Great news: AQAP rising again in Yemen civil war

posted at 11:21 am on April 6, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Just remember, our policy in Yemen has been a success! A success, the White House insisted as recently as two weeks ago:

Q Josh, just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you’re asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

MR. EARNEST: Jon, the White House does continue to believe that a successful counterterrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country, and the United States can serve both to diplomatically offer up some political support to central governments. We can offer very tangible support to local security forces in the form of training and equipping, and we can also support the operations of those security forces through whether it’s the deployment of ISR capability, or even in the case of Iraq, military airstrikes.

And that is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in places like Yemen and Somalia, and is a template that we believe can succeed in mitigating the threat emanating from Syria as well.

Q I mean, that’s astounding. You’re saying that you still see Yemen as the model? That building up the central government, which has now collapsed; a President who’s apparently fled the country; Saudi troops amassing on one border; the Iranians supporting the rebels — you consider this is a model for counterterrorism?

MR. EARNEST: Again, Jon, what the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly, in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there.

The success story continues. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terrorism group that had been the focus of that policy, has taken advantage of the vacuum to grab territory — and begin offensive terror operations around the world. Now that the Hadi government has fled, the CIA can’t do much about it, either:

Agency and U.S. military personnel have been pulled out of Yemen amid escalating sectarian violence in recent weeks. Elite Yemeni units that the United States trained to hunt al-Qaeda have been scrambled by the government’s collapse. And millions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-provided military equipment has been destroyed in a span of days by Saudi airstrikes aimed at rendering those arms useless to the Iran-backed rebels who control the capital. …

The chaos would appear to give AQAP a major opening, a chance to ramp up terrorist plotting against the West while also asserting itself as the defender of Sunni Muslims across Yemen who are threatened by advancing Shiite-dominated Houthi militias.

Before the Thursday prison raid, though, AQAP had been relatively inactive. Aside from claiming credit for a series of small-scale attacks against Houthi fighters — who see Sunni-dominated al-Qaeda as an adversary — the group has avoided exposure to more direct confrontations or lingering American drones.

“The initial evidence is actually that the Houthi advance has caused [AQAP’s] external plotting to be sidelined while they figure out how they’re going to deal with . . . what appears to be an emerging civil war,” said a senior U.S. military official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has taken notice of this, too (via Katie Pavlich):

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday that Al Qaeda is having a “resurgence.”

“In Yemen the news is really all bad,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told ABC’s “This Week.” “Just as we feared in the chaos … Al Qaeda has had a resurgence.”

The Al Qaeda offshoot group in the Arab Peninsula has taken advantage of the turmoil in Yemen since it started several weeks ago, using the chaos and deteriorating government to expand its foothold in southwest Asia.

Schiff still insists that the Obama counterterrorism policies are better than the alternative, but that’s a little difficult to sustain. Schiff sniffs at the heavy-footprint model, but Obama’s alternative has resulted in four failed states — Syria, Iraq, Libya, and now Yemen — and an explosion of terrorist-network growth in all four countries. Yemen is no exception, as this video report from Reuters makes clear. AQAP has now seized towns in eastern Yemen, and staged a prison break that freed 300 of its fighters.

Syria probably would have collapsed anyway, even absent any pressure from the US. The same cannot be said of the other three countries. We had influence in Iraq and acted to keep the Sunnis and the Kurds within the coalition until Obama refused to seriously negotiate for an extended American presence, leading to the collapse of the Iraqi military and the rapid sweep of ISIS and their genocidal army. We deliberately undermined Ali Saleh in Yemen even though he had been cooperating in our counterterrorism strategy against AQAP, and we literally bombed Moammar Qaddafi out of power despite his cooperation on counterterrorism. In all three instances, those interventions without boots on the ground ended up leaving huge vacuums for terrorists to fill, and in Yemen a gap for Iran’s regional ambitions as well. Egypt nearly had the same outcome until the military seized power again.

Schiff may try to defend the Obama administration’s inept foreign policy, but the results — and the chaos in the region — speak for themselves.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

“Yemen and Somalia are our best examples on how to fight terrorism”.

