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Over 20 gunmen simultaneously attacked the intelligence and security service headquarters in the southern town of Zinjibar, killing 3 police officers and wounding 11, a security official said. Two gunmen were killed and one was wounded, the official added. The Defense Ministry said the gunmen belong to Al Qaeda.

 

Meanwhile, mass demonstrations broke out in the South after the The Southern Movement, which calls for the South’s secession, called on southerners to mark a "day of rage" in tightly-patrolled Aden on the 16th anniversary of the port city being captured by northern forces after a brief civil war.

 

Yemeni police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse supporters of the separatist Southern Movement.  At least one demonstrator has been killed and three others wounded in the clashes clashes.

 

July 7-12, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk

 

The trend of sustained attacks against the government in the south continues. Al Qaeda supports are now attacking security forces, putting a lot of strain on their resources. At the same time, the secessionists, who have considerable support in the south, are intensifying their pressure. Although some secessionists may have an opposing ideological thinking to Al Qaeda’s, both appear to be united against the government. What also makes it difficult for the government on the ground is that supporters of Al Qaeda and secessionists may belong to the same tribes and will therefore protect each other not only because of a combined aim, but also due to family relations. The government has therefore put itself firmly in an “occupier’s” position, battling a wide segment of the population of the south.

 

It will be very difficult to agree on ceasefire now as the fighting has now involved Al Qaeda and both it and the separatists are united in their aim to overthrow the regime. Unless there is a dramatic shift in the regime, or a regime change, it appears this conflict is escalating and becoming a war of attrition between the failing regime of Sanaa and the south. The likelihood that Yemen will separate into two states is significantly more likely. However, the risk is that the southern Yemeni state may become an Al Qaeda safe haven.