The U.S. and Al Qaeda Are on the Same Side in Yemen
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Saudis’ proxies in Yemen are fighting alongside Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP):
Meanwhile, Saudi-backed militias are spearheading efforts to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate the government that the rebels drove into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia. But they have turned to Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, for help, according to local residents and a senior Western diplomat. This puts the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom on the same side as one of the world’s most notorious extremist groups [bold mine-DL].
The U.S.-backed Saudi intervention has been boosting AQAP for months as it has targeted one of their main local enemies and left them free to seize new territory and weapons. Now the Saudis’ local allies are relying on AQAP’s support in their fight with the Houthis. It may have seemed that the war on Yemen could not get worse from the perspective of U.S. interests, but now it has. AQAP is not just the beneficiary of a dangerous U.S.-backed attack, but it is now siding with Saudi-backed forces. The U.S. and AQAP are effectively on the same side in Yemen. The latter lend aid to the same campaign that the U.S. backs, and U.S. client governments rely on American weapons, refueling, and intelligence as they attack the enemies of the jihadists.
This just drives home how contrary to U.S. interests the Saudi campaign has been from the start. The Saudis’ war isn’t just providing AQAP with an opportunity to make new gains, but it is now to some extent depending on AQAP to achieve any successes on the ground. The U.S. is enabling this disaster with its continued support for the Saudis’ unnecessary and indefensible war on Yemen, and things promise to keep getting worse the longer that the U.S. indulges its clients in their recklessness.