Sunday, January 03, 2010

Look Over There! Yemen!

Our country is under siege.

[T]he problem is that Yemen only got attention when al-Qaeda was viewed as a threat in Yemen. The country received a great deal of attention in 2001, 2002 and 2003 but very little after that particularly in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. It was only in 2008 and 2009 when al-Qaeda was once again viewed as a threat by the US that aid to Yemen was increased once again. The lessons for the Yemeni government are clear.

  Waq al-Waq


(CNN) -- A man described as "one of al Qaeda's most dangerous members" was arrested in Yemen, the Yemeni military, an embassy official and state-run news agency Saba said.

Mohammed Abdu Saleh al-Haudali, 35, is "one of the most dangerous terrorists wanted by the security forces," according to a Yemeni military Web site, citing a security source.

Waq al-waq wrote a bit about this individual- and I can tell you that I have strong doubts that he is "one of al-Qaeda's most dangerous members." I do not know every member of AQAP, but I like to think that I have a fairly good grasp of the individuals, and his name is nowhere near the top of my list or the Yemeni government's list. He is "dangerous" because he was caught.

  Waq al-Waq

I detailed a golden opportunity that the US missed with the Shaykh Muhammad al-Mu’ayyad case in August in a report I wrote for the CTC Sentinel (which is available on the sidebar). This also means allowing US diplomats to go to qat chews in Yemen – and even, perish the thought, chew qat with Yemenis. The US should be honest about what qat is and what it does and not hide behind antiquated rules that penalize a version of the stimulant that does not exist in Yemen. Whether or not the US knows it, it is engaged in a propaganda war with al-Qaeda in Yemen and it is losing and losing badly. US public diplomacy is all defense and no offense in Yemen, this has to change or the results of the past few years will remain the roadmap for the future. And that future will witness an increasingly strong al-Qaeda presence in Yemen.

  Waq al-Waq

These types of reasoned assessments always give me a bit of a chuckle. It’s not that the ideas themselves or the reasoning are wrong. It’s just that the basic assumption from which the arguments are made is wrong. They assume that the US government wants to end terrorism and war. Far from it. The US people may want that, but the government (corporate interests) are bent on exactly the opposite.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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