July 17, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 242

Al-Ahram Al-Arabi: A High-Ranking Yemenite Intelligence Official Blames the US for the Cole Bombing

July 17, 2001
Yemen, Syria, Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 242

The leading Egyptian government paper, in its weekly supplement,[1] Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, blames the US for the Cole bombing. Following are excerpts from the report:

"According to the Egyptian weekly, the reasons for the crisis are 'disagreements between Washington and San'aa, regarding the method of the criminal investigation carried out by Yemen.' As a result, 'the American investigators have left the investigation in the port of Aden.'"

"However, it appears from the report that the disagreements between the US and Yemen go deeper. A senior official in the Yemenite security apparatus told Al-Ahram Al-Arabi that there was evidence that the US itself was responsible for the explosion as part of a conspiracy to take control over the port of Aden."

"The 'senior security official' made his statements to the Egyptian weekly anonymously, 'since he still holds an official and sensitive position.' He said that the US wanted to take actual control over the port of Aden and maintain intensive military, and even a legitimate presence there through a naval base that may be used as a port, a financial center, and a service center for its fleets that have been present in the area for more than ten years. [The Americans] falsely claimed they protect the oil sources and keep track of Iranian and Iraqi fundamentalist movements. They stated they also follow Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in the Sudan and Somalia."

"It seems the American administration did not get Yemen’s approval for these ideas. It was made clear to the Americans that Yemen would not concede to surrender the port of Aden so shamefully, and that Yemen plans to develop this port into an international free trade zone, a place for tourism and investments."

"As a result, the American thinking took a new turn and they had no alternative but to artificially create an incident that would give Washington the legitimacy to intervene and fulfill it plans to take control over the Aden area and turn it into an American naval base with the approval of the Yemenite authorities."

"This is how the explosion incident was [intentionally] carried out on the Cole destroyer while it was harbored in the port of Aden."

"The first surprise to the Yemenite investigation team was the way the explosion was carried out. Apparently, one explosion happened from within the destroyer, along with another, external, explosion that hit the body of the destroyer, as a result of the booby-trapped dinghy. This caused much damage to the body of the Cole destroyer. [Another surprise] was the behavior of the American administration. Two giant airplanes came immediately to the airport, carrying four American armored cars, weapons, and combat equipment. They headed straight to the port and blocked the dock were the Cole was harboring in order to prevent any Yemenite official from entering the destroyer and examining the explosion."

"The Yemenite source told Al-Ahram Al-Arabi that 'as part of his security job, he conducted the investigation with the first suspect, whose preliminary interrogation took place in a special building at the port of Aden, before he was transported to jail. His first confession pointed to the method in which the dinghy, which had not been made in Yemen, was detonated. In addition, the type of materials that were used in the explosion were not available within the Yemenite market. There were also some signs that the crew of the destroyer was expecting the attack at a specific time, and that there was a man on board the destroyer who followed the motion of the booby-trapped dinghy which took a specific course on its way to the destroyer."

"The Yemenite source 'expressed fear that in the coming weeks we will witness another American surprise whose purpose will be to regain foothold in the port of Aden.'"

[1] Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), July 7, 2001.

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