White House: Yemen remains a model for counterinsurgency

AP Photo/Hani Mohammed


Sometimes you wonder if Josh Earnest is just a very stupid man or if he’s secretly laughing as he plays the role of Obama’s Baghdad Bob. From the March 23 press briefing:


Q    And lastly, it wasn’t too long ago that the President was holding up Yemen as somewhat of a model for counterterrorism strategies in Iraq and Syria and other places.  I’m wondering, does the President still see Yemen as a model for success in fighting terrorism that can be applied elsewhere in the region?

MR. EARNEST:  Josh, the case that we have made is that Yemen did serve as a template for the kind of strategy that we would employ and have employed to mitigate the threat from extremists around the world.  And in Yemen, the United States did, on occasion, take steps to remove some extremists from the battlefield.  Those were steps that were carried out using U.S. capabilities, but they were done in coordination with a central government and with national security forces inside that country.

Ultimately, our goal here is to build up the capacity of local countries so that they can assume responsibility for their own security situation.  And that has both the effect of stabilizing the country so that extremists can’t use it as a safe haven to plot and carry out attacks against the West, but it also means that these countries can better provide for the security situation inside them so they aren’t vulnerable to extremist actions on their own.

There are a couple of I think other relevant examples here.  One is we talked a little bit last week about the fact that in Somalia, where the United States does not have a significant military presence, U.S. military forces, however, did undertake an action that took one of the masterminds of the Westgate Mall attack off the battlefield.  That was a success that will enhance the security of the United States and our allies around the world.  We continue to be very mindful of the threats that are posed by extremists in Somalia, but that is an indication of how dangerous Somalia is for extremists as well, because the United States has sustained pressure on them.  But that is an effort that we continue to be vigilant about and we continue to be keenly aware of the threat that emanates from Somalia.


Lest you think this was a case of Earnest misspeaking, let’s take a look at yesterday’s press briefing via RCP:

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: I know you’re asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen, but now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counter-terrorism strategy?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Jon, the White House does continue to believe that a successful counter-terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country…

KARL: That’s astounding. You’re saying that you still see Yemen as the model, that building up the central government which has now collapsed, a president who has apparently fled the country, Saudi troops have amassed on one boarder, the Iranians supporting the rebels. You consider this as a model for counter-terrorism?

EARNEST: Again, Jon, what the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is work to try to support the central government, build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there.

Look — I — there’s no doubt that we would like to see a functioning central government in Yemen — we don’t see that right now — and that is why we are supportive of the U.N.-led process to try to put an end to the violence and instability.


For those of you who have been in a medically induced coma, or who decided to spend the Obama presidency in a drunken stupor and have unexpectedly sobered up, the situation in Yemen has gone from dire to completely f***ed up to a crisis. The sorta-mostly friendly government was overthrown by Iranian backed rebels; US Marines charged with protecting our embassy were disarmed on the way out of the country and all their equipment abandoned; US intelligence was turned over to the Iranians (which, to Obama, may be a feature not a bug as he’s more open with the Iranians than with our allies or the Congress); US special forces abandoned their last base in Yemen; and now the Saudis and ten other Arab nations have begun military operations to restore the previous regime.

The signal foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration seems destined to be setting the stage for a full-blown thermo-nuclear war. Under Obama,  Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq have been destabilized as a direct result of policies implemented by Obama. Yemen has teetered on the brink of anarchy for decades but even the fragile veneer of stability has been effectively knocked in the dirt under Obama. Jordan, like Yemen, has always been a potential powder keg and the policies of Obama have made a civil war there a very real possibility. The quick march towards possession of a nuclear weapon by Iran that Obama is intent on has guaranteed the Saudis will use some of their vast wealth to buy weapons from Pakistan if not develop their own. Turkey will be forced to follow suit.


And Josh Earnest is still lying.


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