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:24 AM

everditzo, name one foreign policy success of obama/Hillary/Kerry, I triple dare you, or anyone.

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:25 AM

“Mr. President, we’ve lured them out of the shadows.”

“Excellent.”

RBMN on April 6, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Goebbels loves Psaki/Harpie, Joshie and obama.

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:26 AM

Obama’s legacy: terrorist regimes marching across the world.

ConstantineXI on April 6, 2015 at 11:26 AM

sheesh?
everyone should be happy about that, because its obviously the only possible route to any longterm solution to the region’s struggles.
if you cared about anything other than partusan politics, you’d be happy too.
it’s unprecedented, and historic, and the first smart thing the US has ever done in the mideast.
everdiso on September 23, 2014 at 1:20 AM

…and Africa

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:27 AM

sit back, relax, and watch how a smart war is won easily, kiddies.
you’ll only make yourselves look sillier by yelling and screaming about it.
everdiso on September 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

#smartpower
everdiso on August 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

obama’s legacy, utter destruction of the world

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:28 AM

While I can empathize with his rage, I don’t think its wise foreign policy for the king to fly a sortie
Our leader is the paragon of cool temperament, unfazed by the distractions around him.
Obama killed Osama, and he will ultimately crush ISIS.
nonpartisan on February 4, 2015 at 11:24 PM

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Idiots. Utter and complete idiots. We deserve what we get.
libfreeordie on October 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

AQAP rising

How can that be?

I though General Motors was alive and bin Laden was dead.

Go figure…

Bruno Strozek on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Blame Bush in 5….4….3….

cmsinaz on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Oh okay.
I guess we’re good to freak about ISIS then for the next week until it to fizzles. Hey do we have the week after next’s freak out picked out yet because I suggest: “pollen.” This stuff is just in the air. Just floating there. And we breathe it! What if it’s a commie-muslim-atheist plot!?
Tlaloc on February 13, 2015 at 4:52 PM

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Same cowardice on display. ISIS is nothing but a local gang. Not even a real army, just a large group of thugs. And yet they have so terrified you that you will abandon any pretext of civilization.
Get a grip or at least stop broadcasting what a p*ssy you are for the world to see.
Tlaloc on January 31, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Obviously this can only be fixed by more bombings, invasions and doubling the offense, I mean defense, budget.

iwasbornwithit on April 6, 2015 at 11:35 AM

I remember when we used to call it a success for US to kill our enemies.
now we call it a success if we get others to pretend to kill our enemies.

dmacleo on April 6, 2015 at 11:36 AM

everditzo, name one foreign policy success of obama/Hillary/Kerry, I triple dare you, or anyone.

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:25 AM

I thought the James Taylor concert was pretty good.

kcewa on April 6, 2015 at 11:38 AM

Q: Josh, just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you’re asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

MR. EARNEST: Jon, you’ve been told not to ask questions like that.

BobMbx on April 6, 2015 at 11:38 AM

” Obama administration’s inept foreign policy”

Is it inept or intentional?

Techster64 on April 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM

Obama Legacy:
– AlQaeda on the rise
– ISIS bigger than AQ, has Caliphate in Iraq and Syria
– Iran is getting the bomb

Did I miss anything?

faraway on April 6, 2015 at 11:42 AM

” Obama administration’s inept foreign policy”

Is it inept or intentional?

Techster64 on April 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM

Intentional.

If it were only incompetence every once in a while he’d make a GOOD mistake wouldn’t he?

ConstantineXI on April 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM

“We need to get them jobs and stop these…

telephone games….” -Marie Barf

Electrongod on April 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM

I remember when we used to call it a success for US to kill our enemies.
now we call it a success if we get others to pretend to kill our enemies.

dmacleo on April 6, 2015 at 11:36 AM

Now we just have to pretend to be prosperous, pretend to be safe, and we’re all set.

RBMN on April 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM

sit back, relax, and watch how a smart war is won easily, kiddies.
you’ll only make yourselves look sillier by yelling and screaming about it.
everdiso on September 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Did this happen? How ’bout an update?

BobMbx on April 6, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Time for a Middle Eastern jobs program with some shovel ready jobs.
Smart Power

Closet Optimist on April 6, 2015 at 11:48 AM

It’s about time for Obama to start biting his lower lip.

