This is not the first time Yemen’s Saleh has been accused of allowing jihadists to gain a foothold to “prove” the country “needs” him. If true, that would make it the second alleged case of Munchausen Syndrome as public policy in Yemen. “Al Qaeda in Yemen captures town south of capital,” from the Associated Press, January 17:
SANAA, Yemen — A band of Al Qaeda militants seized full control of a town 100 miles south of the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday, overrunning army positions, storming the local prison and freeing at least 150 inmates, security officials said.
The capture of Radda expanded already significant territorial conquests by the militants, who have taken advantage of the weak central government and political turmoil roiling the nation for the past year during an uprising inspired by Arab Spring revolts.
Authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently agreed to step down, but he remains a powerful force within the country and a spark for ongoing unrest.
The group had previously taken control of a string of towns in the mostly lawless south. But its capture of Radda is particularly important because it gives the militants a territorial foothold closer than ever before to the capital, where many sleeper cells of the terror network are thought to be located.
An Associated Press photographer who visited Radda on Sunday said the militants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles and other weapons. He quoted residents as saying the black Al Qaeda banner has been raised atop the mosque they captured over the weekend.
The opposition accused Saleh, who is to step down this month in line with a power transfer deal, of allowing the militants to overrun Radda along with two other towns in southern Abyan province captured previously — Zinjibar and Jaar — to bolster his claims that he must remain in power to secure the country against the rising power of Islamist militants.
Some tribal leaders also accused Saleh of giving the “green light” to the militants to overrun the city.
“We are surprised by the silence of the security forces,” said opposition activist Abdel-Rahman al-Rashid, who lives in Radda. “They have not moved, which only means that this is all arranged to spark chaos.”…