FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Provoking Yemeni Terrorism

by SHELDON RICHMAN

The U.S. government and mainstream media continue to play dumb about threats to Americans from the Muslim world. After two Chicago-bound packages of explosive materials originating in Yemen were found in England and Dubai, White House homeland security and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said, “We are trying to understand who is behind it ….”

President Obama added, “We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. I’ve also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages….”

Those statements are disingenuous. We already know who — more precisely, what — is behind the attempt to perhaps blow up airplanes with the explosives. We understand — or should understand — the origins of such terrorism. And despite his words, the president steadfastly refuses to pursue the best protective measure to keep Americans safe.

What’s behind it all is the American empire’s intervention in the Muslim world. Specifically, U.S. forces have been conducting a covert war on the people of Yemen for almost 10 years. In that light it is not so difficult to fathom why Yemenis might want to hurt Americans.

“US Special Forces, warplanes and killer drones have been active since 2001, assassinating Yemeni militants and antigovernment tribal leaders,” writes Eric Margolis, a reporter long familiar with Yemen and the wider region. “It was only a matter of time before Yemeni jihadists struck back at the US.”

Once again, conceited American officials have blundered into civil war in a desperately poor Muslim country, this time backing a military dictatorship hated by Shi’ite Muslims and local tribesmen.

In December a Nigerian Muslim who spent time in Yemen tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit. Margolis notes, “Just before the Detroit air incident, US warplanes killed 50–100 Houthi tribesmen fighting the American-backed regime.”

Besides warplanes the Obama administration is also using that weapon of choice, the unmanned drone, from which operators sitting safety in the United States shoot deadly Hellfire missiles at Yemeni villages. That has not exactly endeared the United States to the Yemenis. “I wish I had a weapon that could reach that aircraft,” one tribesman said. In the eastern part of the country, people hear drones overhead for hours every day. “Now children and women are terrified and can’t sleep…. People are haunted. They expect the next strike to hit the innocent and not the fugitives,” a man told Reuters. He spoke after an attack in May in which, Reuters reported, “an errant air raid targeting al-Qaeda killed five people, among them Jaber al-Shabwani, the province’s deputy governor who was mediating between the government and the militants.” The Reuters report continued, “The killing so angered Shabwani’s tribesmen that in the subsequent weeks they fought heavily with government security forces, twice attacking a major oil pipeline in Maarib.”

That is what U.S. policy in the Muslim world yields every time. Yes, Margolis reports, “The most prominent Yemeni militant group is al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a fusion of local Yemeni and Saudi jihadists dedicated to overthrowing the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni military regime and replacing them with an Islamic government. AQAP numbers around 100–200 core members, with thousands of supporters.” However, “It is not an organic part of Osama bin Laden’s group but, like similar al-Qaida franchises in Iraq, North Africa, Somalia, and West Africa, a like-minded local revolutionary group” (emphasis added).

In other words, al-Qaeda wannabes are popping up wherever the American regime intervenes. Their militancy is not motivated by religion or a hatred of Americans’ way of life but by a desire for revenge for America’s cruel invasions, occupations, bombings, assassinations, and torture. Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, who has studied suicide terrorism more thoroughly than anyone, concludes, “More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation…. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops….” The motivation for shipping explosives is not likely to be different.

Contrary to Barack Obama, the best way to protect ourselves from militant Yemenis is to get out of their country.

SHELDON RICHMAN is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.

 

Sheldon Richman, author of the forthcoming America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail