Cablegate: Yemen: 2004 Annual Terrorism Report

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 245841

1. Below is Embassy Sanaa's submission to the 2004 Patterns
of Global Terrorism Report. 2004 Addendum sent septel. The
text and the addendum have also been forwarded to S/CT POC
via e-mail.

2. Begin text.

Terrorist Attacks and Prosecutions

There were no reported terrorist attacks against Westerners
in Yemen in 2004. An economically motivated kidnapping of
five oil workers, including one western national occurred on
August 31 in the Ma'rib Governorate. The incident was
resolved in a matter of hours without injuries or deaths,
following intervention by the local authorities. All
indications point toward this kidnapping being economically
motivated and not a terrorist incident. The hostages were
employees of the Omani oil drilling company that had
previously employed members of the tribe responsible for the

The Republic of Yemen Government continued to cooperate with
U.S. law enforcement and took action against al-Qaida and
local extremists in 2004 by arresting several individuals
suspected of having al-Qaida ties. Most notable, however,
was the government's prosecution of the perpetrators of
several terrorist acts. Two terrorism-related prosecutions
were conducted in 2004.

On August 28 the Sanaa Primary Court convicted 14 al-Qaida
associates in one trial for various terrorism related
charges. Convictions were handed down for the following
crimes: the October 2002 attack on the French tanker the V/M
Limburg; the murder of a Ministry of Interior officer during
the November 2002 attack on an oil company helicopter, a plot
to attack the Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority; a
plot to attack four foreign embassies in Sanaa and to kill
the U.S. Ambassador; and, for forging documents for the
purpose of carrying out terrorism. Two defendants received
death sentences, one in absentia. The other defendants were
sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to ten years.
Under Yemeni law, both defendants and the prosecution have
the right to appeal rulings. The defendants have all
appealed their sentences, as has the prosecution. The latter
arguing that some of the sentences were too light. The
appeals process is expected to conclude in early 2005.

On September 10 the Sanaa Primary Court concluded the trial
of five defendants for the October 12, 2000 attack on the USS
COLE in Aden that killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 35. On
September 29, the court issued two death sentences for the
ringleaders of the bombing. Three others were convicted and
sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to ten years for
their roles in the attack. This case is also currently under

In both terrorism trials, the USG was able to assist in the
prosecution by assuming the victims, families, right under
Yemeni law to participate on behalf of the families. The
Yemeni Attorney General,s office cooperated extensively with
the USG under this provision of the law and ensured that
adequate evidence was collected against all the defendants.

The Yemeni Supreme Court heard appeals on the death sentences
of Abed Abdulrazak al-Kamel and Ali Ahmed Mohamed Jarallah
for the December 30, 2002 shootings of three American
citizens in Jibla. No final decision has been issued on
al-Kamel,s case. Court officials expect that the conviction
will be upheld and passed to President Saleh, who they
believe is likely to sign the order to carry out the
sentence. Post representatives attended al-Kamel,s trial
and appeal proceedings, which were relatively transparent and
openly reported in the local media.

Security and CT Cooperation

Yemen publicly expresses its support for the global war on
terrorism. In meetings with senior U.S. officials, President
Saleh underscores Yemen,s determination to be an active
counterterrorism partner. Work remains to be done to improve
Yemen's counterterrorism capabilities and to increase border
security. Yemen attended the IISS Gulf Security Dialogue
Conference in Bahrain in December 2004 during which the
participants agreed to increase regional counter terrorism

Over the past year, Yemen has increased its maritime security
capabilities. The USG provided extensive training and eight
boats to the Yemeni Coast Guard, which is now a visible
patrolling force along the coastline and may well become a
model for other Horn of Africa nations. The Coast Guard is a
long way from having the skill, technology, equipment and
training to maintain a continuous patrolling presence along
the entire maritime border, or even to continually cover
potential hot spots. Yemen has expressed a willingness to
fight international terrorists by denying them the use of its
territorial seas and ports. It is expanding Coast Guard
operations to stem the use of Yemen as a &way station8 for
smuggling of persons, drugs, weapons and explosives. This
effort remains constrained by a lack of capacity, capability,
and financial support.

