SANAA, May 22 -- Yemen has expanded the military operations againstal-Qaida militants in the south in the past two weeks, killinghundreds of them, including senior leaders, and retaking areas inAbyan province. However, the terrorist group launched a deadlysuicide bombing attack on the eve of Yemen's National Day inretaliation, showing that it is still capable of resisting thedivided army. At least 90 soldiers were killed and more than 200 others wereinjured in the suicide bombing during a military rehearsal paradein Yemen's capital of Sanaa early Monday morning. Over the recent weeks, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been described as the most dangerous terroristgroup in the world, has received devastating blows, but expertssaid it is early to talk about an end to militancy or al-Qaida inthe country. Nabil al-Bukairy, a researcher specializing in the Islamic groups,said restoring the sovereignty of the political decision andaddressing the military and security disorders are key factors toeradicate al-Qaida in Yemen. |
Muhammad Saif Haider, a researcher of terrorism issues, saideradicating militancy is bound to some factors topped by politicaland economic stability and imposing state influence across thecountry. "The more the government affirms its legitimacy andinfluence, the weaker al-Qaida becomes," he said. "What is happening right now in the south indicates to one thing:the new government is very serious to eradicate terrorism," hesaid. What will really help to put an end to militancy here shouldinclude a good management of the counterterrorism efforts andaddressing security and military disorders such as the spread ofweapons and presence of different armed groups in the country, heargued.
The government forces has seen remarkable gains in the past severalmonths, including killing and arresting senior leaders of thegroup, isolating the militants from the communities, and pushingahead to prevent them from taking a breath. However, analysts said,these gains never imply that al-Qaida is dying. Meanwhile, the two researchers agreed that the current war againstal-Qaida in Yemen is a good beginning and the government willsucceed in eradicating this group in the long term. Through Monday's attack al-Qaida has proved that it can resistdifficult conditions and big blows to reseed, especially in acountry like Yemen, the analysts said. "If the political crisis and mistrust among the political forces,as well as other complex problems such as soaring rates ofunemployment, continue in Yemen, al-Qaida will exploit thesituation to retaliate and build itself again," Haider said.
The government should also address the incompetent security andmilitary systems, amid an alarming separation of the armed forces,he said. Even if the AQAP lost the battles in Abyan, they can return to oldpositions in tribal areas including Marib, Shabwa and Jawf, andwill intensify suicide attacks targeting security and militaryforces like what they did Monday in al-Sabeen Square in Sanaa, hesaid. "Furthermore, the AQAP will attack more targets abroad such as inSaudi Arabia and the United States since they are main supportersof the Yemeni government," he added. On Monday, military sources said the government troops haveadvanced in several fronts in Abyan, and fierce battles arecontinuing on the edges of the most important strongholds: theprovincial capital Zinjibar and another city Jaar. A field commander in Abyan said the forces and the tribal fightersstill need more time and more efforts to clear militants from allthe areas.
"The gains are satisfying and the government is determined toretake control of all areas seized by al-Qaida and hunt allmilitants everywhere in the country," the commander said oncondition of anonymity. "The militants have become confused and are attempting to commitsuicides, but the national forces will put an end to this," headded.
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