In the latest Mideast foreign policy and counter-terrorism disaster, the fall of the U.S.-allied Yemeni leader has resulted in a severe setback for operations against the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps the most dangerous branch of the group.
According to the Washington Post:
The Obama administration has been forced to suspend certain counterterrorism operations with Yemen in the aftermath of the collapse of its government, according to U.S. officials, a move that eases pressure on al-Qaeda’s most dangerous franchise.
Armed drones operated by the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command remain deployed for now over southern Yemen, where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is based. But some U.S. officials said that the Yemeni security services that provided much of the intelligence that sustained that U.S. air campaign are now controlled by Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who have seized control of much of the capital.
Even before the disintegration of the government, officials say, the growing chaos in Yemen had resulted in a steady erosion in intelligence-gathering efforts against AQAP and a de facto suspension in raids by Yemeni units trained, equipped and often flown to targeted al-Qaeda compounds by U.S. forces.
The Houthis who have taken power are allied with Iran, giving the Iranians a brand new outpost from which to oppose U.S. interests and support anti-U.S. military and terrorist operations. What’s more, the defeat of Yemen’s leader makes al Qaeda potentially the de facto leader of the opposition Sunnis, enhancing its stature in the country and allowing it to draw new recruits.
Why didn’t we somehow support such a key ally in the region and do what was necessary to prevent his defeat?
Another mess courtesy of the Obama White House.