Yemen not likely to follow AfPak model on terrorism

Yemen is unlikely to pursue the Afghanistan-Pakistan model for counterterrorism in case it expands its security cooperation with the United States following the foiled parcel bombing plot which originated from Sana'a.

“Yemen will be under some pressure to increase its security interaction with the United States after the recent incidents. But it may like to maintain a low profile and focus on security cooperation with the U.S. mainly in areas such as information exchange and intelligence sharing,” said Hakim Almasmari, editor of the daily Yemen Post. In a conversation with The Hindu over telephone from Sana'a, Mr. Almasmari said on Monday the AfPak model, of which Predator drones and other forms of air strikes were a major part, was counterproductive. Such attacks alienated civilian populations because of the indiscriminate damage they could cause, he observed. “The Yemeni government, dependent on millions of dollars of American aid, may have no choice but to step up military ties with Washington. But at the same time it is fully aware that heightened military collaboration with the U.S. does not go down well with the Yemeni people,” he observed.

Meanwhile, Yemen has freed a Hanan al-Samawi, the 22-year old university student detained on suspicions of involvement in the parcel bomb plot. Yemeni officials were quoted as saying Ms. Samawi appeared to have been a victim of “identity theft”. She was arrested because her telephone number had been left with the cargo company that had booked the parcel. According to Al Jazeera television, Ms. Samawi and her mother, who had also been detained, were released after the shipping agent failed to identify her as the person who had booked the parcel.

It has now emerged that Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a Saudi bomb maker apparently working with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is the key suspect behind the plot, say U.S. officials.

Mr. Asiri is the brother of a suicide bomber killed last year when he attempted to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the head of the Saudi counterterrorism unit.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 8:18:05 AM |

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