August 8, 2012

Primer On the US-KSA Counterrevolution In Yemen

John Brennan's latest propaganda assault on Yemen, and by extension all peoples of the region, complete with a meandering Q & A on non-Yemen topics. This plastic will take some time to break down since Brennan is one of many U.S. officials who talk AQAP first, democracy later:
When the subject of Yemen comes up, it's often through the prism of the terrorist threat that is emanating from within its borders. And for good reason: Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is al-Qaida's most active affiliate. It has assassinated Yemeni leaders, murdered Yemeni citizens, kidnapped and killed aid workers, targeted American interests, encouraged attacks in the United States and attempted repeated attacks against U.S. aviation. Likewise, discussion of Yemeni and American counterterrorism efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on the use of one counterterrorism tool in particular: targeted strikes.

At the White House, we have always taken a broader view, both of Yemen's challenges and U.S. policy. Two months ago, however, a number of experts on Yemen wrote an open letter to President Obama arguing that there is a perception that the United States is singularly focused on AQAP to the exclusion of Yemen's broader political, economic and social ills. Among their recommendations, that U.S. officials publicly convey that the United States is making a sustained commitment to Yemen's political transition, economic development and stability. And it is in that spirit that I join you here today, both in my official capacity and as someone who has come to come know and admire Yemen and its people over the last three decades.

I want to begin with a snapshot of where Yemen is today. Since assuming office, President Hadi and his administration have made progress toward implementing two key elements of the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement that ended the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh and provided a road map for political transition and reform.

As part of a military reorganization, powerful commanders, including some of the former president's family and supporters, have been dismissed or reassigned, and discussions are under way to bring the military under unified civilian command. And just two days ago President Hadi took the important step of issuing a decree that reassigns several brigades from under the command of Saleh's son as well as leading Saleh rival Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

In addition, to organize the national dialogue, President Hadi has appointed a committee with representatives from political parties, youth groups, women's organizations, the southern movement and Houthi oppositionists in the north. And that committee met for the first time this week.

On the security front, government forces have achieved important gains against AQAP. Today AQAP's black flag no longer flies over the city centers of Ja'ar, Loudur (ph) or Zinjibar. As one resident said, after AQAP's departure from these areas in June, it is like seeing darkness lifted from our lives after a year..."

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