Yemen as quagmire
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2009-12-29

Next Stop: Yemen
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-30

The panty-bomber and US foreign policy


In Yemen, U.S. Faces Leader Who Puts Family First
New York Times, 2010-01-05

Yemeni officials, fearing backlash, play down partnership with U.S.
By Sudarsan Raghavan and William Branigin
Washington Post, 2010-01-05

The Empire Discovers Yemen
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-14


In Yemen, U.S. airstrikes breed anger, and sympathy for al-Qaeda
By Sudarsan Raghavan

Aden, Yemen —

Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen,
an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is
stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants
and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to
terrorist plots against the United States.

After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft,
the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that
the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members.
But civilians have also died in the attacks,
said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

“These attacks are making people say,
‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ”
said businessman Salim al-Barakani,
adding that his two brothers —
one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman —
were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

Since January, as many as 21 missile attacks
have targeted suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen,
reflecting a sharp shift in a secret war carried out by
the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command
that had focused on Pakistan.

But as in the tribal areas of Pakistan,
where U.S. drone strikes have significantly weakened al-Qaeda’s capabilities,
an unintended consequence of the attacks has been
a marked radicalization of the local population.

[“Unintended,” perhaps, but surely not unanticipated or expected.]

The evidence of radicalization emerged in
more than 20 interviews with tribal leaders, victims’ relatives,
human rights activists and officials from four provinces in southern Yemen
where U.S. strikes have targeted suspected militants.
They described a strong shift in sentiment
toward militants affiliated with
the transnational network’s most active wing,
al-Qaeda in the ­Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

“The drone strikes have not helped
either the United States or Yemen,”

said Sultan al-Barakani,
who was a top adviser to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
“Yemen is paying a heavy price, losing its sons.
But the Americans are not paying the same price.”

In 2009, when President Obama was first known
to have authorized a missile strike on Yemen,
U.S. officials said there were no more than 300 core AQAP members.
That number has grown in recent years to 700 or more,
Yemeni officials and tribal leaders say.
In addition, hundreds of tribesmen have joined AQAP
in the fight against the U.S.-backed Yemeni government.

As AQAP’s numbers and capabilities have grown,
so has its reach and determination.
That was reflected in a suicide bombing last week in the capital, Sanaa,
that killed more than 100 people, mostly Yemeni soldiers.

On their Web sites, on their Facebook pages and in their videos,
militants who had been focused on their fight against the Yemeni government
now portray the war in the south as a jihad against the United States,
which could attract more recruits and financing from across the Muslim world.
Yemeni tribal Web sites are filled with al-Qaeda propaganda,
including some that brag about killing Americans.

“Every time the American attacks increase,
they increase the rage of the Yemeni people,
especially in al-Qaeda-controlled areas,”

said Mohammed al-Ahmadi, legal coordinator for Karama,
a local human rights group.
“The drones are killing al-Qaeda leaders,
but they are also turning them into heroes.”



Now is the time for a quick U.S. de-intervention in Yemen
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2015-01-25

The overthrow of the Yemeni government sets the stage for
a Sunni-vs-Shia conflagration on the Arab Peninsula.
The late Yemeni regime is a zero loss to the United States.
What President Obama once described as a vital regional ally –
media pundits are now echoing this lie –
was nothing more than a Arab strong man and his gang
who ruled the Yemeni capital of Sana and almost nothing else,
men who generously agreed to take hundreds of millions of dollars
in U.S. military equipment, cash, training, and who knows what else.
In return, the Yemeni regime allowed what it could not stop in any event:
U.S. drone and Special Forces’ attacks that violated Yemeni sovereignty.
Silence was the Yemeni regime’s main contribution as Obama’s vital regional ally,
and now with that government gone, and none ready to take its place,
the attacks can continue because
there is no sovereign government to object to them.

What good such attacks would do is another matter.
They have killed some important Yemen-based Islamist leaders
and may have destroyed some arms caches,
but the fact is that Al-Qaeda-on-the-Arab-Peninsula (AQAP)
is stronger than ever before.
The U.S. attacks in Yemen –
as well as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere –
amount to nothing more than make-Americans-feel-good tactical victories
that, as always,
leave the strategic advantage and momentum with the Islamists.

Today’s reality in Yemen again demonstrates
the extraordinary fecklessness of
the U.S. government,
both U.S. political parties,
U.S. and NATO generals,
and their EU sidekicks.
Expensive support from all of them brought no stability to Yemen;
U.S. and NATO-country military training
did not create a force that could defend the regime;
and Special Forces’ and CIA pin-prick attacks and drone strikes
did nothing to slow the enemies’ growth.
In addition, two Islamist insurgent organizations – the Houthis and AQAP —
have grown larger, stronger, and better armed
since the United States and Europe started supporting
and publicly praising the Yemeni regime,
while simultaneously lying to Americans and Europeans
about how our now-deceased key regional ally
was beginning to pull its own weight
and was a shining example of the success of U.S. and Western policy.