A proven Democrat tool in times of universal deceit.

profitsbeard on April 6, 2015 at 11:51 AM

Time for a Middle Eastern jobs program with some shovel ready jobs.
Smart Power™

Closet Optimist on April 6, 2015 at 11:48 AM

“If you like your goat, you can keep your goat”.

VegasRick on April 6, 2015 at 11:53 AM

With all the March Madness, I’m confused: is this a JV or varsity team?

Kraken on April 6, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Idiots. Utter and complete idiots. We deserve what we get.
libfreeordie on October 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Schadenfreude on April 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM

LOL, I remember saying something very similar after both the ’08 and ’12 elections.

Midas on April 6, 2015 at 12:05 PM

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee

…oxymoron..??

Odoooshbag foreign policy Rule #1, #2, #3…:

The World isn’t a dangerous place.
Rather….America is a danger to the rest of the World

…truly a sick, mentally ill little man…

Pelosi Schmelosi on April 6, 2015 at 12:06 PM

what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there.

…sounds more like DOMESTIC policy to me…amirite..??

Pelosi Schmelosi on April 6, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Earnest is nothing more than the latest version of Baghdad Bob.

Tater Salad on April 6, 2015 at 12:14 PM

So how many are we letting in as refugees? Oh yeah I forgot we are a country of immigrants so let’s move on to another topic.

Wigglesworth on April 6, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Iran will take care of everything soon……nuclear fallout for all of the middle east.

Oil will skyrocket to $1000 a barrel as the middle east oil will be impossible to extract.

Africa and India will suffer the brunt of the nuclear ash.

The middle east will be a large hole in the earth – yeah thanks Obama.

redguy on April 6, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Time for a Middle Eastern jobs program with some shovel ready jobs.
Smart Power™

Closet Optimist on April 6, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Yeah the shovel ready jobs are the burial details all over the middle east & Africa.

redguy on April 6, 2015 at 12:25 PM

AQAP rising again in Yemen civil war

That’s not possible! King Barack the Magnificent proclaimed that “AQ is decimated and on the run!”

GarandFan on April 6, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Clearly Yemen is in need of a jobs fair and some empathy.

ghostwalker1 on April 6, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Did I miss anything?

faraway on April 6, 2015 at 11:42 AM

Ukraine
Baltic States threatened by Putin
SE Asia by China
and undoubtedly many more we could mention
The hits keep coming….

JLyons on April 6, 2015 at 12:56 PM

So, is Obama just trying to be the anti-Christ?

When’s the Executive Order to have us all tattooed with out SSN?

LoganSix on April 6, 2015 at 1:01 PM

That we’re … instead of protecting ourselves against terrorists, that we’re building diplomatic relationships and we’re investing in education abroad so that we’re making sure that kids are learning how to read as opposed to … fight us.-Michelle Obama, 2008

Limerick on April 6, 2015 at 1:24 PM

#MoreHashtagDiplomacy

John the Libertarian on April 6, 2015 at 1:34 PM

BTW, oil is up 5% today (so far). Yea, smart power!

Limerick on April 6, 2015 at 1:51 PM

somebody in the WH and the entire pentagon need to watch Lawrence of Arabia again……….all the answers are there

clandestine on April 6, 2015 at 5:36 PM

give the arab a few camels, a couple boxes of dynamite, and a tribal vendetta over dowry payments….and he’s a happy camper all summer long

clandestine on April 6, 2015 at 5:38 PM

Gee ! I remember what a great time our Marines had when they were rousted out of Yemen. They had to break up their weapons and surrender them. They were then allowed to buy tickets and leave on a commercial airliner ! Somehow I think our military is being led by a loser by the name of Barack Obama. The Benghazi slaughter was bad enough. The abrupt removal of our troops in Iraq resulted in the Al Qaeda over running that country. We have got to elect someone into the White House in 2016 who can actually run the military. A President who believes in appeasement and constantly surrendering to the enemy is a political-disaster. The “Iran Agreement” is another example of this behavior.

Bugdust172 on April 7, 2015 at 11:32 AM