At a time that religious fatwas are being issued in Sanaa stating that Jihad will be declared against the US should it intervene in Yemen against the Al Qaeda organization, Tariq Al-Fadli, the man who fought a jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan in the eighties, is flying the American flag over his home in southern Yemen.
The wonders of Yemen do not stop here, and one of Al Qaeda’s most important theorists and muftis today, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in the US and holds US citizenship, continues to reside and receive terrorists in Yemen. Al-Awlaki is the theorist that praised the last three operations undertaken against the US; the Fort Hood attack carried out by an American Doctor of Palestinian origin, the operation targeting US intelligence officers in Afghanistan carried out by a Jordanian medical student, and lastly his praise of the Nigerian student who attempted to blow up an American Delta flight.
It is clear here that the entire issue is one of political opportunism and power struggle, and so it seems that loyalties in Yemen are seasonal. Therefore we see al-Fadli, who was always proud of his jihad in Afghanistan, a man who fought for Sanaa against the South during the Yemeni civil war, losing no time in joining the southern movement, and flying the American flag over his home in order to demonstrate his innocence of the accusations made against him by the government that he is cooperating with the Al Qaeda organization. Al-Fadli has forsaken his former comrades in Afghanistan in the same manner that he has forsaken northern Yemen.
When we say political opportunism, it is clear today that the problem in Yemen lies in the struggle for power; Al Qaeda is searching to establish its state and believes that Yemen is the right location for this because Al Qaeda is only active and comfortable in countries where there is a power struggle between the tribes and other forces. The Huthis believed that with Iranian support this is the perfect opportunity to declare their state of North Yemen on the border with Saudi Arabia, enabling Tehran to create a mini-state in this region in the same manner as the Hezbollah mini-state. As for southern Yemen, even if its people have demands or genuine needs, others want to exploit these for leadership and power, like Tariq al-Fadli, who fought with Sanaa for the annexation of the south, and today is fighting against Sanaa for the secession of the south from the north.
This is a strange and complex story and indicates that the crisis in Yemen today is a purely political one that is being exploited by everybody, but each according to their own vision; the clerics have their own vision and ambition, Al Qaeda also has its vision and ambition, and the same applies to the Huthis and the southern separatists, while the people of Sanaa make, and are the subject of, complex calculations, that reveal this political conflict. The major victim of all of this is Yemen and its stability, and the security of the Arab Gulf; therefore it is clear that Yemen is in need of a corrective political process that requires a lot of work to prevent the breakup of the Yemeni state.