Monday, July 12, 2004

Are Iran and Al Qaeda vying for influence in Yemen? |

Are Iran and Al Qaeda vying for influence in Yemen? | "Al Qaeda despises the Shiite branch of Islam as much as it hates the US. Therefore, analysts say, Iran may back Shiite groups to counter the spread of Al Qaeda's influence in Yemen, which would threaten the country's traditionally moderate Zaidi Shiite population.
'I don't think Iran will allow Al Qaeda to set up a base in Yemen which could threaten the Zaidi Shiites,' says Nizar Hamzeh, professor of politics at the American University of Beirut.
On July 1, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, an Al Qaeda affiliate, released a statement vowing 'to drag the United States into a third quagmire, that is after Iraq and Afghanistan, and let it be Yemen, God willing.' The brigade has previously claimed responsibility for the March 11 rail bombings in Madrid as well as numerous attacks in Turkey and Iraq.
With the US military presence in Yemen minimal it seems unlikely that Yemen would become a venue for the war on terror. However, Yemen is the most populated and poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, with unemployment as high as 40 percent, making it fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda."


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