April 7, 2010

Al-Qa'idah in the Arabian Peninsula feeling the heat?

AQAP leader Anwar al-'Awlaqi (left)

According to a Yemeni newspaper, Al-Qa'idah in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has moved its military operations from Yemen to Somalia, at least temporarily. If true, this indicates that the recent Yemeni crackdown - with American intelligence and occasionally weapons support - has been effective. If true, this represents a victory in the American war on terrorism, or the "overseas contingency operation" against "man-caused disasters, or whatever the Obama crowd is calling it these days.

This success is in stark contrast to the Obama policy of continuing to pour American combat forces into Afghanistan to, as he put it only 10 days ago, "to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al-Qa'idah...." As I have consistently reminded the President, al-Qa'idah has virtually quit Afghanistan, they are under great pressure in Pakistan (thanks to the Obama drone-attack policy), they have largely been defeated in Iraq despite increased violence there, and they have been almost eliminated in Saudi Arabia. The remnants had gathered in Yemen, then combined with the survivors from the Saudi crackdown to form AQAP. Now it would appear that they have had to take refuge in probably one of the last remaining lawless sanctuaries - Somalia.

There are indications that the United States is working with the weak Somali government to assist them in confronting the increased threat from al-Qa'idah. Again, if true, this is a good step. This is how we should be conducting the war against al-Qa'idah - hunt them down and kill them wherever they are. As I have said, it is not in Afghanistan.

Let's hope the Yemeni press account is true. Al-Qa'idah on the run is a good thing. More American troops in Afghanistan - especially given Afghan President Hamid Karzai's latest remarks - is not.