News / Middle East

    Two in Custody, Yemen Searches for Suspects in Bomb Plot

    Yemeni security forces stand outside the UPS office in the capital San'a, Yemen Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010
    Yemeni security forces stand outside the UPS office in the capital San'a, Yemen Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010
    Elizabeth Arrott

    Yemen's government says it continues to search for people linked to explosives found in air-cargo packages intercepted in Dubai and Britain.  Yemeni officials have two women in custody, but their arrests have raised questions.

    Authorities stepped up security across Sana'a as they searched for other suspects in the bombing plot.  The women in custody are a university student, whose cellphone number is said to have been on one of the packages, and her mother.   

    But a human-rights lawyer in Sana'a says the available information indicates they were not involved.

    Abdel-Rahman Barman says he thinks the woman is the victim of someone who used her phone number.  

    Stephen Steinbeiser of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies in Sana'a, agrees.

    "If someone is going to go to this length and this complexity of making some sort of a device and of trying to control it and send it, then it seems that at the very least they are going to provide some sort of fake information, whether its a phone number or address, so I am a little bit leery of that," Steinbeiser said.

    But Steinbeiser notes the arrests were supposedly based on intelligence given to the Yemeni government, lending the charge some credence.   

    The United States and Saudi Arabia have stepped up their aid to Yemen during the past year to counter al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based branch of the terror group thought to be behind the plot.   

    U.S. officials called the bombs concealed in printer cartridges, "sophisticated", and noted similarities to explosives used in other, high-profile cases linked to al-Qaida bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, believed to be in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia tipped off U.S. intelligence about the parcels.

    Institute of Yemeni Studies Director Steinbeiser says Saudi Arabia has long had uneasy relations with its southern neighbor, with which it shares a long and porous border, but has recently shifted its priorities.

    "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realizes it has its own vested interest in combatting terrorism in Yemen and specifically keeping it in Yemen so that it does not trickle across the northern border to Saudi Arabia," Steinbeiser said. "So, I think they probably have bolstered some sort of intelligence presence within the country and I think it would be quite easy to do.  Saudis and other members of Gulf countries can come freely in and out of the country.

    Intelligence experts are concerned the latest alert, while possibly averting a disaster, could compromise possible intelligence networks.  

    Steinbeiser says while the Yemeni government has shown more willingness to work with foreign powers, it walks a fine line.  Particularly troublesome is U.S. help, as President Ali Abdullah Saleh tries to balance the myriad allegiances of the country's tribes, many of them strongly anti-American.

    "As long as the U.S. presence stays rather covert and quiet, then the Yemeni government will likely cooperate," Steinbeiser said. "But once that foreign presence in the country becomes overt, then I think the Yemeni government will not accept it."   

    U.S.-backed military strikes that have killed civilians and a local government official have increased disdain for foreign interference.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.