Local al-Qaeda Leader’s Killing Sparks Yemen Tribal Battle

17 Killed After Assassination of al-Qaeda's 'Emir'

Violence broke out today in the Bayda Province of central Yemen when a tribal leader assassinated his half-brother, Tarek al-Dahab, who was the top leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), appointed as the Emir of the region.

AQAP was quick to retaliate, firing rockets into the home of the assassin, killing him and two relatives. Armed tribesmen arrived on the scene and their vehicle was destroyed. All told, 17 were killed in what became a major battle between pro- and anti-AQAP forces.

The al-Qaifa tribe, which was involved in the battles, says it is determined to oust AQAP from the entire area, saying it is concerned the US will use AQAP’s presence to justify air strikes.

AQAP and their auxiliary, the Ansar al-Sharia, have enjoyed considerable success in some tribal areas, notably the Abyan Province in the south, using the growing anger at the US-backed regime to expand influence. Though a number of tribes are not particularly friendly with the regime, today’s clash once again shows that they are not necessarily on AQAP’s side either.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.