|05SANAA690||2005-03-23 11:22:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Sanaa|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 SANAA 000690
1. (S/NF) Demonstrations
A. Are there any ethnic or religious communities in country
that are capable of carrying out significant anti-American
There are not organized, clearly defined communities as
such, but ad hoc groupings of Yemeni fundamentalists and/or
some members of the Zaidi sect are predisposed to oppose
U.S. policy in Palestine/Israel, Iraq and elsewhere,
and occasionally demonstrate to express their views.
B. Have there been anti-American demonstrations in the
country within the last 12 months?
On May 29th, 2004 a demonstration took place at Tahrir
Square protesting U.S. involvement in Iraq. Between 1500
and 2000 individuals took part in the demonstration.
There were small demonstrations at mosques in Sanaa to
protest al-Moayad's extradition to the U.S. in Fall 2003.
Since September 2003, there have been regular reports, in
the press and from other sources, of arrests following
clashes between police and worshippers at the Grand Mosque
in Sanaa. The disturbances during sermons include
protesters shouting "death to America death to Israel"
and other anti-American and anti-Jewish slogans. Many of
these mosque-based demonstrations have been associated
with a sect led by Zaidi scholar al-Houthi killed in
September 2004 by ROYG forces during an insurrection.
On March 21, 2003, a march of 5-7,000 people protesting the
war in Iraq was stopped by police approximately 1/4 mile
from the U.S. Embassy; the demonstrators initiated
violent confrontations that resulted in the death of
several police and protesters.
On March, 2003, Yemenis held several demonstrations
opposing war in Iraq, most near the UN headquarters complex
in Sanaa, Tahrir Square and Old Airport Road, all several
miles from the Embassy.
In Winter 2002 - 2003, Yemeni women held demonstrations in
front of the German Embassy protesting the arrest of Sheikh
al-Moayed in Frankfurt, Germany, on terrorism charges.
C. Have these demonstrations taken place near or in front
of U.S. diplomatic facilities?
The usual sites for anti-American gatherings are in areas
of Sanaa away from the Embassy; however, the
above-mentioned March 21, 2003 event took place nearby.
D. What is the average size of an anti-American demonstration?
Depending on the location, up to several hundred people.
Peaceful demonstrations protesting the war in Iraq have
ranged from approximately 1,000 to 100,000, by some media
accounts. Local press routinely carry inflated estimates
ranging from half a million to one million-plus.
E. Are these anti-American demonstrations usually triggered
by U.S. foreign policy initiatives, military actions, or by
U.S. foreign policy initiatives and military/law
enforcement and counter-terrorism endeavors, as well as
ROYG cooperation with same.
F. Are these demonstrations generally violent or peaceful?
Generally peaceful. Demonstrations must be coordinated and
approved by ROYG in advance; consequently, the vast
majority are peaceful. If not approved in advance, ROYG
forces will forcibly disband a demonstration.
G. If violent, have any demonstrations resulted in damage
to USG property or injuries to USG employees?
No; however, Yemeni police and protester fatalities
in March 2003 were due in large part to the intervention of
host government security protecting the U.S. Embassy.
H. If violent, have any demonstrations ever penetrated our
perimeter security line?
I. Have there been anti-government demonstrations in the
country within the last 12 months?
Yes, directed at specific policies, including child labor,
education and bringing mosques under government control.
Several anti-government demonstrations occurred in Sanaa
On March 17th of 2005 nine persons including five
policemen were reported to have been wounded in clashes
between police and protesters angry at a 10% sales tax
the government plans to introduce in July. Similar
protests occurred in Hodeidah with two persons injured
and the detention of 15 by the police.
J. Have these demonstrations taken place near or in front
of U.S. diplomatic facilities?
K. What is the average size of an anti-government
Fairly small, approximately 50 to 200 individuals, similar
to anti-U.S. protests.
L. Are these demonstrations generally violent or peaceful?
M. If violent, have any demonstrations resulted in damage
to USG property?
2. (S/NF) Macro Conflict Conditions
A. Is the host country currently engaged in an interstate
or intrastate conflict?
Yes, Yemen is engaged in an internal conflict. Host
country is cooperating with U.S. efforts to identify
and stop/attack terrorist targets within Yemen.
The ROYG is concluding large-scale military
operations against supporters of Shi'ite (Zaidi) scholar
al-Houthi in Sa'da, killed in September 2004 by ROYG
military forces. Pockets of resistance remain around
B. If an intrastate conflict, is it an insurgency that is
limited to a specific region or a country-wide civil war?
Yes, Sa'da Governate
C. If limited to a specific region, are any U.S. diplomatic
facilities located in this region?
