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

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail