Yemeni tribes along the border with Saudi Arabia have warned
of a war with the kingdom unless it halts its project to construct a
security fence and barrier along the 1,800-kilometer border.
Yemeni media reported that the Wayliah tribe has pledged to recruit
thousands of fighters to destroy the Saudi fence. The media said the Wayilah
has claimed that the fence is being constructed inside territory allocated
to the tribe.
"We are renewing our objection to the agreements that created a barrier
between us and our lands and our property," a statement by the tribe said.
"Similarly, we reject the principle of compensation or the division of land
or of the tribe."
The Wayilah is said to own 200 military vehicles and thousands of
assault rifles. The tribe has engaged in battles for control against both
Saudi and Yemeni tribes, Middle East Newsline reported. Saudi Arabia is said to have financed the rival
"Every new border route will be null and void, and has nothing to do
with the tribal border route recognized by the Wayilah and Yam tribes," the
The threats by the tribe have alarmed the government in Sanaa. Yemeni
President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Riyad on Tuesday to discuss the
security fence with Saudi leaders.
"The security of Yemen and Saudi Arabia is inseparable, and what
concerns the security of the kingdom concerns Yemen and vice versa," Saleh
A Wayilah tribal leader told the Yemen Times on Feb. 12 that up to 3,000
tribesmen would attack Saudi Arabia unless its forces withdrew from the
so-called neutral zone inside Yemen. The zone was said to extend from Jabal
Hobash to Jabal Al Fara.
The Saudi security fence, the tribe said, was erected between four to
seven kilometers beyond the neutral zone.
Yemen has maintained that the security fence was built in a common area
designated as a grazing ground for both countries. The area, set by a treaty
concluded in 2000, is said to comprise a 20-kilometer border stretch that
encompasses Saudi and Yemeni territory.
The Saudi media said Riyad ø after intervention from Egypt and the
United States ø has agreed to remove a portion of the security fence along
its border with Yemen. Saudi officials have not confirmed this.