There are no diplomatic facilities in this region.
D. Have any of the factions involved in these intrastate
conflicts signaled or demonstrated an anti-American
Yes, al-Houthi criticized Sunni scholars for ordering
people to obey cruel rulers who cooperate with America.
3. (S/NF) Host Country Capabilities
A. Are law enforcement agencies professional and well-trained?
U.S. assistance has enabled Yemen to develop a competent
counter-terrorism strike force (see below), but regular
police/law enforcement are often corrupt, poorly trained
and underpaid. For example, an average officer earns 60
USD per month. A captain with 20 years experience earns
only 120 per month. A Brigadier General earns 300 USD
per month. This economic condition -- reflecting Yemen's
widespread poverty (average per capita income is less than
USD 400 countrywide) -- fosters widespread corruption that
possibly could be diminished with increased remuneration.
Further, law enforcement agencies face numerous challenges
regarding planning, coordination and execution of complex
counter-terrorism operations. Reliance on manpower is
emphasized over the use of technology. Agencies have
difficulty maintaining operations security and have
difficulty operating in a nighttime environment.
On the other hand, Yemeni law enforcement agencies have
shown a willingness to cooperate with U.S. and Western
law enforcement agencies -- e.g. in the relatively
proficient forensic investigation of the M/V Limburg attack
in October 2002. The United States has provided equipment
and extensive training to the Central Security Forces
(CSF), a para-military unit of the Ministry of Interior.
In mid-September 2003, the ROYG disrupted an
al-Qa'ida-affiliated cell operating in Sanaa targeting
Western interests. The cell was headed by Afghanistan-
trained Amral-Sharif. The government provided further
information on the ROYG's investigation into the cell's
activities and members, particularly information on several
arrests in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. (Note: see answer to
Transnational Terrorist Indicators question 6B for
In cooperation with Yemeni officials, the FBI actively
participated in the investigation of the December 30, 2002
shootings of three American health care workers in Jibla.
The perpetrators -- Abed Abdulrazak al-Kamel, the shooter,
and Ali Ahmed Mohamed Jarallah, the planner -- were tried,
convicted and sentenced to death in separate trials in
2003. On December 1, 2003, a three-judge panel affirmed
the death sentence of al-Kamel, who will appeal the
decision to the Yemen Supreme Court. Court officials
expect that the conviction will be upheld and passed to
President Saleh, who is likely sign to off on 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
Al-Kamel coordinated the attack with Ali al-Jarallah, who
was convicted of both the Amcit murders and the
assassination of Yemeni Socialist Party Deputy
Secretary-General Jarallah Omar in a separate trial
in Sanaa in October 2003. Al-Jarallah is also expected
to appeal his conviction and sentence. No specific date
has been set for the executions.
FBI officials are also currently planning to provide
equipment and training for Yemeni security officials
to build a national fingerprint database managed by the
Ministry of the Interior.
B. Have they been trained by U.S. agencies?
Some officers have received DS/ATA training, however, the
full impact of this training will be manifest only over the
long term. The Regional Security Office does maintain
high-level contacts within the Ministry of Interior who
received ATA training.
In July - August 2003, 24 host government police
investigators from across the country participated in a
two-week DS/ATA Terrorist Crime Scene investigation course
taught by Evidence Response Team FBI special agents.
The CSF is the counter-terrorism (CT) arm of the Central
Security Organization (CSO). The CSF has been equipped by
the U.S. and trained by U.K./U.S. personnel for the past
two years and will continue into the next fiscal year.
They are ROYG's intended primary CT force.
In June 2003, the newly-formed CSF CT unit was dispatched
to the Hattat mountains in Abyan province ostensibly to
hunt down and bring to justice those responsible for an
attack on a Red Crescent medical convoy the week before.
However, this was a cameo appearance. In fact, front-line
CSO troops were actually engaged. CSO troops were at the
lead of this effort when Ministry of Defense forces became
bogged down by harassing gunfire from the surrounding
hills. Over a three day period, CSO troops engaged those
responsible and completed their mission. CSO was sent
out the following week to complete mop-up operations.
Beginning in early March 2004, Yemeni counter-terrorism
operations were conducted by the CSF and Ministry of
Defense forces in the Abyan region for approximately
one week. Yemeni authorities informed Post of the
capture of al-Qaeda element Raouf Naseeb on March 3, 2004.
The Minister of Interior and Yemen Special Operations
Forces commander noted on March 8,2004, the capture of
four USS Cole escapees from Aden prison.
