This is an important story to read (and it’s not the first like it), because one of the arguments people make for getting involved in Yemen is to protect America against terrorism by stopping Al Qaeda. Well, getting involved might have the opposite effect.
The line between adversary and ally is not easily drawn, which puts the United States at risk of unintentionally furthering the cause of some of its worst enemies. In the case of Yemen, this means al Qaeda.
- Yemen’s ousted president who is backed by Saudi Arabia, which is backed by the US, might be working with locals in Yemen who have ties to Al Qaeda. Our Al Qaeda targets might be using those ties to get weapons from Saudi Arabia, which are weapons we supply.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and also ISIS are fighting the Houthi rebels. Who else is fighting the Houthi? The US-backed Saudi-led coalition. The US and Al Qaeda share a common enemy.
- The Al Qaeda target in January’s Navy SEAL raid made a deal with the government of Yemen’s ousted president to retake a city that was controlled by the Houthi.
- In addition, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joscelyn, who tracks AQAP closely for the Long War Journal, highlighted the role of Shaykh Abd-al-Majid al-Zindani, who’s been designated by Treasury as a terrorist because of his support of AQAP, but who also “maintains friendly relations with the Saudis.” His influence and his network have become more valuable thanks to the fight against the Houthis.
- At least three of Hadi’s associates have been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in recent years for their ties to al Qaeda, making them “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”
This is a crazy circle of war. If it’s confusing, that’s because it’s pretty much confusing. By supporting Saudi Arabia, we’re also supporting Al Qaeda who we’re trying to fight, but they’re also trying to fight ours and Saudi Arabia’s enemy the Houthi. Did I get that right? Does the US even know what its doing, or is it like, “Here, Saudi Arabia, take some weapons and money! Do your thing!” Yikes!