Qatar finances Turkish scheme to form militia in Yemeni province

Ex-transport minister Saleh al-Jabwani recruited more than 600 people so far with the complicity of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Monday 15/06/2020
A file photo of Muslim Brotherhood leader of Hamoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi (3rd L) in Taiz city, Yemen. (Reuters)
A file photo of Muslim Brotherhood leader of Hamoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi (3rd L) in Taiz city, Yemen. (Reuters)

ADEN  - Private sources revealed to The Arab Weekly that the resigned Yemeni transport minister, Saleh al-Jabwani, has opened a militia recruitment camp in the city of Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province in Yemen, in accordance with a Turkish plan and with Qatari financing.

The sources said that Jabwani, with the complicity of the governor of Shabwa, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed bin Adiyu, and after his return from a secret visit to Doha where he secured huge funds, has transformed the “Al-Awa’il” school, located near the headquarters of the National Army and of the Special Forces in Ataq, into a recruitment camp for new soldiers.

The sources confirmed that Jabwani has recruited more than 600 people so far by paying them monthly and daily allowances and buying weapons for them from the black market in Shabwa and Marib.

According to the sources, the ex-minister bought dozens of four-wheel drive vehicles from Al-Mahrah and Hadramaut and paid more than the actual value for this type of vehicle. The Arab coalition recently banned the export of this type of vehicle to Yemen, fearing it could be used by Houthi militias.

As transport minister, Jabwani was known for his stance against the Arab coalition and took it upon himself to sign a bilateral agreement between his ministry and the Turkish government that was later rejected by the Yemeni government. Sources told The Arab Weekly that the ex-minister was involved in a Turkish scheme with Qatari financing to create anti-Arab coalition militias, along with a similar activity carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood leader Hamoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi, who established similar camps in Taiz province to recruit fighters and encourage Yemenis involved in fighting the Houthis in Saada to defect to his camps.

The sources also indicated that there is coordination and between Jabwani and Mikhlafi on the one hand, and Interior Minister Ahmad al-Maysari on the other. Maysari’s role consists of recruiting “graduates” of Jabwani’s and Mikhlafi’s camps and enrolling them in the security forces belonging to the ministry of interior, or creating new units and brigades just for them.

The Arab Weekly had already revealed in a series of reports the involvement of Qatar and the pro-Muslim Brotherhood current in the internationally-recognised government in working to dismantle the Saada fronts and the establishment of armed militias hostile to the Arab coalition.

Doha’s agenda in Yemen is to confuse the Arab coalition and create the right political and security environments for a supposed Turkish role in Yemen (that the Muslim Brotherhood's media outlets are now clamouring for).

More and more reports are coming out revealing actions being taken by political, military and tribal Yemeni leaders affiliated with Qatar to fuel conflicts and rivalries between the components of the anti-Houthi camp, kill the Riyadh agreement and bankroll the confrontations in Abyan that are directly supervised by-Maysari, who had established an operations room in Al-Mahra Governorate just for this purpose.

Yemeni political sources revealed to The Arab Weekly that Maysari had contacted some military leaders in the legitimate government and tried to lure them with Qatari money, the same strategy as Mikhlafi on the Saada fronts.

Doha is betting that Jabwani will play a similar role in Shabwa governorate. In the meantime, Shabwa has recently seen a tribal uprising against the practices of the Muslim Brotherhood there. Security forces affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Shabwa had wounded a number of members of the Shabwa tribes and kidnapped some others, which gave rise to armed confrontations between the tribes and forces affiliated with the Islah party in Shabwa.

The Arab Weekly's sources confirmed the direct involvement of the ex-transport minister in escalating tensions in Shabwa, and that he had been buying the loyalty of local chieftains and tribesmen and fuelling political and military confrontations with Qatari funds.

Yemeni journalist Yasser Al-Yafie said that the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to escalate tension in Shabwa and some areas of Abyan confirm that it had suffered a great defeat in failing to make progress towards the city of Zanzibar, the capital of Abyan province. He told The Arab Weekly that signs of failure were their “assassination of the commander of the Security Belt forces in Mudiyah, in addition to their militia kidnapping travellers based on who they were, and attacking villages in Shabwa,”

He pointed out that the Brotherhood is currently suffering great setbacks, especially in Shabwa. It had its eyes set on Aden, and today it has to contend with an armed rebellion right in the heart of its control over Shabwa province.