The Happy Arab News Service




Wednesday, February 21, 2007




Saada

According to an AP (Associated Press) reporter in Yemen about 200 soldiers and police officers died in clashes with Shia fundamentalist insurgents in recent weeks in Saada.

The rebels are part of a Shiite Muslim group known as "The Young Faithful Believers" that accuses the government of being corrupt and too close to the West.

. . .

The government had accused Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi (the rebel leader NB) of sedition, forming an illegal armed group and inciting anti-American sentiment.

Yemen has been a strong supporter of the US war on terror and for a good reason: the country has no time left for playing stupid games. Oil exports, which account for 70% of the state revenues, are expected to decline sharply as the country is depleting its reserves, with some experts predicting that they may completely run out right at the beginning of the next decade. The government has been recently trying in serious to push forward a package of free market reforms with a view to attract foreign investment. The recent instability may spell big troubles for this part of the economic reform.

Last week Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued an ultimatum for the rebels to disarm or face an all-out army assault. Since then there has been an obvious escalation with 100 soldiers who died only in the last five days. Now here come allegations of foreign involvement:

Last week, members of the Yemen Supreme Defense Council voiced concerns, saying the Shiite rebels were receiving funds and assistance from outside countries, according to one of the council's members.

The member, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, did not name the countries. But state-owned newspapers have reported that the government suspects Iran and Libya are backing the rebellion.

Source

PS

I find it hard to figure out what Libya can have to do with Shia fundamentalists fighting a US allied government in far away Yemen.

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