“The truth is there is no al-Qaeda.” Such a comment rarely finds currency in a nation’s popular consciousness but in Yemen, home to what the CIA calls the most dangerous of al-Qaeda’s many affiliates (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP), it is all too common.
For some AQAP is just a cynical excuse for the Saleh government to get increased foreign military aid from the US and others. Other Yemenis, particularly in the south, see it as an excuse to attack separatist groups that have nothing to do with international terrorism.
It isn’t naivete on the part of Yemenis, however, but a natural function of the Yemeni government’s constant use of “al-Qaeda” as a justification for attacks on separatist-linked civilians, and as a catch-all for the many different groups that have bones to pick with the Saleh regime.
Indeed AQAP appears responsible for precious little of the internal violence in Yemen, and the group’s focus on overseas targets makes it difficult to sell the idea of them being something for the Yemeni military to focus on. What few attacks they have claimed were usually clear retaliation for the government offensive, raising the inevitable question of whether the Saleh regime is simply hitting a hornet’s nest over and over and claiming a “threat” when it gets stung.
4 thoughts on “Most Yemenis See al-Qaeda Presence as ‘Myth’”
Al Qaeda is not supposed to be in Afghanistan and it's not supposed to be in Yemen. Where the hell is it then?
Perhaps it's like the tooth fairy and doesn't really exist. Perhaps it's an invention of America so it can keep attacking poor, resource-rich nations around the world.
P.S. Thanks heavens for Antiwar.com. It's a great forum for those who hate war and who hate all those who engage in it. We need to make war on the warmongers but it has to be a clever war!
"… is simply hitting a hornet’s nest over and over and claiming a “threat” when it gets stung."
Nice analogy. It applies so well to the mentality driving the whole "War on ___ "<- insert threat du jour here.
For years Saleh had resisted in what he called meddiling in his internal affairs and had vowed to take Al-Qaeda single handedly provided he gets the help necessay to accomplish the task.Being the man assigned by the west to implement policies that kept Yemen domesticated,Saleh has managed to get away with certain playing toyes to be used against his traditional enemies from the South or to terrorize the Saudis when needing extra cash.But matters have gone out of control since then,and foreign elements began to expand their enfluence locally and regionally, thus threating Saleh's grip over his clan. Strories of Saleh's phone calls to Al-qaeda operatives to escape aerial attack before it happened is commonplace, which gives credence to the argument that links al-qaeda to the Government.If Yemen is to be saved from total collapse,Saleh must accept the principle of power sharing as proposed by the Opposition parties otherwise,Yemen will gradually slide to abyss
Al-Quaeda is *everywhere* these days, isn't it! I'm beginning to think the US is getting the short end of the stick, since we don't seem to have a branch labeled "Al-Quaeda In the United States of America" (AQIUSA for short) so that we'll have a stake in the franchise. I'm telling Washington, we'd better get on the ball and let a few thousand more AQ sympathizers through the southern border so they can form up, preventing the US having to deal with the international stigma of not having a domestic AQ branch to call our own. We cannot afford to have an Al-Quaeda franchise gap with the rest of the world. Sudan, Yemen- those are dirt-poor countries and they are laughing at us: "Look at the silly USA, doesn't have a single Al-Quaeda branch! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" Just think of the marketing opportunities if we have Our Very Own Terrorists right around the corner- Homeland Security alone could make a fortune selling officially-licensed plastic sheets and duct tape.
I do believe the US intelligence community's shipment of FAIL has just arrived.
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