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Al Qaeda rebranding in Yemen's South!

Interesting Article: Yemen: Militants capture another city in south by ADNKRONOS INTERNATIONAL / Sanaa published Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An interesting blurb mentioned that Al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen have captured the town of Al-Khoud in the southern Abyan province, according to news reports. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the local branch of the terrorist group, resisted bombing since Monday afternoon by the Yemeni air force, Xinhua news agency reported, citing unnamed sources. Al-Khoud is the latest town to fall into militant hands following the capture of numerous other cities and town in Yemen's south. About 12,000 insurgents fight for AQAP in Yemen. The force has benefited from the government's entanglements with a popular uprising and an armed separatist movement. So what is going on in the south of Yemen?

Seven suspected al Qaeda militants were killed Wednesday in the southern Yemen province of Abyan, two security officials in the province said. Among those killed in the government attacks were a Somali, a Moroccan, an Iranian, and a Pakistani, the officials said. Residents in the cities of Jaar and Koud in Abyan have noticed a growing number of foreign fighters in the province. Eyewitnesses said that at least 200 foreign fighters were seen patrolling the city of Jaar and more were entering. "You can never tell that Jaar is a Yemeni city. There are many different nationalities. It was never like this," said Ali Sulaiman, a resident of the city. Residents in the neighboring province of Aden said fewer security forces are in the streets, and they fear this could open the way for militants to move in from Abyan. More than 100,000 Abyan residents have been displaced to Aden since May, when the Ansaar al-Sharia terror group took over the majority of the province, observers say. Researchers who study al-Qaeda in Yemen said the groups that control Zinjibar in Abyan province are terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, but they are operating under a different name. Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's former leader, expressed a desire to change the organization’s name, according to a letter he wrote on his personal computer which was confiscated from his house in Abbottabad, Pakistan upon his death in May. In the letter, bin Laden acknowledged the need to "re-brand" al-Qaeda, including changing its name so that the new organization is not associated with the activities of al-Qaeda. By changing its name to Ansar al-Sharia, the Yemeni group hopes to have an easier path to achieving its objectives and limit the opposition to al-Qaeda in Arab and Islamic countries that reject its methods. Dr. Saeed al-Jamhi, a researcher specializing in al-Qaeda affairs and president of Al-Jamhi Centre for Studies and Research, told Al-Shorfa that the groups are trying to portray themselves as local organizations with religious legitimacy. He emphasized that Ansar al-Sharia "executes al-Qaeda's agenda using its (al-Qaeda's) methods and in accordance with its plans, which is evident in the methods it is using in the war in Abyan." Al-Jamhi said a connection between Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaeda was confirmed in a July 18th report in INSPIRE, al-Qaeda's online magazine. The report detailed members killed in clashes with the 25 Mika Brigade in Zinjibar. He said that report motivated the tribes to mobilize their forces to fight al-Qaeda in Abyan. Al-Qaeda countered by issuing a statement warning tribesmen about being "lured into a criminal scheme by the authorities to set the two sides against each other".  



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