There is, however, one bright spot in this otherwise dismal story.
The arrival of the Shia Houthi insurgents
as a potent rival of the Sunni AQAP
gives the United States another — even if unmerited — chance
to step back and watch the marvelously positive impact
a regional Shia-Sunni sectarian war would have on U.S. national security.
Such a war would hurt the U.S. economy a bit
because Obama, Cuomo, and their deeply anti-American party
have blocked U.S. energy self-sufficiency,
but otherwise there is nothing but upside for the United States.


Relentless interventionism and open borders have, respectively,
earned America a war with an increasing portion of the Muslim world
and allowed our Islamist enemies into the United States undetected.
A de-interventionist foreign policy and closing the southern U.S. border
would head the United States toward
a much more effective and Americans-protecting foreign policy
summed up in the time-honored and commonsense phrase “America First.”

Quiet Support for Saudis Entangles U.S. in Yemen
New York Times, 2016-03-14


A year later, the war has been a humanitarian disaster for Yemen and a study in the perils of the Obama administration’s push to get Middle Eastern countries to take on bigger military roles in their neighborhood. Thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, many by Saudi jets flying too high to accurately deliver the bombs to their targets. Peace talks have been stalled for months. American spy agencies have concluded that Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda has only grown more powerful in the chaos.

The Obama administration has in the meantime been whipsawed by criticism from all sides. Although the United States has provided the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence, airborne fuel tankers and thousands of advanced munitions, Arab allies have at times complained that the support is halfhearted and freighted with too many restrictions.

Critics of the American involvement argue that the White House should not be giving any military assistance at all to what they call a reckless, incoherent war.

“As I read the conflict in Yemen, I have a hard time figuring out what the U.S. national security interests are,” Senator Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said during a congressional hearing this year.

He added that “the result of the coalition campaign has been to kill a lot of civilians, has been to sow the seeds of humanitarian crisis, and to create space for these groups — these very extremist groups that we claim to be our priority in the region — to grow.”

Responding to the senator’s remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had given its support to Saudi Arabia — a close American ally — because the kingdom was threatened “very directly” by the takeover of neighboring Yemen by the rebels, known as Houthis. But he said the United States would not reflexively support all of Saudi Arabia’s proxy wars against Iran throughout the Middle East.


Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations,
[Showing her usual astuteness.]
said American military support might mean fewer civilian casualties.

After Mr. Obama authorized the assistance, trouble soon followed.

The first problem was the ability of Saudi pilots, who were inexperienced in flying missions over Yemen and fearful of enemy ground fire. As a result, they flew at high altitudes to avoid the threat below. But flying high also reduced the accuracy of their bombing and increased civilian casualties, American officials said.

American advisers suggested how the pilots could safely fly lower, among other tactics. But the airstrikes still landed on markets, homes, hospitals, factories and ports, and are responsible for the majority of the 3,000 civilian deaths during the yearlong war, according to the United Nations.

[And what does Ms. Power say to that?
Does she take responsibility for her advocacy?]


“Aden at the moment is a city divided down the lines of a pretty worrying number of armed factions,” said Peter Salisbury, a Yemen expert who recently visited Aden and is an associate fellow at Chatham House, a British research organization.

“There is no single dominant center of power, and the concern is that some of the different factions in Aden will fight each other and that it will create a perfect opportunity for Al Qaeda to expand,” he said. “Unless someone gets a firm hand on things, there is every chance that things could spiral out of control very quickly.”

Analysts see a similar future for the rest of the country, even if the various sides grow tired from the war and are able to settle on an uneasy peace.

[Come on, media.
How about asking Ms. Power if she admits her earlier advice was misguided,
and if not, why not?]

Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s deposed president,
whom the Obama administration once championed for his leadership,
is unlikely to play a significant role in the country under any power-sharing deal with the Houthis.
The man he replaced, Ali Abdullah Saleh,
who ran Yemen as president for decades before remaking himself as a leader of the Houthis,
has thus far shown no desire to remove himself from Yemen’s political future.

“Over all, the outlook for Yemen remains grim,” said Mohammed Albasha, a Middle East analyst at the Navanti Group in Virginia and a former spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington.
“A post-conflict Yemen will be plagued by thousands of casualties, a fractious army, a divided society, a hodgepodge of armed political factions and a cash-strapped central bank.”

There also appears to be little clarity about how the campaign might conclude even among those who began it a year ago,
as Saudi Arabia’s minister of information candidly admitted during a recent trip to Washington.

“We hoped at the beginning it would be a quick thing,
and that the Houthis would come to their senses that attacking Saudi Arabia has no purposes for Yemenis,”
the minister, Adel al-Toraifi, said during a discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Now, he said, “there is no endgame.”

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