|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
Reports: Yemen Arming Somalia Again
Much of the weapons trafficking in the Middle East is accomplished by Yemen, and both the US and UN have raised concerns. Weapons registered to the Yemeni military were used in the al-Qaeda attack on the US consul in Jeddeh in 2004. While arms carrying is common within Yemen, the smuggling of arms originally purchased by the Yemeni military is of international concern. Yemen has admitted to arming the Transitional Government in Somalia in violation of a UN arms embargo before. And apparently has done it again: Somalinet
Reports from Baidoa town, which is temporarily capital of the transitional federal government, say military batches have been delivering in Baidoa airport for the last three nights, where heavily guarded by militiamen loyal to President Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed. It is in violation of the UN embargo on Somalia in 1992.
Reliable sources say that military cargo plane branded with Yemen’s flag has landed the airport of Baidoa where it unloaded military supply including sophisticated tanks and sorts of heavy and light bullets.
It is the second time that Yemen government donated military supply to the government of Abdillahi Yusuf to enforce his power in Somalia.
Yemen has denied this report as groundless: “The Islamic Courts Union has informed our country that it is willing to come to Sana’a to carry out direct talks with Somali President Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed and the interim Somali government to stop the bloodshed and restore calm and stability,” said the source.
Then there’s Somaliland, which broke off from Somalia in 1990 and has established relative stability for the last 15 years although it has not achieved any international recognition.
Extract from Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis Volume XXIV, No. 36 Wednesday, June 7, 2006 Special Report, Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS, with input from GIS sources in Mogadishu and the Horn of Africa, from Voice of Somaliland:
It was also of considerable political significance that, on June 6, 2006, in Mogadishu the conquering jihadists moved into the building which had served as headquarters for the Alliance for Restoration of Police and Counter Terrorism, and converted it to an "Islamic court". In the north, the Government of Somaliland intercepted several shipments of weapons and fighters which had come in from Yemen, a nominally pro-US supporter in the "war on terror". The Hargeysa Government (ed-Somaliland) had intercepted two major shipments of arms during the three weeks leading up to the collapse of Mogadishu. Of these, one of the groups being attacked by the Government forces had split into two, with one part going into the area of Somalia known as Puntland, on the Somaliland border. One shipment came directly from Yemen into the Somaliland port of Berbera and was captured, and fighters with that group reportedly indicated that they were attempting to start an uprising in the Somaliland city of Burao, which had an enclave of Wahhabist jihadists.
a little more
Significantly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen had, for a variety of reasons, opposed recognition of Somaliland and its highly-successful, stable Government.
Yemen was concerned that the precedent of Somaliland breaking from the Somalia union (entered into by the then-sovereign states of the former British Somaliland, now Somaliland, and the former Italian Somaliland, to create the union) by Somaliland would give impetus for the former South Yemen (Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen) to attempt a break-away from the now-unified Yemen Republic. The Yemeni Government gave this as the reason it was, de facto, supporting the Somalian leadership of former Puntland warlord Col. Abdillahi Yussuf Ahmed, who has historically tried to conquer Somaliland. But, in fact, the true de facto support from Yemen was, as a result, in favor of the jihadists.
There's also regular and unsurprising reports of Yemeni al-Qaeda in Somalia supporting the Islamic Courts, like this from Jim Dunnigan at Strategy Page:
Small boats have moved back and forth between Yemen and Somalia for thousands of years, and the NATO naval anti-terrorist patrols have not been able to keep the Yemen Islamists out. The Islamic Courts appear to be attracting recruits, specialists, weapons and money from sympathizers in Yemen. Some of these visitors from Yemen are al Qaeda, or very much into Islamic terrorism. Small groups of these men have been spotted, along with their weapons and large quantities (by Somali standards) of money. The offshore NATO patrols are apparently more intent on finding terrorists than pirates. But the pirates are easier to spot, and the terrorists go out of their way to look like another fishing or cargo boat.
Not to mention the Somalis in Yemen returning to support the Islamic Courts.
Its quite feasible that weapons originating in Yemen are in the hands of all three sides of the conflict. A good backgrounder on Somalia here including this: "Two dozens of Al Qaeda operatives, most of them coming from Yemen, are said to be in Somalia."
A few years ago when tanks from Yemen were found in the Sudan, Yemen said it wasn't an official transaction. But how could they have gotten there but on a military transport? Yemen by the way spends about 40% of public funds on the military, 7% of GPD when healthcare spending is 1.3%, and Dunnigan has dubbed it "Yemen's arms race with no one."