US Cheers Yemen’s Crackdown in Abyan

Ambassador Lauds 'Strategy to Challenge al-Qaeda'

The Obama Administration’s support for the new Yemeni ruler Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been solid since he won a single-candidate election earlier this year. Today, officials continued that trend with a new statement cheering their crackdown in the southern Abyan Province.

Ambassador Gerald Feierstein discussed the statement with reporters, terming the crackdown a “strategy to challenge al-Qaeda in ways they have not done in the past months.” The Yemeni military has been launching multiple attacks across the region.

Yet most of the fighting in Abyan has not targeted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), but rather the Ansar al-Sharia, another group which Yemeni officials have called “al-Qaeda” primarily to get US support for the offensive.

It seems to have worked in this case, and could suggest Yemen is going to continue with former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh’s strategy of claiming every secessionist faction is “al-Qaeda,” even the Shi’ite Houthis in the far north and the secular Socialist factions around Aden.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.