Chronology: Yemen

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview
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Chronology: Yemen

See also Saudi Arabia

Apr. 16: US drone strikes killed six suspected al-Qa'ida militants in the southeastern province of Shabwa, according to two Yemeni security officials. Azzan was the first district to fall into Islamist hands in Yemen in March 2011, following popular uprisings that ultimately removed President 'Ali 'Abdullah Salih from power in November 2011. [CNN, 4/17]

Apr. 17: Al-Qa'ida claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Saudi deputy consul 'Abdullah al-Khalidi in Aden. Al-Khalidi was abducted on March 28 in the southern port city of Aden. Al-Qa'ida leader Mishal Muhammad Rashid al-Shudukhi demanded the release of militants held in Saudi prisons in exchange for al-Khalidi's release. [BBC, 4/17]

Apr. 25: Muhammad Sayyid al-Umda, the fourth most-wanted al-Qa'ida leader in Yemen, was killed by US drone strikes in the northeastern province of Ma'rib. The killing of al-Umda, who was in charge of providing logistical and financial support to the terrorist network al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), came one day after FBI director Robert Mueller arrived in Sana'a to meet with President 'Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi to discuss counterterrorism efforts in Yemen. [CNN, 4/25]

Apr. 27: General Tariq Muhammad 'Abdullah Salih, the head of the Presidential Guard and the nephew of former Yemeni president, agreed to step down. Yemen's air force chief, General Muhammad Salih al-Ahmar, did the same on April 24. Yemen's main political parties agreed with President 'Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi's decision to replace 20 senior military officers who had been friends and relatives of the deposed president. [BBC, 4/27]

May 7: Fahd Muhammad al-Quso, the senior al-Qa'ida leader linked to the 2000 bombing of the American warship USS Cole, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen's Shabwa Province. In response to the assault, militants attacked a military position in Zinjibar, the capital city of Abyan Province, leaving 32 soldiers dead. Quso's death was mistakenly reported in 2009; this time, however, al-Qa'ida and theYemeni embassy confirmed reports of his death. [NYT, 5/7]

May 15: Two al-Qa'ida militants were killed in the eastern province of Hadramawt after a US drone hit a car carrying the fighters. The drone strike followed reports of air strikes in the southern province of Abyan on May 15-16, where at least 16 suspected militants were killed in Lawder and 18 in Ja'ar. Seven al-Qa'ida fighters and eight civilians were killed in the Ja'ar strike, raising concerns in the international community over rising civilian causalities associated with drone attacks. [BBC, 5/17]

May 21: A suicide bomber disguised as a soldier detonated an explosive belt in the middle of a military parade rehearsal near the presidential palace in Sana'a. Ansar al-Shari'a, a militant group allied with AQAP, claimed responsibility for the attack that killed nearly 100 soldiers and lefthundreds wounded. The group stated that the attack was retaliation for US-Yemen joint military campaigns to root out Islamist militants in southern provinces. [NYT, 5/21]

May 21: Fourteen al-Qa'ida fighters and seven Yemeni soldiers were killed on May 20 in Ja'ar, a town in the southern province of Abyan. Clashes between the army and al-Qa'ida militants ensued after hundreds of troops attempted to retake Ja'ar and target the fighters' weapon storage sites. Meanwhile, a Yemeni airstrike killed ten fighters at an al-Qa'ida hideout 70 kilometers from Zinjibar, the provincial capital. According to local security officials, more than 90 al-Qa'ida fighters were killed during the previous week in Abyan Province. [CNN, 5/21]

May 24: Saudi Arabia pledged $3.25 billion in aid to Yemen as aid agencies warned that 44% of Yemen's population was undernourished. At the international "Friends of Yemen" conference, held in Riyadh, other donors echoed Saudi Arabia's commitment to alleviate the security crisis in Yemen and increased the fund to $4 billion.

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