May 15th , Catherine Shakdam, a writer and commentator on the Middle East, said in an interview with RT Channel that she found it very interesting that all Al-Qaeda-related activity is actually taking place in southern Yemen that is under Saudi-led coalition control when there is nothing in northern Yemen, which is under the resistance control.
“it is actually quite interesting when you bear in mind that the Saudi-led coalition is supposedly in control of south Yemen. So, I find it very interesting that all the Al-Qaeda-related activity is actually taking place in southern Yemen when we have nothing in northern Yemen, which is under the resistance control,” Catherine Shakdam said.
She also expected ISIS spreading in the area and the only reason is because the Saudi have achieved nothing politically and militarily in Yemen while the resistance movement, which is led by the Houthis, is actually making progress on the ground. Thus, according to Shakdam, now Saudi are reverting to try to use terror as a weapon again, an asymmetrical weapon of mass destabilization.
“Mukalla is a very important province of Yemen, where most of the oil and other natural resources are actually present. And it represents a geostrategic point as well because it offers an opening to the sea onto the Horn of Africa and of course Asia.” Shakdam explained Mukalla strategic importance . She added that al-Qaeda and other radical groups have tried for many years to get a footing into southern Yemen, either through Aden or through Mukalla.
Shakdam confirmed that she doesn’t think that Al-Qaeda and ISIS militants could have any difference. They come from the same ideologies, the same strategies, the same desire to control by imposing their own weird and sicken interpretation of Islam.
“There is no real difference. It is still Wahhabism. There is no real difference, the title changes but it is the same ideology, the same people, the same desire to control,” she said.
Mukalla offers not just an opening to the sea, but it would offer this pipe dream that the Saudi have tried to implement on the ground for many decades now to construct a pipeline which would of course counteracts the role and the position that Iran plays in the region, according to Shakdam.
She thought it is crucial to look at this situation from an all-security standpoint and not so much as a security standpoint. Therefore, she believe that Al-Qaeda there is being a pawn, being played as a form of an asymmetrical weapon in Yemen.
“I would say that the focus would be deflected and for people to have this conversation on counterterrorism, when really something else is happening,” Shakdam assured.
She explained that the Saudis are playing a very dangerous game and insisted to understand what it is and what they want in the region to really understand why certain things are happening in Yemen.
She insisted that all should wonder why is Al-Qaeda or ISIS is making a return in southern Yemen where the Saudi have said to be in control? Aden is under Saudi occupation, de-facto, there are Saudi troops in Aden. Why is Al-Qaeda returning? Are they in control?
Shakdam pointed out that they are trying to bring Yemen to the level of Syria and Iraq where we see sectarianism and terror hugging the front lines and destabilizing any hope for political talk and for diplomacy and anything like this. This is a problem, there is a pattern here which is being replicated across the Middle East and now Yemen.
She added “Yemen is a very dangerous place because Yemen stands at a very crucial points geographically in Southern Arabia and you do not want to see Yemen fall because then there is the risk where ISIS could spread not only into Africa and onward towards Egypt in the Suez Canal where Europe is then at the doorstep, but also Asia.”
She expressed her fear “there is a real risk here, Yemen might be very poor and people might not pay attention, but they should. Because whatever will happen in Yemen, will have repercussions across the world.” She added “the world ought to pay closer attention to what is happening to Yemen now and what is Yemen fighting against.”