In August 2004, ATA funded attendance of 18 senior ROYG
officials to attend the Senior Crisis Management Seminar
in the United States. Also, ATA sponsored a Terrorist
Interdiction course for 24 mid-level ROYG officials in
September of 2004.
In February and March of 2005, 24 CSF/MOI members received
ATA Crisis Response Team training. Course was designed
specifically for two rapid response teams to deal with
C. Are law enforcement agencies confronted with serious,
widespread corruption inside their agencies?
Yes, see question 3A.
D. Are the intelligence services professional and capable
of deterring terrorist actions?
The intelligence services are moderately professional.
Despite ongoing engagement and considerable CT successes,
they have limited capability. In late 2004, the Ministry
of the Interior formed a new CT investigative unit
comprised of 100 investigators primarily assigned to CT
E. Have the intelligence services been cooperative with
U.S. Embassy requests or information and support?
Yes, but often grudgingly. Intelligence services rarely
volunteer information. Yet on some occasions the ROYG takes
the initiative to inform the USG of CT developments -- e.g.
in the case of ROYG success in September 2003 in disrupting
a Sanaa-based al-Qaeda cell.
In a December 2004 in an incident involving an attempted
attack on Embassy employees, Yemeni security officials were
extremely slow in providing information on the progress of
their investigation and did not allow U.S. investigators
interrogative access to the suspects.
F. Assuming there have been significant terrorist threats
in recent years, have host country security services been
able to score any major anti-terrorism successes?
G. Has host country been responsive (re: timeliness and
allocation of resources) to Embassy requests for protective
H. How does the Embassy assess the overall security at
major airports in the country?
Poor, but the ROYG is receptive to additional U.S.-funded
equipment and security training. After an October 2003
assessment by Transportation Security Administration
officials, ATA provided an Airport Security Management
Course for 27 ROYG officials.
I. How effective are customs and immigration controls
Ineffective but improving. Since February 2002, Somali and
Ethiopian refugees have been entering Yemen at a reported
rate of approximately 1,500 per month, adding to the 60,000
refugees previously registered. They are settling on the
southern and western coasts, forming criminal and
prostitution rings along clan lines. Criminal related
violence is on the rise. With USG assistance, the customs
and immigration services are attempting to standardize and
modernize equipment and coverage.
J. How effective are border patrol forces?
In the recent past ineffective; however, a current surge of
more than 7,000 troops from MOI/MOD resources and increased
cooperation by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (to include
collaboration on intelligence and smuggling information).
However, these measures have not generally improved the
effectiveness of border patrol forces.
4. (S/NF) Anti-American Terrorist Groups
A. Are there indigenous, anti-American terrorist groups in
B. If yes, how many?
Four are known: Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (AAIA); Yemen
Islamic Jihad; al-Qaeda Sympathizers; Yemen Hizballah.
The Shi'a Shabab al-Ma'mineen (Believing Youth Group)
(Sad'a), is considered anti-American but not classified
as a terrorist group.
C. Have these groups carried out anti-American attacks
within the last 12 months?
D. Were any of these lethal attacks?
E. Have these groups attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities?
F. Have these groups attacked U.S. business, U.S. military,
or related targets?
G. Have these groups limited their attacks to specific
regions or do they operate country-wide?
H. If their attacks are limited to regions, are there any
U.S. diplomatic facilities located in these regions?
5. (S/NF) Other Indigenous Terrorist Groups
A. Are there other indigenous terrorist groups (not
anti-American) in country?
B. If yes, how many?
Two: National Liberation Front (MAWJ) and the Right to
Self-Determination Movement (HATM).
C. Have these groups carried out attacks in the capital
or in areas where U.S. diplomatic facilities are located?
No known incidents of this type.
D. Were these attacks lethal and/or indiscriminate?
E. Have any Americans ever been killed or injured in these
6. (S/NF) Transnational Terrorist Indicators
A. Are there any foreign terrorist groups that have a
presence in country?
Yes. Al-Qaida, Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), al-Gama'a
al-Islamiya (AKA: The Islamic Group), Libyan Islamic
Fighting Group (LIFG), Algerian Islamic Group GIA), Salafi
Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Hamas, Palestinian
Islamic Jihad, PFLP, Hizballah. The Iraqi Intelligence
Service maintained a presence in Yemen prior to Operation
In late February 2004, information indicated that the
militant wing of PLO faction al-Fatah was at a
meeting/seminar hosted by Kan'an, a charity organization
headed by President Saleh's nephew that supports
B. How does the EAC assess this presence? Is it an
operational cell? Financial cell? Support cell?
Al-Qaida: all of the above. Other groups may have links or
cooperate with al-Qaeda.