Land border security along Yemen's extensive frontier with
Saudi Arabia remains a major concern. In February, Yemen and
Saudi Arabia agreed to bolster cooperation in order to combat
cross border arms and persons smuggling. The two countries
also agreed to establish joint patrols and increase
monitoring. In November 2004, Yemen and Saudi Arabia began
looking at joint military exercises and ways to expand border
checkpoints, but this cooperation is still in the discussion
stage and much work remains to be done to expand the
relationship. The Ministry of Defense is exploring the
possibility of extending command control and communications
links to the Saudi border. In 2003, in keeping with a
bilateral security agreement, Sanaa and Riyadh exchanged
prisoners and terror suspects, including the handing over by
Yemen of an individual on the Saudi's most-wanted list.
Although there are reports that the two governments are
arranging another prisoner exchange, this has not occurred as
of December 2004.

The Yemeni Central Security Force-Counter Terrorism Unit
(CSF-CTU) has greatly improved its CT capabilities as a
direct result of US assistance and training. Yemen also
continues to cooperate with the USG under its Terrorist
Interdiction Program, designed to ensure cooperation between
ministries to strengthen military capabilities and tighten
border posts and checkpoints in tribal and border areas. The
program is currently enjoying limited success as a result of
U.S. aid.

In 2004, the government's capacity for stemming terrorism
financing remained limited. In February, the United Nations
Sanctions Committee designated prominent Yemeni Sheikh and
opposition Islah party leader Abdul Majid al-Zindani as a
person who provides material support to al-Qaida. Despite
repeated requests, the Yemeni government has taken no action
to freeze his assets in compliance with their UN obligations.
Zindani continues to appear prominently at public events.

There were no reported arrests by Yemeni authorities of any
high-profile al-Qaida associates in 2004.

In November 2003 authorities arrested Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal
(a.k.a. Abu Asim al-Makki) who supported mujahedin and
terrorist operations throughout the Middle East and in
Chechnya. He remains in custody.

In 2003 authorities arrested al-Qaida operative Fawaz
al-Rabi'ea (a.k.a. Furqan) and al-Qaida associate Hadi
Dulqum. Al-Rabi'ea was sentenced to ten years in the M/V
Limburg trial for plotting to attack the Civil Aviation and
Meteorology Authority. Hadi Dulqum remains in detention. In
2003 the Yemeni government also apprehended suspected
al-Qaida associate Jabber al-Banna who has an outstanding
Federal indictment as well as an Interpol warrant for
providing &material support8 to terrorism related to the
&Lackawana Six8 terrorist cell in Buffalo, New York. He
also remains in custody.

In March 10 Yemeni authorities apprehended USS Cole bombing
suspects who had escaped from an Aden prison in April 2003.
Of those that were recaptured, Jamal al-Badawi and Fahad
al-Quso have both been tried convicted, their cases are
currently on appeal.

In August 2002 Yemen formed the Islamic Dialogue Committee
headed by a leading judge. In 2004 the committee continued
its dialogue with detainees arrested for connection to
terrorist groups and extremist elements, including many
Yemeni returnees from Afghanistan. According to the Ministry
of Interior, before detainees are released they are screened
by Yemen,s Political Security Organization, and make
commitments to uphold the Yemeni constitution and laws, the
rights of non-Muslims, and the inviolability of foreign
interests. In a 2004 Ramadan Amnesty the government released
over one hundred security detainees claiming they had been

In June, the Ministry of Vice and Religious Guidance
sponsored the first "Guidance Conference," bringing together
more than 270 Muslim clerics from across the Middle East to
promote moderate and tolerant aspects of Islam. The
conference dealt with several issues including the
differentiation between terrorism and legitimate struggle.
The conference concluded with five primary recommendations to
combat extremism in Islam.

Several terrorist organizations continued to maintain a
presence in Yemen throughout 2004. HAMAS and Palestinian
Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are recognized as legal organizations and
HAMAS maintains offices in Yemen. Neither organization has
engaged in any known terrorist activities in Yemen, and PIJ
does not have any known operational presence. HAMAS conducts
extensive fundraising through mosques and other charitable
organizations throughout the country. While al-Qaida
operational structure in Yemen has been weakened and
dispersed, concerns remain about attempts to reconstitute
operational cells in Yemen

Other international terrorist groups with a presence in Yemen
include remnants of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Gama,a
al-Islamiyya. Despite a major offensive by the Yemen
government in 2003, the Aden Abyan Islamic Army also
maintains a presence in the country.

Yemen is a party to eight of the 12 international conventions
and protocols relating to terrorism.

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