"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The danger of al-Qaeda

Heavy fighting in Hawta today, in the south.  The army is taking it to AQAP, or at least trying to- it seems that the militants have a better chance at living once the army gives them their full attention.  Although it might be assumed as much, I don't think this is a direct result of Counter-terrorism chief John Brennan's talks with Salih.  I don't think the talks hurt, of course, but it has been my contention that Salih sees AQAP as enough of a threat to his regime that he wants to be going after him.  As far as AQAP is concerned, there is no double game. 

But that can also be a problem.  The fighting is displacing thousands in an already explosive and on-the-edge south.   This is creating yet another IDP nightmare for a government that may or may not have the will, but certainly does not have the means, to deal with it. 

Brennan's advice to Salih has to mention that while he eradication of AQAP is a fine goal, try not to burn the country to the ground in doing so.  There has to be support for what could be perceived as failure, even if it looks bad in the press and no-nothing mouth-breathers criticize Obama for "weakness."   In a speech at the US Institute for Peace, Daniel Benjamin outlined the administration's strategy for Yemen, and it seems they are taking the long view, at least in theory.  I hope this is the case.  It is tough in today's 1-hour news cycle to be able to slow-foot things and work 10 years down the road, especially with such a volatile issue as terrorism.  But to not do so is insane. 

1 comment:

  1. Is even a distant peace in Yemen possible with only Salih's boots on the ground, so to speak? I realize long-term peace may not be possible at all, but I don't know what situation makes it more UNlikely: keeping it a domestic issue when AQAP has gone international, or bringing in "peacekeepers" that make it seem like an invasion and feed AQAP. Plus, what would outsiders to to the southern rebellion?