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Yemen

Jeremy Scahill, the National Security correspondent for The Nation, has written a series of remarkable essays (here, here and here) on Yemen and U.S. counter-terrorism operations. Or rather as the series of articles detailing and documenting how the U.S. operations in Yemen are in fact promoting-terrorism.

There are some startling findings in these articles:

1. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Listed by Washington as the single most dangerous terrorist threat facing the United States is made up of no more than 700 militants in the south of Yemen. Scahill makes clear that this group is not a significant threat to the US. And  should not be provoking the hysteria in Washington or elsewhere. Indeed, journalist Casey Combs went and visited al-Qaeda in the south of Yemen and you can see his photo essay here.

2. Intelligence? U.S. intelligence agencies have very little intelligence, on Yemen. But this has not stopped them from planning direct and inderct attacks.

3. Blowback. Counter-terrorism operations have increased hatred against America and the threat that groups such as AQAP pose. Indiscriminate drone attacks and U.S. funding to the Yemeni military have incited tribal groups to join the cause of radical groups, such as AQAP.

4. Saleh. The former President of Yemen has played the U.S. again and again and again. The United States “should have never made counterterrorism a source of profit for the regime, because that increased terrorism,” an analyst told Scahill.

The key quote: “What was almost entirely undiscussed was whether US actions—the targeted killings, the Tomahawk and drone strikes—caused blowback and whether some of AQAP’s attacks were motivated by the undeclared war the United States was fighting in Yemen.”

The US army has changed its approach globally in its military occupations and operations around the world, recognising that governance is key to reducing terrorism. Hence, the contemporary nexus of development and security. However, in Yemen the US has continued to neglect Yemen’s civil society and development:  “focusing instead on a military strategy aimed at hunting down terrorists.”

Scahill has makes clear that targeted killings anything but a counter-terrorism strategy.