posted at 9:52 pm on January 5, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Several interlinked stories highlight the real danger to the country from having a president who is, let us say, reluctant to play his Commander in Chief rôle:
Yemen assures us that it has al-Qaeda completely under control (and they resent us pushing them around):
Yemen showed signs of friction Tuesday with the United States over the fight against al-Qaida, insisting it has the terror group under control, as the U.S. Embassy in San’a ended a two-day closure.
Meanwhile, John McCain — who, with Joe Lieberman, visited Yemen, that garden-spot of the Middle East, in August — warns of a mounting al-Qaeda presence. (I wonder who we should believe, McCain and Lieberman — or the Yemeni government?)
“We cannot allow Yemen to be a base for Al-Qaeda to mount attacks on other countries in the region as well as the United States,” said McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008….
Lieberman said an American who was working in Yemen had warned him during the August visit that “Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war and if do not act pre-emptively now, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.”
Finally, in response to the Yemen problem, Barack H. Obama has decided to forego the planned release of Gitmoids to Yemen… at least until the furor dies down:
The U.S. will not transfer any detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Yemen right now, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.
Ninety detainees in Gitmo are from Yemen, which is combating a resurgent Al Qaeda. A delayed return could mean they will end up in a federal prison in Thomson, Illinois, Gibbs said…
“While we remain committed to closing the detention facility, the determination has been made that right now any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea.” [As you can see, with this crowd in la Casa Blanca, there’s ever a “Duh” moment! — DaH]
Recent terrorist events corroborate the McCain-Lieberman warning: We all know by now that failed boxer-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab trained in Yemen, and that is likely where he got his underwear bomb; and last August, a member of the same al-Qaeda branch in Yemen tried to assassinate Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official, using the same underwear-bomb technique as did Abdulmutallab (and Nayef informed us all about that attack last year). Finally, just a few days ago, the U.S. and U.K. embassies in Yemen were shut down due to credible bombing threats from the same jolly band of terrorists.
Al-Qaeda has strong roots in Yemen, of course; that’s whence the bin Laden family originally came, and it’s possible that Osama bin Laden himself is technically a Yemeni citizen, not Saudi Arabian (I’m not sure of the law in the two countries). The Moslems in Yemen are a split between Sunni (a big chunk of them Wahhabi) and Shia (including a great many “Twelvers”); and control by the radicals definitely appears to be growing, to the point of having the government in a stranglehold — or at least a half-nelson.
Note that this is not an example of al-Qaeda being driven out of one place, like Afghanistan, and fleeing over the mountains and across the border into Pakistan. From Waziristan and Balochistan, where we believe al-Qaeda to be headquartered today, Yemen is more than two thousand miles away: The Yemeni al-Qaeda aren’t refugees… they’re an expanding base of operations.
This is what happens when a president doesn’t pro-actively fight against the Iran/al-Qaeda Axis and take the fight to the enemy: During the years when we were going after AQ in Iraq and Afghanistan and all around the world, they were too busy defending (and losing) their home turf to branch out into other countries. They were on the run, especially after we defeated them in their self-styled center of gravity, Iraq.
But Barack H. Obama has made it quite clear that he doesn’t consider attacks on the United States and on our allies by Iran, and by Iranian-backed terrorist groups, to constitute a “war.” The One al-Qaeda Has Been Waiting For considers such mass murders merely “criminal activities,” akin to drug running or auto theft. He sends a dozen signals every month that he has no intention of making war on the evil-doers, but is content to sit back and play defense. And now they’re moving right back into the Middle East, into Yemen, which sits at the southern border of Saudi Arabia — where there is already war, terrorism, and chaos enough to feed a dozen al-Qaedas.
We cannot play defense against the Axis: If we don’t take the war to them, they’ll follow us home and take it to us.
Al-Qaeda will send as many Einsatzgruppen as necessary, so that at least one will get through; then we’ll have another London Tube-bombing sized “man-caused disaster,” or even, God forbid, a second September 11th-level catastrophe . But that’s what happens when we play defense: We must get it right every time, for all time; they only have to get it right once.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…