On 09/28/2003, the ROYG Minister of Interior held a meeting
with the U.S. Ambassador and various other Western
ambassadors to discuss ROYG's disruption of a Sanaa-based
al-Qaida cell targeting U.S, other Western and Yemeni
objectives. Highlighted was the targeting of the U.S.
Ambassador's motorcade and the British Embassy in Sanaa.
Per reftel F, on 02/14/2004, ROYG Minister of Interior held
a meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to advise that ROYG
officials were investigating a possible plot to attack the
C. Is the host government sympathetic to these groups?
The Yemeni government is an active partner of the USG in
the GWOT. ROYG officially supports Palestinian groups,
including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Lebanese Hizballah,
but support is mainly rhetorical and does not extend to
D. Are there suspect non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
in the country that may have a relationship with any of these
-- Al-Haramain al-Sharifain Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Al-Ihsan Association, Saudi Arabia
-- World Assembly for Muslim Youth, Saudi Arabia--
Dar al-Arqam Stationary for Printing and Publication,
-- Islamic Relief Organization, Saudi Arabia
-- Dubai Charitable Association, Saudi Arabia
-- Abu-Baker Salem Al-Sa'ari Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Supreme Authority for Muslims of Bosnia, Saudi Arabia
-- Tibah Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Saeed Qahtan Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- International Islamic Relief Organization, Saudi Arabia
-- League of the Islamic World, Saudi Arabia
-- Charitable Association in Fujaira, Saudi Arabia
-- Al-Bir Islamic Committee, Saudi Arabia
-- Zahra Al-Khalidiah Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Salem Omar Ba'ashem and Omar Badahda, Saudi Arabia
-- Mecca Association, Saudi Arabia
-- Al-Emir al-Khairiyah Committee (Al Haramain), Saudi Arabia
-- Islamic Union (Quebec), Saudi Arabia
-- Hamoud al-Hayyawi Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Al-Noor Charitable Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Bin Saynoon Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Bin Mahdi Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Bayelghoum Foundation, Saudi Arabia
-- Al-Fittrah Foundation, UAE
-- Al-Islah And Tawhid Social Association, UAE
-- Kuwait Joint Committee for Relief of the Global Islamic
Charitable Organization, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
-- United Arab Emirates Association, UAE
-- Bayt al-Shariqa al-Khairi (Sharja Charitable House), UAE
-- Omar Bin Yousuf, UAE
-- Qatar Charitable Association, Qatari
-- Islamic Relief, UK
-- Dubai Charitable Association, UAE
-- Al-Fikrah Center, UAE
-- Al-Islah Association, Kuwait
E. Are there any ethnic or religious communities in country
that are sympathetic to these groups?
Yes, Salafi groups and mosques. Public sympathy for pro-
Palestinian/anti-Israeli groups is widespread.
F. How does the EAC assess the level, intent, and scope of
hostile intelligence services (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Serbia,
Sudan, et. al.) in country relative to potential
anti-American terrorist acts?
Foreign hostile intelligence services, e.g. Syria, Egypt,
Sudan and Iran. Primarily focused on information gathering
for their own countries' interests, not to assist
anti-American groups in country with terrorist activity.
G. How does the EAC assess the availability of weapons and
explosives in country or from nearby countries for hostile
Yemen likely has among the highest number of weapons per
capita in the world, with easy access to varieties of
explosives. Weapons and explosives are easily attainable.
Gun markets are large and well stocked.
Though Yemen is awash in numerous types of weapons, the
Yemeni cabinet approved a series of amendments to a 1992
gun control law intended to bolster regulation of weapons
possession and trafficking. These amendments must gain
approval by the Yemeni Parliament before becoming law.
Parliamentary opposition to the amendments remains
significant; more than 150 MPs have reportedly signed a
petition to quash the gun control law that is still under
discussion. Accordingly, Speaker of the Parliament Sheikh
Abdullah al-Ahmar has publicly described possession of
weapons as a Yemeni symbol of manhood.
In a separate effort, the ROYG has initiated a weapons
destruction program, at a cost of several million USDs
to include the destruction of rocket propelled grenades
(RPGs) and a variety of other heavy weapons from civilian
weapons markets. ROYG has signed a Man Portable Air
Defense Systems (MANPADS) agreement with the U.S. under
which 1154 of such missiles were recently destroyed.
Citing the acquisition of over 1,400 MANPADS from January
to June 2003, ROYG says the program is a success. However,
there are problems such as: 1) cataloguing weapons; 2)
ROYG paying over market value; 3) the sustainability of the
weapons destruction program and 4) most of the weapons have
been reabsorbed into MOD inventory over which there are no