Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi
Article Date: Jun 5, 2010 - 10:33:42 AM
Yemen may review its tactics in fighting al-Qaeda operatives after an air strike aimed at al-Qaeda killed the secretary general of the local council of Marib province and led to clashes between his kinsmen and the army, said the Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi.
According to the Gulf Times al-Qirbi said that the government inquiry into last week’s strikes that killed Jaber al-Shabwani . and four others will also investigate whether drones were involved in the operation.
“If there was a drone, and we don’t know, then we have to find out if this was used by the Yemeni security forces or by others, but we don’t know how the incident happened. We will have to wait for the results of the investigation,” Qirbi said. When asked if other parties could include the US, Qirbi said, “Yes.”
Qirbi said that further action by the Yemeni government in response to the killing of Shabwani, who was also deputy governor of Marib province where the strike occurred, would depend on the outcome of the investigation.
“There can be prosecutions, there can be political security decisions on the matter. There might also be an addressing of the approach in fighting terrorist groups and terrorism in Yemen,” he said.
In the days following the May 25 attack, members of Shabwani’s tribe clashed with security forces and twice blew up an oil pipeline running through Marib and cut power cables linking the power plant in Marib to most main Yemeni cities including the capital Sana’a.
Officials said Shabwani had been en route to meet Al Qaeda members to seek their surrender. A top Yemeni security body expressed sorrow over Shabwani’s death, calling him a martyr.
Asked about the strike, US officials have said Washington plays a supporting role by helping Yemeni forces track and pinpoint targets.
US officials said last week that the US military and spy agencies have stepped up intelligence gathering using surveillance aircraft, satellites, and signals intercepts to track Al Qaeda targets in and around their base in Yemen.
Qirbi said he was not afraid of a possible backlash from Yemenis who object to US interference. “This is in line with Yemen’s request in fighting terrorism,” he said.
“Those who want us help fight terrorism have to help us in providing us with the logistical support, with the training, with the firing power. This is what we need from them, from the Americans and others in our fight against terrorists.”
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US and Yemen joined forces to fight Al Qaeda, and Washington has kept a close eye on developments in the country.
Yemen’s prime minister said on Sunday that Yemen would not accept any attempt by the US to assassinate radical US born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is wanted dead or alive by Washington and is currently in hiding in Yemen.
• Offensive against militants drives US drone campaign, tribes claim
• Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
• Government says Al Qaeda deputy amir dead, experts skeptical