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In Yemen, Western Foreign Policy Is Empowering al-Qaeda
anti-war / imperialism |
Monday June 22, 2020 22:27 by 1 of indy
Meanwhile the Yemen war powered by US and UK weapons grinds on -killing thousands where is the concern?
This report is from AntiWar.com
In April, an exclusive report published on Mintpress News laid bare an "unholy alliance" between al-Qaeda and the displaced government of Abdurabbuh Mansur Hadi that a coalition led by Sunni Gulf monarchies has been unsuccessfully seeking to reinstall with the help of the West since 2015. These revelations come on top of previous investigations that have further exposed how the relentless Western-backed war in Yemen has emboldened al-Qaeda militants responsible for multiple terrorist attacks on Western targets in the last two decades. Even if the war is drawing to a close, a strengthened al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will be the result.
And now to the meat of it:
Appalling as this may sound, collusion between al-Qaeda and NATO- and Gulf-backed forces is no exception in the Middle East. During my 2018 trip to Eastern Ghouta in Syria, I myself heard testimony of horrific crimes, including random imprisonment and rape of women, at the hands of fighters from Faylaq ar-Rahman. The media at the time attempted to portray this group as the most moderate of the "moderate rebels" in order to try to draw an imaginary line between alleged democratic revolutionaries supported by the West on the one hand and hardcore Islamist terrorists that constitute the raison d’être of the West’s "war on terror" on the other. Now, even high-level spokespersons of the American-led anti-ISIS coalition have repeatedly acknowledged that the Syrian Idlib province, where these and other militants have flocked to in recent years, is "a magnet for terrorist groups" and "the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11."
In these battleground places, far removed from the prying eyes of journalists, it is difficult to ascertain the true nature of the forces waging Western-backed wars in the Middle East. Yet, in Yemen, like Syria, it is clear that these recent revelations are not an isolated case. Previous investigations by prestigious publications back up the existence of this "unholy alliance" between AQAP and the Gulf coalition.
From war on terror to war of terror
In August 2018, the Associated Press revealed that "again and again," the coalition’s "decisive victories" against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were entirely deceitful, for it often cut secret deals with al-Qaeda militants instead of fighting them. Sometimes, they even paid terrorists to leave cities and towns, while at other times they were allowed to retreat with their weapons, equipment and enormous amounts of looted cash. In the central Shabwa province, for instance, the Emiratis offered one al-Qaeda commander $26.000 and an additional $13.000 for every one of his 200 foot soldiers who retreated. Other al-Qaeda militants were allowed to keep up to $100 million in stolen cash when they agreed to leave Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city in neighboring Hadramawt governorate. Key participants in these agreements told the investigators that the United States was well aware of the arrangements and held off drone strikes as part of the deal.
Despite their sinister character, these deals might nevertheless give the impression that there is a strict boundary between AQAP and the coalition. If you alter a well-known investigative dictum somewhat into "follow the weapons," however, it becomes clear that these boundaries are much more fluid. Leaning largely on the in-depth research of Egyptian journalist Mohamed Abu al-Gheit, investigations conducted by Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism and CNN have exposed a flourishing arms channel which has emboldened terror groups. As part of multi-billion-dollar arms sales between the West and the Gulf, weapons manufactured in the US and at least eight European countries have ended up with AQAP as well as ISIS. These weapons are usually sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who pass them on to warlords who are often not only loyal to Hadi but harness cozy relationships with known terrorists and their sympathizers as well.
Further attesting to these fluid boundaries, the Associated Press revealed that hundreds of AQAP militiamen were co-opted and recruited into the fight against the Houthis, a fact that has since been corroborated by UAE officials. In Yemen’s historic southwestern city of Taiz, Adnan Rouzek, one of Hadi’s top military commanders, even recruited a senior al-Qaeda figure as his top aide after he escaped from prison in 2008. The underlying idea on which this policy is predicated is that these terrorists help to fight the bigger evil. This, of course, is the Houthis, whom Gulf propaganda and compliant Western media tend to depict as Iranian proxies part of a regional axis of terror. Yet, the most mainstream of publications have by now admitted that Iran’s power over the Houthis is marginal at best, if not largely imaginary, and that the Houthis’ rise to power can be explained mostly by their successful fight against foreign interference. When Rouzek’s militia became notorious for kidnappings and execution-style street killings, it provided a stark reminder of who the actual terrorists are.