Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 78September 28, 2011
Continued fighting by anti-government tribes in north Yemen may help to escalate the Yemeni conflict toward war. Al Qaeda-linked militants hold territory in south Yemen despite a Yemeni military offensive.
Anti-government tribesmen claim to have shot down a fighter jet north of the capital. The tribesmen used anti-aircraft guns to bring down the Sukhoi-22, which crashed in Beit Azar village in Arhab district. They have also captured the pilot. Yemeni defense officials confirmed that the plane was conducting a routine mission and the defense ministry has reported that a plane crashed.
Al Qaeda-linked militants ambushed a Yemeni military patrol east of Zinjibar in Abyan governorate. Xinhua reported that dozens of militants attacked an army patrol with automatic weapons, killing four soldiers. Units of the 25th mechanized brigade shelled militant strongholds and killed 14 militants.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is seeking support from Yemen’s religious community. He told clerics, “You have to state the ruling of God and His prophet on those who reject the extended hand for peace and dialogue and insist on revolting against constitutional legitimacy” at a religious conference. Additionally, Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi, speaking at the UN General Assembly, accused the Yemeni opposition of co-opting the youth movement and of turning to “maneuvers, including violence, that threaten (to lead to) the outbreak of civil war and devastating conflicts in Yemen.”
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released the seventh issue of its English-language magazine, Inspire. The issue notes the forthcoming publications of interviews with Americans Anwar al Awlaki and Adam Gadahn. Awlaki is with al Qaeda in Yemen and Gadahn is with al Qaeda in Pakistan.
The ongoing political crisis in the capital has placed the Yemeni state at risk of a broader armed conflict. Further, the Yemeni state has been undergoing fragmentation. Al Qaeda has seized control of territory in south Yemen and the current situation has increased the organization’s operating space in the country.