Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
US and Western European political leaders have begun to focus on Yemen as a source of projected instability and as a haven for jihadist terrorism against the West.
This simplistic and overly narrow view has largely been a reaction to media reporting of the links of alleged (and unsuccessful) Nigerian-born terrorist bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to a radical Yemeni group, and to intense ongoing fighting between insurgents and Yemeni and Saudi government forces on the Yemen-Saudi border.
The reality is far more complex and far-reaching.
The situation has a long history which has been ignored — or which has lacked priority — as far as Western intelligence services have been concerned. The current reaction has been one in which the US and UK leaderships, in particular, have merely elected to follow the media outrage over the alleged links between Abdulmutallab and “al-Qaida” training camps in Yemen. However, there is a contextual and vitally-linked pattern of activities and competition which engages, among others, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, Russia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Yemen, Djibouti, Libya, and others.
Western states and the great Asian trading states are essentially unable, or unwilling, to enter comprehensively into the matrix, and have elected, almost as a distraction, to focus on current, specific factors, such as the “presence of al-Qaida” in Yemen. And even in that regard, there is a clear inability of the US, or UK, for example, to surgically deal even with the narrow problem which they have identified as being “terrorist training” in Yemen.