The indefatigable Jane Novak of Armies of Liberation kindly brings us this update on the jihad in Yemen:
The Jihad in Yemen takes the form of the state attacking its Shia minority. There have been indications that aspects of the Yemeni government, in collusion with some leadership in the opposition Islamic Islah party, are close to al-Qaeda.
A recent defector from Yemen, the Ambassador to Syria, says that its very likely that President Saleh was aware of the plans for Cole bombing. Indeed , Saleh refused to investigate the bombing until the US threatened military action. Sheik al-Zindani is on the US’s most wanted list is a leader of the Islah party and operates openly in Yemen. He met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and became his mentor. After returning from Afghanistan, Zindani became the leader of Islah’s radical faction, and the “Afghan Arabs.”
Using state power, today Shia libraries are being trashed, mosques prohibited from preaching the Shia version of Islam, and mass arrests are taking place with thousands held without trial. All Shia schools are now closing. Officials of Saleh’s Sunni government have characterized their teachings as “blasphemous,” “backwards,” and “deviant.” The curriculum of some hard core Wahabbi schools, the greater threat according to analysts, was not addressed in their statements.
There is also a very bloody and violent element to the jihad in Yemen. Chasing a small band of Shia “rebels” through Sa’ada, the Yemeni military has left behind a wide path of death and destruction with the use of artillary and helicopter gunships. Residents claim that 65,000 people have been made homeless.
To follow is witness testimony from al-Wasat newspaper, issue 50, May 4, 2005, page four, translated from Arabic.
1- Moh Ali Naji, mother
Today in Sa’adda, the streets, houses, schools and every thing is demolished with dead bodies every where in the streets. The army destroyed the farms, fruits, every thing. My aunt was killed inside the farm. We were unable to bury her until the smell of her dead body was all over the place. Her body got bigger. It is the tenth day of the war, we do not have any food with us. We do not have any man to help us in the house. Two were killed in the war; two in the jail, my son is not allowed to enter Sa’ada. We can not get out of the house because the bombing is still continuing. The pilots do not make any difference between men and women.
2- Najwa Ibrahim
My sister’s husband was injured when he was going to buy food for his family. He is now between life and death in critical condition. There was a child with him. He was injured too after they got out of the house. They don’t have any money to pay even for basic emergency help. Drug for him is not available. There is no place in the hospital because it is already crowded. There are too many injured people. My sister does not have any thing to eat. She can not get out of the house. I ask every one who can hear my desperate call to please help. This is a catastrophe we did not expect.
3- Mohammed Hussain, mother
To all human right organizations, to all those who care about us. I am one of the citizens of Sa’ada city. Sa’ada now is being subjected to ethnic cleansing with out any reason. We are starving and thirsty because we can not get out of our houses, every one who gets out of the house will be killed. Our neighbor’s house was demolished by a missile. Two families were in the house. All of them were killed.
4- Aisha Ahmed, 14 years, female, Saada
I am in the ninth grade. I was in school when they started shooting. I saw the girls of 7 to 15 years student were crying because they were frightened, scared. The teachers called the fathers to come and get their daughter from the school, but they could not because of fire shooting. Even the school was targeted by tanks. I call all child right organizations to please help stop the war because there are many children.
Master of propaganda for the west, President Saleh says closing the Shia schools is “educational reform.” As he bombed Sa’ada, President Saleh implied the few hundred “Believing Youth” rebels are allied with Iran. (Actually, first he said al-Houthi was supported by Jews, but he retracted that. Next it was Bahrainis, and then Kuwaitis that were financing them. Then the rebels were monarchists. Now its Hezbollah.) The Jamestown Foundation calls the paradigm of Iranian influence in Yemen “inaccurate” and not realistic.
This is the situation in Yemen today: the arrests continue, thousands are held incommunicado, Shia religious books are being destroyed, Shia religious schools are being closed, and the bombing of civilian areas goes on as food, water and medicine are withheld.