Gulf in the News – June 20, 2012

The Ghalib al-Zayadi Problem

Source: Gregory Johnsen, Waq al Waq (Read full story)

Over the past few years as I’ve thought about al-Qaeda, Yemen and US policy I have returned time and time again to what I have termed “the Ghalib al-Zayadi problem.”

Basically, this is the idea that just because someone in Yemen has a beard, carries a gun and talks about Islamic law doesn’t mean that he is a member of al-Qaeda.

Yemen officials: 6 al-Qaida fighters and 3 soldiers killed in fighting around southern town

Source: Washington Post (Read full story)

In another recently recaptured town, Zinjibar, demining teams spotted an Egyptian militant but he killed himself with a hand grenade before being arrested. Officials said they also found the bodies of seven militants, including three Egyptians, killed in earlier fighting.

Three civilians were killed Tuesday in Zinjibar by landmines planted by the militants, the officials said. The town is the provincial capital of Abyan province.

How drones help Al Qaeda

Source: Ibrahim Mothana, The New York Times (Read full story)

“DEAR OBAMA, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda,” a Yemeni lawyer warned on Twitter last month. President Obama should keep this message in mind before ordering more drone strikes like Wednesday’s, which local officials saykilled 27 people, or the May 15 strike that killed at least eight Yemeni civilians.

Let’s Admit It: The US Is at War in Yemen, Too

Source:  Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman, Danger Room (Read full story)

For all of that firepower, there’s something rather obvious missing: a sense of how and why we’re fighting there. Yes, terrorists based there have tried to attack Americans — tried and repeatedly failed. And yes, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress right after 9/11, gives the militarywide latitude to chase al-Qaida adherents around the globe. But there’s no articulated rationale for whythese unsuccessful militants in Yemen warrant this particular military response. No sense of what victory looks like.

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