Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February

Ahram Weekly

Yemeni Jihadists in Syria

Yemen is trying to stem the flow of its terrorists into Syria via Turkey, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Al-Ahram Weekly

Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi approved this week a bilateral agreement cancelling entry visas between his country and Turkey. This step is expected to prevent thousands of unemployed Yemeni young people from being lured to join the Syrian insurgency through Turkey.

Turkish Airlines had raised its flights from one to four per week from Aden in October. More than 5,000 young people recruited by Islamist leaders and financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia were transported from Aden to Istanbul over the last four months, according to security sources in the airport in Aden. Before Turkish Airlines started flights from Aden, Jihadists would go to Egypt where they proceeded to Syria through Sinai and Jordan, the sources said.

During the past four months, the young Jihadists started to go from Istanbul to Syria to fight with Al-Qaeda. When asked why, the Yemeni government ignored this issue by saying as long as they are more than 18 years old and they are not wanted for security violations, no one can stop them from going wherever they like.

The Islamist party, Islah, through its mosque speakers all over the country, has been urging Yemenis day and night to take the opportunity to go to Syria to fight the government there. Some middle level leaders go there as well to encourage more people to go. Sheikh Mohamed Al-Hazmi, MP and mosque speaker from the Islamist party, has been in Syria for weeks now.

The process of sending Jihadists from Yemen to Syria is called now by observers the “second edition of Afghan Jihadism”, in a clear reference to the early 1980s when thousands of Yemeni unemployed young people were being recruited and sent to Afghanistan by the same Yemeni war mongers and financiers.

The problems of those Yemenis who came back from Afghanistan in the early 1990s are still unsolved until today. They are still fighting the Yemeni government, and they want to turn Yemen into a Taliban-style Islamic Emirate. Islamists who call day and night for Jihad in Syria say what they are doing is not a declaration of Jihad, as the declaration of Jihad is a decision of the president. “What we say to educate people is that Jihad is a must in Syria now, but there was no declaration of Jihad from the Umma,” said Abdel-Wahab Al-Humaikani, secretary general of Al-Rashad, the recently established Salafist party.

Meanwhile, President Hadi set the date of 18 March as the starting point of the comprehensive national dialogue for all conflicting parties and groups in the country.

US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstien said this week in a press conference that Sheikh Abdel-Majid Al-Zandani must not participate in the dialogue as he is a global terrorist on US and UN lists. Earlier Al-Zandani, one of the main inspirers of Jihadists to Afghanistan and now to Syria, refused American interference in the dialogue, saying, “we do not want dialogue that contradicts Islam.”

Al-Zandani also rejected representation of the Yemeni Jews in the dialogue. The small Yemeni Jewish minority was given five representatives in the coming national dialogue out of 565 persons representing all groups and parties of Yemen. “They gave Jews five, and gave clerics nothing,” said Al-Zandani, who is one of the influential leaders of Islah and also one of the main founders of Al-Rashad.


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