Al-Qaeda on Trial in Yemen
Planned Attacks on Americans
Reuters reports on the ongoing trial of 8 alleged al-Qaeda members in Yemen. In a dramatic new develeopment, the prosecutor said information had arisen that the group was planning to kill Americans in Saudi Arabia, and were working on plans for attacks in Gulf countries. It says,
The group, on trial since March, were initially accused of having links to al Qaeda and planning to blow up the British and Italian embassies and a French cultural centre in Yemen. The suspects — two Syrians, a Kuwaiti of Iraqi origin and five Yemenis — have pleaded guilty to planning the attacks in Yemen but denied they had formed an armed group. The prosecutor said new information showed the group had planned to attack military bases in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, as well as American civilians, Western companies, restaurants and schools. He said they also plotted attacks in Kuwait, Bahrain, Europe and the United States but did not give any details.
The US government says that “Al-Qaeda’s operational structure in Yemen has been weakened and dispersed. However, concerns remain about the organization’s attempts to reconstitute operational cells in Yemen.” It is worrying that the Yemeni government’s ability to stop terrorist financing is estimated as “limited.”
Yemen’s judges have pioneered apparently effective ways of “deprogramming” al-Qaeda sympathizers by arguing them out of their warped view of the world.
AFP reports on Mauritanian government claims that al-Qaeda is attempting to infiltrate the poor, North African country. AFP quotes suspicions of some, however, that the Mauritanian government is over-dramatizing the problem in hopes of receiving more Western aid.