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Thursday, February 09, 2006

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.
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posted by Baron Bodissey at permanent link#

4 Comments:

Blogger Jay.Mac said...

Every day seems to bring yet more evidence that the US needs to take a long hard look at the relationship they have with certain countries- and the billions of dollars in aid they provide.

I don't quite understand why the US taxpayer's dollar goes to people whose response is usually to chant "death to America".

Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:31:00 pm  
Blogger Christine said...

The US needs to make sure they hear what is coming out of both sides of these people's mouths.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 9:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Spanish Eowyn said...

The worst of all: they were imprisoned at the headquarters of the military intelligence, in the middle of the city. And the tunnel was digged from the inside and the outside. That is not only by the terrorists imprisoned, but by people from outside also.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 9:56:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

I think old habits die hard in U.S. diplomacy. Realpolitik is a big ship and it is hard to turn around. We used to prop up these dictatorships because we felt they would keep their people under control. We funded them as a way of saying, here you go, now make sure we don't have any problems.

But, obviously, the problems are out of control and it seems as if governments like Yemen even approve.

Realpolitik made sense during the era of containment, but it is an immoral policy now. And even worse, it is us shooting ourselves in the foot.

Friday, February 10, 2006 1:46:00 am  

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