According to reports from US officials, the Pentagon is proposing a dramatic increase in the amount of military aid sent to Yemen annually, with some officials pushing for as much as $250 million in the next annual appropriation.
The Obama Administration has already greatly increased the military aid budget to Yemen, which was $155 million this year. The proposals come amid increased US interest in tackling al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen.
Military aid to Yemen’s Saleh government runs afoul of the US Child Soldiers Prevention Act, but President Obama has issued waivers allowing the funding to continue. Yemen is also facing a number of internal military conflicts totally unrelated to AQAP.
Which is a cause for concern regarding the major increases in US funding, as there is no guarantee the funding will actually be used to tackle AQAP and not, for instance, launch more attacks against the Shi’ite north or against the Socialist blocs in the former Southern Yemen territories. AQAP has long been a distant third in priority for the government, and while it is President Saleh’s ticket to a big boost in US aid, it will likely remain an afterthought when it comes time to launch new strikes.