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Entries in Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula (12)


Yemen 1st-Hand: When the US Drones Attacked My Village (al-Muslimi)

If you live in Yemen, the golden rule is to expect anything any time. That, however, does not include expecting your hometown village — one of the most peaceful and beautiful places in Yemen — to be bombed. The peacefulness of such a place makes you believe that no one has ever heard of it, let alone that it is bombed by a US drone strike at night.

That, however, is the reason that I received many messages from villagers on my two cell phones last night.

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Yemen Feature: Covering Up the Civilian Deaths from a US Drone Attack (Raghavan)

Funeral in Dhamar, Yemen, after a US drone strike, September 2012 (Photo: Mohamed Mohamed/Xinhua)

More than three months later, the incident in Radda offers a window into the Yemeni government’s efforts to conceal Washington’s mistakes and the unintended consequences of civilian deaths in American air assaults. In this case, the deaths have bolstered the popularity of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network’s Yemen affiliate, which has tried to stage attacks on U.S. soil several times.

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Yemen Feature: How A Country Was Lost in Obama's "War Laboratory" (Johnsen)

Photo: ReutersIn the final presidential debate, more than 11 years after the Bush administration launched its global war on terror, President Barack Obama identified "terrorist networks" as the gravest national security threat facing America. But Yemen, which is home to the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate, has attracted precious little attention from either of the candidates in this election.

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Yemen Opinion: Questioning Washington's Model of Drones and Permanent War (Johnsen)

Al Jazeera English's Inside Story asks, "Are US Drone Strikes A War Crime?"

1. Despite the US bombing campaign in Yemen, which has been partially designed to keep Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula on its heels so that it can't plot attacks against the US, the organization is still actively plotting and attempting to launch new attacks;

2. The more recruits AQAP gains the bigger of a talent pool it has upon which to draw.

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Yemen Feature: Who are the Competing Factions? (Ferguson)

Soldiers & Pro-Government Tribesmen, 26 MayAll around the country, the challenges to Yemen's new government's authority are numerous --- and serious.

Yemen's new president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was sworn into office this February after being the consensus candidate in a national referendum. He is meant to be overseeing a transition to full democracy in the country following a revolution that erupted in January 2011.

That revolution, however, spurred a violent power struggle between loyalists of the old regime --- the family of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled for over 30 years - and defected factions of the military and tribes opposed to him.

As fighting broke out across the capital city, Sanaa, in 2011, various rebel groups throughout the country that had long been fighting the government, took advantage of the chaos to sweep across new swathes of territory.

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Yemen Feature: An Arab Spring? No, Just More US Drone Strikes (Woods/Slater)

Covert US strikes against alleged militants in Yemen have risen steeply during the Arab spring, and are currently at the same level as the CIA’s controversial drone campaign in Pakistan, a new study by the Bureau reveals.

At least 27 US military and CIA strikes involving cruise missiles, aircraft, drones or naval bombardments have taken place in the volatile Gulf nation to date, killing hundreds of alleged militants linked to the regional al Qaeda franchise. But at least 55 civilians have died too, the study found.

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Yemen Analysis: The Latest Deaths and the Mistakes of US Policy (Johnsen)

A man is shot by a sniper at the "Kentucky Roundabout" in the Yemeni capital Sana'a

The news media, as should be expected, largely ignored Yemen when there were bloodier crises to cover in Libya and Syria and as a result so did the merry-go round experts in [Washington] DC and Europe.

But the US did not.

Now I completely disagree with the way the US has approached the crisis in Yemen since the uprising started in February, and I think my record is pretty clear on that, but I can't say it has ignored Yemen.

In fact, only a couple of weeks ago, John Brennan, who has emerged as the US point man on Yemen - which should tell you something about US priorities in Yemen, given that he is a counterterrorism adviser --- explained that Yemen's cooperation with the US was better than ever since Saleh left the country.

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Yemen Analysis: Why the US Death-by-Drone Strategy Will Not Work (Johnsen)

There are many more Islamists in Yemen --- people who went abroad to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq --- than there are members of Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula. 


Because many of those who went abroad to fight did so to defend Muslim lands from western military aggression and when they returned they disagreed with AQAP's claim that Yemen is a legitimate theater of jihad. 

With the US launching bombs into Yemen many more individuals will join up with AQAP for the same reason they went abroad to fight: to defend their land from what they see as Western military aggression. 

As if this wasn't bad enough the US is taking it one step further and, according to the Wall Street Journal, will be targeting people according to their "pattern of life."

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Yemen Snapshot: US and European Union Spin in Futility --- What to Do? What to Do? (DeYoung)

Armed Men Trap Ambassadors in UAE Embassy, 22 May 2011As Yemen's President Saleh repeatedly backs away from a deal for transition of power and armed clashes escalate on the streets of the capital Sanaa and other cities, the US and the European Union seem to be spinning helplessly, entangled in their alliance with Saleh in the War on Terror.

Karen DeYoung reports for The Washington Post:

The Obama administration and its Arab and European allies are reassessing their military and economic support for Yemen in a desperate search for ways to force President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation before civil war erupts.

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Yemen: How the Protests Stopped Up to $1 Billion in US Arms to Regime

The U.S. was on the verge of launching a record assistance package to Yemen when an outbreak of protests against its president led Washington to freeze the deal, officials say, marking a sharper turn in U.S. policy there than the administration has previously acknowledged.

The first installment of the aid package, worth a potential $1 billion or more over several years, was set to be rolled out in February, marking the White House's largest bid at securing President Ali Abdullah Saleh's allegiance in its battle against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group behind the failed underwear bombing in 2009 and the foiled air-cargo bombing plot in October.

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