The Obama Administration insists that Yemen still counts as a counter-terrorism success.
How do we measure success or failure in our counterterrorism operations?
We don’t know that U.S. drone strikes and other activities made Yemen more politically unstable or merely failed to save the contry. But in order to be able to claim that the Administration’s campaigns there have been successful, the Administration needs to be able to demonstrate to us that they at least understand the situation in Yemen.
Does this description from CNS News show us an Administration that knew what they were doing in the Middle East?
Saudi Arabia announced that a coalition of Sunni states had launched a military offensive targeting Houthi militia as well as al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists in Yemen, at the request of ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
The White House said the U.S. was providing “logistical and intelligence support,” but not taking direct military action as part of the operation.
This seems to have caught the White House by surprise. How are we supposed to trust that they know what they are doing in the Middle East when they plainly don’t know what is going to happen in the Middle East?
CNS News also explains the line of questioning in the video of the press conference above:
Laying out his plan to tackle ISIS in Syria and Iraq last September, Obama said it would involve attacks from the air, and actions by partner forces on the ground, and cited Yemen and Somalia as conflict zones where the strategy has been used successfully.
“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,” he said at the time.
But Hadi, Washington’s partner in carrying out that strategy in Yemen, resigned under duress in January, after Houthi militia seized the presidential palace in Sana’a. In February he fled to a presidential compound in Aden in the south, where this week he fled for a second time, this time to an undisclosed location, as Houthi forces advanced.
After evacuating the U.S. Embassy in February, last weekend the State Department announced the U.S. was withdrawing all remaining personnel from Yemen, but said the U.S. would “continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have capabilities postured in the area to address them.”
So the Administration is in official denial that what just happened in Yemen is that America got defeated. Hopefully the defeat is temporary, but the White House’s “strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us while supporting our partners on the front lines” has obviously failed.