US Coalition Cooperates With Al-Qaeda In Yemen, Associated Press Confirms

Perhaps we could simply shrug our shoulders and say it's better late than never for the mainstream media. 

A new Associated Press report confirms what was long ago detailed by a number of independent investigative journalists, and even in some instances buried deep within sporadic mainstream reports of past years: the US-coalition in Yemen is actually cooperating with al-Qaeda terrorists in the campaign to dislodge Shia Houthi militants.

The AP report begins dramatically as follows:

Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.

Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.

That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.

Image source: Al-Masdar News

And contrary to the normative response of US officials to such allegations, which as in the case of US support to jihadists in Syria typically runs something like "we didn't know" while hiding behind a system of 'plausible deniability'  in the case of Yemen officials involved have now admitted to the AP that coalition allies knowingly allowed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to survive and flourish. 

Somewhat surprising for the AP, its report underscores this with zero ambiguity, even illustrating for the reader the terrorists' linkage to 9/11:

These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day — and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.

Similar to the US role in Syria, American officials are now apparently quite comfortable admitting they are willing to utilize designated terrorist groups ultimately as a weapon against pro-Iran interests.

Whereas previously the Pentagon and White House (going all the way back through the Obama and Bush administrations) claimed its ongoing 'war on terror' operations in Yemen were solely to destroy AQAP, its double game has clearly consisted in creating a smokescreen of 'anti-terror' propaganda for public consumption (to justify the over decade long US presence in the Arabian peninsula) while secretly allowing AQ and Saudi and UAE partners to do Washington's dirty work. 

The AP report breaks down the reality of the US role in Yemen as follows:

In one conflict, the U.S. is working with its Arab allies — particularly the United Arab Emirates — with the aim of eliminating the branch of extremists known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. But the larger mission is to win the civil war against the Houthis, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. And in that fight, al-Qaida militants are effectively on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition — and, by extension, the United States.

Counter-terror specialist and Middle East analyst Michael Horton points out further, “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.”

Horton is quoted by the AP as bluntly stating current US policy: “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,” adding that the idea that the coalition fights AQAP "is a farce".