By Nasser Arrabyee,01/05/2012
The Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular(AQAP) retracted to execute 73 Yemeni soldiers who were supposed to be killed by firing squads at the end of April if the Yemeni government did not release Al Qaaeda detainees.
Instead, all the 73 soldiers were released unharmed earlier this week without any releasing of any Al Qaeda detainees from the government prisons in return.
Al Qaeda detained the soldiers on March 4 after it killed 185 of their colleagues when it surprisingly attacked troops positions at the area of Dawfas, at the outskirts of Al Qaeda-held twon of Zinjubar, in the southern province of Abyan.
The retraction of Al Qaeda was viewed by analysts as a weakness signal because of the great pressures on it, not only from outside but also from inside the organization and its sympathizers.
"A lot of soldiers were killed by Al Qaeda, and some leaders of AQAP and its sympathizers say these soldiers are Muslims and can be fighters with us," Said Saeed Obaid, the chairman of the Al Jemhi Center for Studies, a think-tank on Al Qaeda.
" By the release , Al Qaeda wanted to gain sympathy from the people because it failed to kill them or to keep them," Obaid said "and it was also impossible to swap with them."
The release took place in Jaar, the first Taliban-style Emirate declared early last year and some of the well- known AQAP leaders were present to speak to soldiers and their families. This incident has strongly proved that there is no difference between those who call themselves " Ansar Al Al Shariah" and AQAP.
In Al Qaeda-declared emirates like Jaar , Zinjubar, and Rada'a, AQAP fighters call themselves Ansar Al Shariah just to deceive naive young people and recruit them. Some uneducated but religious parents would bar their sons from joining Al Qaeda as dangerous or terrorist but would encourage them to joint " Ansar Al Shariah", because the term is new and looks really religious and not terrorist.
Kasem Al Raymi, AQAP military commander, and Tarek Al Fadhli, attended the speech ceremony. Al Raimi is the third most important leader after the Yemeni Nasser Al Wahaishi and the Saudi Saeed Al Shihiri. The order of releasing the 73 soldiers came from Nasser Al Wahaishi, according to the statement that was read before the release and distributed to all journalists.
Some of the detainees' families and journalists, and human rights activists from Hood and Al Karama organizations, and the cleric Awadh Ba Najjar were in the ceremony.
Al Qaeda also released 13 others from local people who were detained in different times for allegedly cooperating with the government and the army.
Kasem Al Raymi, AQAQ military commander, was masked while he was speaking to tribal and religious scholars and journalists and right activists.
He came masked with tens of bodyguards around him, and sat next to the leaders of "Ansar Al Ashariah", like Jalal Beleidi, and Tarek Al Fadhli, said journalists who attended the ceremony. Kasme Al Raymi was the only one masked, even though he was not introduced as Kasem Al Raymi.
"The local people of Jaar told us, the masked man was Kasem Al Raymi," said Anis Mansour, one of the journalist who attended.
"We released the detainees today, although our detainees are still languishing in the prisons of the Sanaa government," said a statement distributed to journalists.
The release came in respect to the mediation and intercession of some clerics who came to us like Shiekh Awadh Ba Najjar, and those who came with him of the journalists and human rights," said the statement which was signed by AQAP.
" Our battle is with America and the Crusaders, so do not be tools in their hands against Islam and Muslims and, and do not be obstacles in the road of the establishment of the rule of Allah," said the statement, addressing the released soldiers and the Yemeni army in general.
" The US ambassador in Sanaa is the real ruler in Yemen, and he interferes even in your salaries and appointments of your commanders," the statement said.
" The Sanaa government will never ever care for you, and the issue of 73 detainees is good evidence that it never cares for you, it only implements the orders and wishes of America and its ambassador in Sanaa," said the statement, addressing the army.
"You are victims for the American policies, it's Zionism- Crusade policy, so do not lose your religion and your lives for very few in return " said the statement.
The Al Qaeda- specialized analyst Saeed Obaid said the message was clear that Al Qaeda wanted to say to the new government that the enemy is America not Yemeni army or government.
"Al Qaeda wanted to say : we are not against the new government, we are not against the army, but we are against America and the crusaders and zionists," said the analysts Saeed Obaid.
$20 million for terror-related mosque in Yemen
The recently formed government of Yemen has a plan to spend 20 million dollars for building a mosque inside a religious and fundamentalist university owned and run by an extremist cleric accused of supporting global terrorism.
Last week, the minister of finance Sakhr Al Wajeh, approved an amount of 1 million dollars ( 200 million Yemeni Rials) as the first payment for building the first stage of the mosque of Al-Eman university of Sheikh Abdul Majid Al Zandani.
The first stage will cost 5 million dollars (1 billion YR), and the overall cost of the whole mosques in all stages will be 20 million dollars (4 billion YR), according to documents at the ministry of finance.
When he was an opposition figure, the minister of finance was one of the most critical members of Parliament of the government's expenditures far from urgent needs of the poor people.
Al Wajeeh is also the chairman of the Yemeni parliamentarians against corruption (Yemen PAC).
A lot of Yemenis got angry for spending this much money from very poor budget on a mosque while Yemen has more than enough mosques, but has very few schools and hospitals.
The government which is chaired by the Islamist-dominated coalition,(JMP), justifies spending this much money on Al Zandani's mosque, by saying it was the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who approved the budget of the mosque when he visited Al Eman university during his elections campaign in 2006.
The same minister Al Wajeeh, would refuse or at least obstruct any order from the former president Saleh. But he did not stop this huge amount of money for the mosque, said some sources from the ministry.
But the political analyst Faisal Al Sufi,said the new government should have corrected Saleh's mistakes not do even worse and worse mistakes.
"I was expecting that this new government would turn Al Eman university into a normal scientific university concerned with strategic studies about development and combating terrorism," said Al Sufi.
"The biggest mistake taken by Saleh was that he supported Al Zandani and his university,and now the new government needs to correct this mistake not to develop it," Al Sufi added.