The Obama Administration has made much of the threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an auxiliary group based in Yemen. So much has been made, in fact, that they are seeking a massive escalation of US military funding to Yemen. Not everyone is keen on it, however.
Centcom is proposing $1.2 billion in aid over the next six years plus the deployment of US “advisers” to take part in “non-combat” roles in the nation. The later will perhaps be cause for concern enough, giving the amount of combat the “non-combat” troops in Iraq seem to be engaged in.
But the real concern, at least the one that’s got some administration officials up in arms, is the Yemeni government itself, and strongman President Ali Abdullah Saleh in particular. Saleh, one may remember, last year promised to defund schools to pay for more weapons to “crush sedition” across the nation.
But Saleh, who has earned the nickname “Little Saddam” has deeper issues than just this. His intelligence agency has, with official US blessings, been turned into a collection of Ba’athist castoffs who fled the US invasion of Iraq, and most of its raids against the region AQAP is said to operate in have wound up sidetracked and attacking secessionist movements instead.
Yemen is involved in three internal wars right now, including secessionist movements on both sides of the country. As the US pumps money, arms and inevitably troops into the nation it seems a foolish notion to imagine they will only be used against AQAP, and not to prop up Saleh’s government against whatever other foes it has created.