on Tuesday in the heart of the capital Sanaa. Two days earlier the President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi said his authorities foiled three car bombs that were supposed to target important interests and officials in Sanaa, Aden and Hudhrmout.
On 11 September, at least 12 people including seven soldiers were killed and more than 15 injured when a car bomb exploded in the convoy of the defence minister at the gate of the cabinet which was holding its weekly meeting. Minister of Defence Mohamed Nasser Ahmed survived the assassination attempt. This is the fourth assassination attempt against Nasser since he took office earlier this year.
The minister of defence was among the first to leave the weekly meeting of the cabinet, and the car bomb, driven by a suicide bomber, was waiting outside and when the minister's convoy was attacked.
The bombing destroyed the last car of the convoy killing all seven bodyguards inside, as well as five passers-by. More than 15 people were injured and three buildings were heavily damaged. Four cars were destroyed including the car of the bodyguards.
The security authorities in official statements said that TNT explosives were also found and defused nearby the wall of the building of the cabinet. The explosives were supposed to explode by remote control after the suicide bombing. Minister of Interior Abdel-Qader Qahtan said in a statement to state-run TV that there were still serious security shortcomings.
The attack on the Defence Ministry came hours before a demonstration called by the Islamist party Islah, Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood, demanding that former president Ali Abdullah Saleh be banned from politics as head of his party that has 50 per cent of the unity government cabinet seats.
The attack carries the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda especially considering that such a terrorist attack came only one day after the second-in-command of Al-Qaeda in Yemen Said Ali Al-Shihri was killed in a US drone attack with full cooperation from the Yemeni government. Al-Shihri was killed along with six other terrorists by a US drone attack in the eastern province of Hudhrmout on Monday.
According to local sources, Al-Shihri, 40, a Saudi national, who returned from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in 2007, was killed in the second drone attack after he escaped with three other injured operatives. The killing of Al-Shihri was considered to be painful blow to Al-Qaeda.
Al-Shihri and a group of eight terrorists were at the village of Al-Hashem in Wadi Al-Ain between Mukalla and Sayoun when the drone attacked them killing four of them and injuring three others. The big fish, Al-Shihri, survived in this attack.
The US drone followed Al-Shihri, alias Abu Sufian Al-Auzdi, to kill him and three other Al-Qaeda militants in a remote area in the valley of Hudhrmout the sources said.
The Saudi Al-Shihri emerged in Yemen as Al-Qaeda second-in-command in January 2009 when the Saudi branch of Al-Qaeda united with the Yemeni branch forming what they called Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsular (AQAP).
Now, the Yemeni leader, Nasser Al-Wahayshi, alias Abu Basir, is the only one left. Although Al-Shihri was Al-Wahayshi's deputy, he was more important as a Saudi national, as Saudis are connected with financiers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf as a whole.
A drone successfully killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, the second most wanted man after Bin Laden last September in the eastern province of Al-Jawf. Fahd Al-Qusu, the third most wanted by the CIA, was killed in his village in Shabwah in May by a US drone.
If drones make mistakes and kill civilians, like last week when 11 people were killed when a missile missed an Al-Qaeda car in Radaa southeast of the country, Al-Qaeda exploits these mistake to recruit more and more fighters and sympathisers.