Yemen goes after AQ

posted at 11:36 am on December 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yemen decided to act today to curtail the al-Qaeda threat that almost blew up a plane on Christmas Day.  Their military forces raided a known AQ hideout and engaged in an apparent gunfight, managing to capture one suspect alive so far:

Yemeni security forces stormed an al-Qaida hide-out Wednesday in a principle militant stronghold in the country’s west, setting off clashes, officials said, as a security chief vowed to fight the group’s powerful local branch until it was eliminated.

A government statement said at least one suspected al-Qaida member was arrested during the fighting in Hudaydah province. The province, along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, was home to most of the assailants in a bombing and shooting attack outside the U.S. Embassy in 2008 that killed 10 Yemeni guards and four civilians. …

A security official who gave more details on Wednesday’s raid said it resulted from a tip and targeted a home five miles (eight kilometers) north of the Bajil district. He said one suspected al-Qaida member was injured and several who fled were being pursued.

The owner of the home, a sympathizer of the group, was arrested, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Yemen finds itself in a difficult position, somewhat akin to Pakistan’s.  The radical Islamists have plenty of sympathy from Yemenis, mainly for their anti-Saudi activities in a nation that resents its larger and much richer neighbor and especially resents a border settlement that produced Osama bin Laden’s radicalism in the first place.  They also know that the US, as an ally of the Saudis and of Israel, is only slightly more popular than the plague in Yemen at the best of times.  Attacking AQ means generating more opposition to the Yemeni government, already unstable enough as it is.

Unfortunately, the alternative for Yemen is to have the US conduct its own attacks on AQ strongholds — and we still may do it anyway, if the Yemenis can’t clean up their own country.  After several years of being asleep to the threat in Yemen, the American public wants action to defeat AQ in its new and old stronghold in the wilds of a nation that could be considered close to a failed state.   The existence of Anwar al-Awlaki and his apparent involvement in two successive terrorist attacks in the US over the last few weeks has made action inevitable, and if Yemen punts it to the US, they will be in worse shape domestically than if they do it themselves.

All of this means we should take any action with a large, Lot’s Wife-sized grain of salt.  We’re much more likely to see a “usual suspects” approach, taking out a few low-level people for show while Yemen largely leaves the rest of AQ alone.  We had better be prepared to address Yemen in the same manner as we do Waziristan and the NWFP in Pakistan.


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meaningless…

PatriotRider on December 30, 2009 at 11:37 AM

“..and engaged in an apparent gunfight, managing to capture one suspect alive so far”

Let’s be thankful there is no ACLU in Yemen. Now maybe they can “sweat” this guy, like Rove has been suggesting.

VoyskaPVO on December 30, 2009 at 11:38 AM

finally?
Took long enough.

bridgetown on December 30, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Immediate cancellation of all art classes. And that’s just for starters.

Cicero43 on December 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Yemen:

‘Did we make enough of a show to keep the aid coming?’

Vashta.Nerada on December 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Take my word for it, this will backfire big time. This is exactly what the AQ bosses wanted to happen. The Yemeni people will see this as their state taking orders from the US and they will flock to join up. This is the worse possible reaction anyone could have done.

Johnnyreb on December 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Is Yemen the next Afghanistan?

Steve Z on December 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

So obama has started another war..

the_nile on December 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Poll Question: should we pay for skin grafts for panty bomber?

http://bellalu0.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/should-we-provide-panty-bomber-with-skin-grafts/

Dr Evil on December 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Yeah, this seems like so much window dressing.

Midas on December 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

How much of that promised $40-plus million Obama wants to give Yemen will end up in AQ-Yemen coffers?

One raid does not a military campaign make.

If we are going to be serious about going after AQ-Yemen, and AQ globally, it is well past the time to tell host nations that we will go after them as well if they continue to aid, abet, support, sympathize with jihad. [Saudis, as well.]

Time is short. Whilst the focus of this White House is on restructuring America, there are a lot of folks who happen to be Moslem who are more interested in the destruction of America.

Priorities.

Seem to be bass-ackward of late.

coldwarrior on December 30, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Yemen – The Somalia of the Middle East

Neither place is exactly on the list of best travel destinations.

Just A Grunt on December 30, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Figleaf.

Sheerq on December 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

This calls to mind the old “Sam and Ralph” cartoons.

Robert_Paulson on December 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Wait for it…Obama’s minions will issue a Press Release praising the brave Yemeni Government.

kingsjester on December 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Poll Question: should we pay for skin grafts for panty bomber?
Dr Evil on December 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I hope he is being tended to by Jewish doctors or barring that, he is a resident of a Catholic hospital.

Just A Grunt on December 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM

The Yemenies really shouldrethink this and come to love Obama. If I were POTUS we would already be talking about Yemen in the past tense.

MikeA on December 30, 2009 at 11:47 AM

several who fled were being pursued

Several fled a government raid? How does that even happen? Is this a foot pursuit that is currently underway?

