Investigation: US-Supported Saudi-Coalition RECRUITING Al-Qaida Fighters In Yemen
With just three days to go before the seventeenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, an investigation has reportedly found that the US-supported Saudi-led coalition has been recruiting al-Qaida members to fight the Houthi rebels in the country of Yemen.
The investigation, carried out by The Associated Press, was published on Friday and the AP writes that it has found that while many times the coalition “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters” to make them give up territory to the government forces, but other times they were “recruited to join the coalition itself.”
Yemen has been in a continuous civil war since 2011, wherein the Ansar Allah rebels (Houthis) has taken control of the northwestern part of the country and the rest is controlled by either government forces (supported by Saudi Arabia), UAE-supported rebel groups, or al-Qaida.
As The Rational Times previously has reported, Saudi Arabia has recklessly killed civilians in the country while still being supported and propped up by Washington DC.
The AP investigation details that there exist two main conflicts in Yemen when it comes to American interests. The first is the one against Islamic extremists such as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), but the far greater goal, according to Riyadh, would be to eliminate the Houthis, a Shiite-Yemeni rebel group.
AQAP is estimated to have about 6,000 to 8,000 members in the country — which is increasing.
“Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that,” said Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. analysis group tracking terrorism. “However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen.”
Horton further points out that “if coalition-backed forces are able to force the Houthis to retreat, AQAP will move to fill some of the voids left by the Houthis and their allies — at least over the short-term.”
“The United States is certainly in a bind in Yemen,” Katherine Zimmerman told AP, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “It doesn’t make sense that the United States has identified al-Qaida as a threat, but that we have common interests inside of Yemen and that, in some places, it looks like we’re looking the other way.”