Sunday, January 29, 2017

Something old, something new

Washington Post --

A U.S. service member died of injuries suffered during a weekend raid against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, the military said on Sunday. Three other American troops were wounded in the operation on Saturday against members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant organization that has remained a potent threat amid an extended civil conflict in Yemen, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said in a statement.

This latest of many attacks highlights the shambles of US counter-terrorism policy in the Arab world. Donald Trump and those around him are obsessed with ISIS, to the point of announcing work on a new Plan to defeat them, with the indicated components of the plan consisting of things that the Obama Administration was already doing. But lost in the ISIS obsession is a group like AQAP, which in its strategy is a different kind of danger to Americans (for one, they've displayed continual ingenuity in developing ways to get bombs on planes).

Another thing about AQAP is that it's the joint Saudi - Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, and unlike ISIS, has remained loyal to the AQ leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Of these aforementioned countries, only Yemen is included in Trump's visa ban.

Finally, AQAP says that the raid killed a daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki -- he being American, she was also born a US citizen. The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki was arguably a major blunder by Barack Obama, given his role from beyond the grave in inspiring terrorist recruits. It's not much defence of Trump, but he inherited a lot of incoherence.

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