Like Saddam Hussein, Ali Abdullah Saleh is an autocrat with a fair amount of blood on his hands, perched atop a decades-old security-oriented regime.
This regime does some things well, such as managing a personality cult, but it’s much less proficient at other tasks, such as running the country’s tribal and regional politics and generating stability.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stood with Saleh and the US is now getting heavily involved, providing the regime with missiles, sending unmanned drones to bomb areas affected by the Houthi rebellion, and dispatching covert military teams to join Yemen’s Army in pursuing threats to stability, under the rubric of the “war on terror” policy.
And like Saddam, Saleh deals with a large part of his country as if it’s the enemy. Iraq’s Kurds suffered atrocities in the weapons during the Saddam era, while the southerners of Yemen have also been treated horribly by the Saleh regime, and we’ve heard calls for secession from the central government in both countries. ...
UPDATE: Bill Roggio at Long War Journal has this on Yemen and Al-Qaeda:
As the US has stepped up cooperation with Yemen in targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known terrorists wanted by the US government continue to operate in the open while the Yemeni government looks the other way.
The US has stepped up military and intelligence support with the weak Yemeni government and President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past several months as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has grown more bold. The terror group has been plotting to target the Yemeni state as well as US and other foreign targets inside and outside Yemen, according to US intelligence officials.
The US deployed special operations forces to Yemen in the fall to work with the country's army and security serves to root out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The terror group has opened large training camps in Sana'a, Abyan, and Shabwa provinces over the past year.
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/12/yemen_permits_wanted.php#ixzz0b8CtxvPx
UPDATE: CNN reports
The U.S. and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets in Yemen for a potential retaliation strike, two senior U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday, in the aftermath of the botched Christmas Day attack on an airliner that al Qaeda in Yemen claims it organized.
The officials asked not to be not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information. ...
David Savage at the L.A. Times:
Yemen's emergence as a center for Al Qaeda activity has added another complication to the Obama administration's plan to close the U.S. military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Yemenis make up the largest bloc of the remaining detainees. This month, six men from that country were sent home, and their lawyers expected that up to 40 more could soon be released from Guantanamo.
Now that an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen has claimed to be behind the attempted bombing of an airline flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, however, the lawyers fear the administration will block further releases. ...
Dreams Into Lightning notes that that would just break our heart.