US-Backed Yemeni Regime Collaborates With, Supports al-Qaeda

John Glaser, August 31, 2012

Foreign Policy reports there are “many Yemenis who have come to suspect that their government is not fighting, but helping cultivate, jihadi activity in their country.”

According to sources in Yemen’s Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry, as well as independent Yemeni analysts and journalists with intimate knowledge of al Qaeda in Yemen, the Yemeni government is fully aware of a number of al Qaeda cells — and their existence is tolerated and their crimes covered up.

Indeed, this phenomenon is well known in Yemen. As Jeremy Scahill of Nation magazine wrote after visiting Yemen earlier this year: “Since the mujahedeen war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and continuing after 9/11, Saleh has famously milked the threat of Al Qaeda and other militants to leverage counterterrorism funding and weapons from the United States and Saudi Arabia, to bolster his power within the country and to neutralize opponents.”

Abdulghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst, has said has much about the Saleh regime and he told Foreign Policy that the collaboration between the new US-supported Yemeni regime and al-Qaeda militants continues. “At all levels of Yemen’s political elite you have collusion and cooperation with militants and terrorists,” he said.

The piece goes through a number of examples. Yemen’s Political Security Organization (PSO) – “the government’s most powerful internal security apparatus, is deeply connected to al Qaeda” and has provided safe houses for al-Qaeda leaders when needed. The PSO and Yemen’s top political and military leaders also help individual al-Qaeda militants get out of jail and of course have conspired to help pull off some of Yemen’s high profile prison breaks wherein hundreds of al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia members run free.

All of this collusion is done in order to siphon off more taxpayer dollars, military training from Washington, and major weapons systems from America’s defense corporations:

As for why elements inside the Yemeni government would cooperate with or encourage al Qaeda’s activities, the benefit is clear. The United States backed Saleh’s regime with millions of dollars of assistance for his counterterrorism operations — and it now backs the Hadi government in the hope that it can eradicate the terrorist threat and stabilize Yemen. But elements in the government have an incentive to keep the pot boiling: The greater al Qaeda’s profile in Yemen, the more U.S. dollars flow to Yemeni government coffers. And with the country’s history of rampant corruption, it should shock no one if much of that foreign assistance finds its way into politicians’ pockets.

So not only is the Obama administration sending unprecedented amounts of aid and security assistance to the horrible Yemeni regime which systematically acts as al-Qaeda’s lifeline, but they are continuously bombing the “allied” country with drones, generating anti-American hatred and greater al-Qaeda recruitment. Can you imagine a policy more destructive of its stated ends?




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