An Unholy Alliance: Did the US-Backed UAE Fly ISIS Leaders into Yemen’s Killing Fields?


from MintPress News:

The de facto alliance between the U.S. with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, AQAP, and now allegedly ISIS in Yemen has led to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern history,

ADEN, YEMEN — Ali Abdullah al-Bujairi — a Yemeni politician who served as a senior member on the failed UN-brokered transitional government and as Yemen’s ambassador to Iraq under former president Ali Abdullah Saleh — is accusing the United Arab Emirates of facilitating a transfer of ISIS officials into Yemen.

“The UAE has recently transferred an ISIL commander namely Abu Bakr al-Zokhri (with Sudanese nationality) — nom de guerre, Khaibar al-Sumali — from Iraq to Aden in Yemen to recruit and strengthen the ISIL in Yemen,” al-Bujairi told Qatari media.

Since the toppling of ISIS’ so-called caliphate — with Raqqa, Syria as its capital — the terrorist organization has gained a foothold in a number of other countries. In Afghanistan, Russia and Iran have accused the U.S. of helping to facilitate the group’s spread.

Despite its loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, “ISIL is still active in ten countries in 2017,” according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index report from the Institute for Economics & Peace, which further states:

The collapse of ISIL in Iraq and Syria has moved the group’s activities elsewhere, in particular to the Maghreb and Sahel regions, most notably in Libya, Niger, and Mali, and Southeast Asia, most notably the Philippines.”

In 2017, the terror group’s reach was felt in many corners of the world. The report states: “ISIL committed attacks in 286 cities around the world in four different regions:  Asia-Pacific, Europe, MENA [Middle East and North Africa], and the Russia and Eurasia region.” However, those hit hardest by the group’s terror have mostly been in the Middle East and North Africa. The report concludes:

Of all ISIL attacks, 98 percent of incidents and 98 percent of deaths occurred within the MENA region. Ninety percent of all terror attacks and 81 percent of terror-related deaths from ISIL occurred in Iraq alone.”

These figures, however, do not include the Islamic State’s chapter in Afghanistan, referred to as the Khorasan Group (ISIS-K), nor does it include ISIS affiliates in Egypt.

The campaign by the U.S. with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, AQAP, and now allegedly ISIS in Yemen has led to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern history, with large portions of the population at risk for starvation, millions displaced, and scores of civilians and children killed, MintPress News has reported.

While the Saudi-led coalition’s dealings with the Yemen affiliate of ISIS remain largely unexplored, the main partners have their own ties to al-Qaeda in the country. This unholy alliance meant to depose the Houthis, has seen the coalition, of which the supposedly democratic government of the U.S. became a member without prior authorization from Congress, work hand-in-glove with al-Qaeda.

Running with cynical circles

Little is known about the presence of ISIS in Yemen, with the numbers of fighters believed to be in the low- to mid-hundreds, according to the UN Security Council. The U.S. conducted a grand total of 36 airstrikes against terrorist groups in the country in 2018, but the overwhelming majority targeted the much larger Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and the U.S. has not struck ISIS in Yemen since January 2018.

While ISIS has attacked Houthi and Shia Muslim targets in Yemen, it has no territory. AQAP, on the other hand, controls large swaths of the southeast. According to the Global Terrorism Index, “Adan-Abyan Province of the Islamic State is primarily active in the southern coastal province of Adan, while AQAP in active in the provinces of Abyan and Lahij, and Ansar Allahin Taizz and Marib.” Other ISIS affiliates once existed in Yemen but have since dwindled out.

While the extent and nature of U.S. relations with ISIS in Yemen is unclear, its relationship with its regional rival AQAP, which is best described as that of “frenemies,” is more widely known.

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