With Friends Like These…
Here’s the latest news from Yemen:
U.S. Navy ships are helping patrol the international waters off Yemen to try to recapture al Qaeda prison escapees if they try to flee by sea, the Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday.
You’ll recall that this massive military effort is necessary because of a jailbreak in Sanaa last Friday. That was when the mastermind of the Cole bombing and 22 other terrorists tunnelled their way to freedom. According to this UPI story,
Yemeni security officials said Saturday the authorities were searching for twenty-three al-Qaida prisoners who escaped from a detention center in Sanaa.
An official security source said the ministry of defense ordered an immediate investigation into the incident to discover who helped the prisoners escape from the high-security jail supervised by the Yemeni intelligence service.
And the effect this debacle? CNN reports that:
If the fugitives are not caught in the next month, the United States may have to reconsider its presence in Yemen, which includes an embassy and small military contingent in Sanaa, according to the senior sources.
The longer they remain at large, the greater the security risk to Americans inside Yemen, the sources said.
In my post on Tuesday I recommended that we reconsider our strategic alliances with “moderate” Islamic regimes.
I haven’t changed my mind yet.
Consider these facts:
- 23 dangerous high profile al-Qaeda prisoners escaped.
- They dug a tunnel out of a high-security prison.
- Yemen acknowledges that prison officials may have been involved.
- Yemen’s intelligence service was in charge of the prison.
- Americans may no longer be safe in Yemen.
As a result of all this, an expensive and resource-consuming operation has to be mounted by the US Navy, when there are other important strategic tasks it could be performing.
And these people are our allies.
Oh, I’m sure they’re “reliable partners in the war against terror.” I’m certain they throw us an intelligence bone from time to time, and corral some terrorist flunkies to take the fall for Al Qaeda when required.
But it’s hard for me to believe that we’re really getting an adequate bang for our buck.