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Monday, November 16, 2009     GET REAL

Yemen: Funding for Shi'ite insurgency coming from Gulf neighbors, fighters from Pakistan

CAIRO — Yemen has identified financial and other support to Shi'ite rebels.   

Officials said several Gulf Cooperation Council states have been relaying funds to the Iranian-backed Believing Youth movement. The support was said to have come from neighboring Saudi Arabia, a leading ally of Yemen.

"It is providing material support," Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al Qirbi said in a television interview.


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In a television interview on Nov. 6, Al Qirbi identified three GCC states as supporters of the Believing Youth. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the foreign minister named Bahrain and Kuwait. Pakistan was said to have been the source of fighters for the Yemeni rebellion.

Most of the six GCC states have expressed support for Yemen's war against the Shi'ite rebels. Saudi Arabia has conducted air and artillery strikes on Shi'ite rebels in northern Yemen.

Officials said Iran was the leading supporter of the Believing Youth. They said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Teheran's proxy Hizbullah were sending weapons and training the Shi'ite rebels.

But Al Qirbi said Islamist fighters from Pakistan has joined the Shi'ite rebels. The foreign minister did not report the capture of the Pakistanis.

"The way the militias operate and the amount of money they spend on the conflict make the involvement of foreign powers almost a certainty," Al Qirbi said in an interview with the Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya on Nov. 15. "Yemeni intelligence is investigating the involvement of external parties in supporting the insurgency."

Yemen's ambassador to Kuwait has confirmed the reports of GCC assistance to the Believing Youth. The ambassador, Khalid Rajeh, said Kuwait has allowed funds to reach the Shi'ite rebels.

"The Kuwaiti groups have been supporting the rebels financially and through the media," Rajeh said. "However, the Kuwaiti government has nothing to do with this support."



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