Buddahpundit on December 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Yemen to US: “Okay, we caught one bad guy, can we have our $65 million now?”

ted c on December 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

If we are going to be serious about going after AQ-Yemen, and AQ globally, it is well past the time to tell host nations that we will go after them as well if they continue to aid, abet, support, sympathize with jihad. [Saudis, as well.]
coldwarrior on December 30, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Could not agree more. It is war, not law enforcement or criminal activity.

fourdeucer on December 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Yeah, right.

Given past efforts, how long will it be before we find out the ‘somebody’ got a cell phone before the ‘raid’ and skedaddled before the hammer dropped.

The Yemeni government has been using AQ as ‘irregulars’ against the Northern Yemenis [who just happen to be Shia] for a few years now.

I ain’t getting all shiny because some jihadi mooks got shot up, on cue.

When I see some ‘no prior notice’ JDAMS dropping in to say ‘hi’, then I’ll think Obaka getting serious.

Get back with me then, not before that.

CPT. Charles on December 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Hey, any aspirin factories over there? Let’s bomb an aspirin factory.

petefrt on December 30, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Denying them access to our planes when they have no passport and are on the no fly list would really send a message. Then for the cherry on top: if they are Muslim they don’t fly at all. We mean business. Why are we paying these useless bureaucrats if they aren’t going to do their jobs?

BetseyRoss on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Doesn’t the lightworker and his sycophant crew understand that Yemen IS a terrorist nation? Yemen saying that it is planning attacks on AQ, or that Yemen is taking action to stop terrorism, is like hearing the Chicago Mayor say he’s going to start cracking down on the Mob. Chicago’s (and Illinois’) government IS the Mob.

AW1 Tim on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

honest question Ed

Are you for the invasion of Pakistan and Yemen if the AQ attacks keep up?

offroadaz on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Take my word for it, this will backfire big time. This is exactly what the AQ bosses wanted to happen. The Yemeni people will see this as their state taking orders from the US and they will flock to join up. This is the worse possible reaction anyone could have done.

Johnnyreb on December 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Really? What do you suggest they do? Leave them alone to eat their waffles plot and carry out attacks?

Buy Danish on December 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Not to worry terrorists! Obama is going to send you reinforcements from Gitmo soon.

indy8 on December 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Wrist-Slap

PappaMac on December 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

is like hearing the Chicago Mayor say he’s going to start cracking down on the Mob. Chicago’s (and Illinois’) government IS the Mob.

Ya, but they do it every now and then to make a show of it.

Some unimportant underling is arrested, everyone makes a big deal – lots of photos, statements about how they are cracking down on the mob, getting tough on crime, etc, etc…

It buys some time for everyone involved.

reaganaut on December 30, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Not to worry terrorists! Obama is going to send you reinforcements from Gitmo soon.

indy8 on December 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Let us also remember that not a single terrorist from the USS Cole bombing is still in prison with most of them escaping from Yemeni custody.

highhopes on December 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Really? What do you suggest they do? Leave them alone to eat their waffles plot and carry out attacks?

Buy Danish on December 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Do it the right way. Go in full force with everything they have. Give the Yemeni’s the backup and firepower they need to conduct massive raids on all known AQ hideouts, and I am willing to bet their government knows where a whole bunch of them are.

These pin prick raids are exactly what we did in Afghanistan and they did not work for us there, and they will not work in Yemen either. They just made AQ stronger in the long run.

Johnnyreb on December 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Johnnyreb on December 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

Buy Danish on December 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

…if the Yemenis can’t clean up their own country

Does anyone seriously think that the Yemenis can clean up their own country? The country is a cesspool, starting from the top and filtering down to the everyday polygamist with his 3 prepubescent wives.
Starkly put, I don’t care about collateral damage to that country – I just want to make sure there is one less country exporting jihadists and making things less safe for my family, friends and neighbors.

CarolynM on December 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

the Chicago Mayor say he’s going to start cracking down on the Mob. Chicago’s (and Illinois’ and the Federal) government IS the Mob.

FIFY

cthulhu on December 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Whew! That may impress Obama and Joe Biden and Hillary, but didn`t the Yemen govt. allow them in the first place?

Just a matter of the right bribe to the right person.

albill on December 30, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Buy stock in any company making drones. Fear the Reaper. That’s what I’d like to see. Run a few dozen Reapers up in the sky round the clock. Boo-yah.

Mojave Mark on December 30, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Trainload of salt, indeed. This is just more “round up the usual suspects” crap.

Jaibones on December 30, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Pardon my skepticism, but Obama is determined to close Gitmo, come terrorism or man-caused disaster. Gitmo now houses quite a few Yemeni natives (many of whom are represented by Holder’s former law firm) and the plan is to return them to Yemen. (No art rehab in Saudi Arabia for these guys.)

Presto — we will launch operations and declare Yemen free of Al Qaida, then return these terrorists.

Smoke and mirrors.

Nichevo on December 30, 2009 at 3:37 PM

CPT. Charles on December 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Exactly, only rounded off with a healthy bombardment of JSOWs to take the rats out that scurry away too.

Marine_Bio on December 30, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Poll Question: should we pay for skin grafts for panty bomber?
Dr Evil on December 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I’m sure we can spare some pig skin.

Maquis on December 30, 2009 at 10:32 PM