Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 12:48 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 12:48 | SYDNEY

Big trouble from little Yemen


Rodger Shanahan


11 November 2009 09:00

Although in an earlier post I criticised Arab states for exaggerating Iranian activity in Yemen, Saudi security authorities nonetheless have every right to worry about the trouble emerging from its southern neighbour. After Saudi security forces effectively subdued its own al Qaeda affiliate, the group morphed with Yemeni al Qaeda and has re-emerged in Yemen as 'al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula', with a view to placing a high priority on attacking Saudi targets.

The unsuccessful suicide attack against the Deputy Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif and the more recent killing of three suspected al Qaeda members (two of whom were dressed as women) traveling in a car from Yemen with a plan to carry out attacks on undisclosed targets in the Kingdom illustrate the audacity of the planners. 

As if that weren't bad enough, one of Yemen's other troublesome security issues, the Zaydi Shi'a al-Houthi movement in the north, has spilled over into Saudi Arabia, with a short but bloody border engagement with al-Houthi members who occupied Saudi territory in and around jabal al-Dukhan after they crossed over the (unmarked) border. Saudi forces used aircraft and artillery to repel the insurgents and send an unmistakable message that any incursion into Saudi territory would not be tolerated. 

While that approach may work against tribesmen along a 'disputed' border area, al Qaeda is likely to be the more worrying threat to Saudi security from the south.