Obama's Yemen model is a roaring success

AP Photo/Hani Mohammed


Back in September, our fearless commander in chief, Barack Obama told us all with utmost confidence that he was totally on top of the war against ISIS and had a plan to win it. This came as a surprise to many who could see nothing but duplicity and ass-covering in the administration’s actions and thought that its strategy was best captured by that ancient military maxim: “when in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” This is what he said:


This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out [the Islamic State] wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.

Even at the time few were buying it. For instance, this from the left:

Hayes Brown at Think Progress

Except this is probably among the least encouraging thing that Obama could possibly say.

Shuaib Almosawa at The Daily Beast

…Obama’s Yemen model has been helpless to prevent recent waves of Al Qaeda attacks despite being notified of their specifics days and weeks before.

The doubters have been proven correct:

Yemen’s president resigned Thursday, saying he had reached a “deadlock” in talks with Shiite rebels who rule the capital and had confined him to his home. His resignation raised fears the Arab world’s poorest country could again split apart, severely complicating U.S. efforts to combat al-Qaida’s powerful local franchise.

It is sad to have to say it again but the Obama administration has been as relentlessly wrongheaded and wrong as any administration in the history of the galaxy. From pissing away a victory in Iraq, to throwing a war in Afghanistan, to letting Putin give us an atomic wedgie, to our bizarre, one-sided negotiations with Iran, to our mismanagement of every alliance we are a part of, to the Arab Spring, to… you get the picture. Attempting to use a fragile regime as a bulwark to fight a terrorist movement that, whether our cognoscenti care to believe it or not, has widespread popular support was bonkers. What is more unsettling is the fact that the government was overthrown, not by AQAP terrorists but by Shia tribesmen who can be expected to look to Tehran for guidance.


It’s important to note that it’s not the Sunni extremist AQAP that is posing the threat to Hadi right now. Instead, it’s members of the Houthi rebel faction, who are believed to be backed by Shiite regional power Iran and who argue that they are oppressed by Yemen’s Sunni majority. It’s also unclear whether the Houthis want to actually force Hadi out, or just use their military success to pressure the government.

The fight against AQAP seems likely to take a hit, however: While the Houthis have battled against al-Qaeda forces before, wider chaos in the country could well help AQAP. The Houthis are also unlikely to be a willing partner for the United States, which they have accused of meddling in Yemen’s affairs in the past.

At some point the administration should have learned that the cute school solutions that get rave reviews from the faculty rarely, if ever, work in the real world. But now seven years into this runaway clown car of tragedy that is the Obama administration’s foreign policy I have given up hope that they are capable of learning. I suppose things could get worse. Iran could be on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power. But that will never happen.





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