Al-Qaeda is said to be increasing its activities within the borders of Yemen, which has high unemployment, malnutrition rates and population growth, with fast depleting oil and water resources, a rebellion in the north and a southern secessionist movement. It would be barbaric to compound the country’s difficulties by bombing its people.
In January this year, foreign ministers from the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and 20 other countries met in London at Gordon Brown’s invitation to support President Ali Abdullah Saleh and pledged not to interfere in Yemen’s internal affairs. Aid was promised but very little delivered.
US breaks the pledge of non-interference
Despite this pledge, the US has used cruise missiles against al-Qaeda targets in remote areas of Yemen several times since December, when least 41 people were killed, killing yet more civilians and angering local tribes. A missile attack in May accidentally killed the deputy governor of Maarib province.
The Financial Times reports from Washington that the US is said to be intensifying its focus on the “mortal threat” posed by al-Qaeda in Yemen.
US officials say – off the record – that Washington is considering a range of options – including CIA drone strikes. James Clapper, the new director of national intelligence, issued a memo warning that there must be no more leaking of information and charges have been filed against those suspected of disclosing classified information.
Increased air attacks will strengthen al-Qaeda
Many Yemenis agree with Abdul Ghani al-Aryani, a Yemeni analyst, who believes that increased US strikes “will definitely strengthen al-Qaeda … because anti-Americanism is still very strong in Yemen”.
At the London conference on Yemen this year, western and Gulf states persuaded Yemen into the clutches of the IMF and pledged to assist the country to tackle its development and security needs.
Over the years less than 10% of Western aid promised has ever reached the country, though Yemen’s President Saleh says that Arab countries have fulfilled their commitments.
A civilised course of action
Civilised countries would redirect funds and energy to their own poor and unemployed by spending only on true defence. They would ban the trade in weapons which has armed the conflicts bringing poverty and danger to countries like Yemen.#
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A military reader writes: “We need to remember that Yemen controls passage to the Red Sea and Suez. It is therefore important for the West to ensure stability in that country.”
C3000: But will not more airstrikes destabilise the country?
Military reader replies: Certainly.