Though Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi insists there are at most 400 active al-Qaeda fighters in all of Yemen, the Obama Administration is still ratcheting up the pressure for the government to launch more attacks against the group.
But though the Yemeni government is beholding to the US for massive amounts of aid, the government seems keen on passing the buck on the al-Qaeda attacks, instead pressing the Awlaki tribe to do the fighting themselves, in return for weapons and cash (which, presumably, they got from the US in the first place).
Which adds another interesting aside to this story, as the Obama Administration’s hopes for assassination targets in Yemen includes US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, meaning the administration is indirectly trying to convince his own tribe to kill him.
The fact that the demands for intertribal warfare are coming from the other side of the planet, and the fact that US drones are forever flying overhead, are combining to fuel considerable mistrust of America’s agenda for the nation. As with so many other US misadventures the popular opposition to the policy may eventually become a bigger problem than the 400 guys in the underdeveloped part of Yemen were in the first place.