Obama’s bloody Yemen disaster
by Michelle Malkin
When President Obama declares something a “success story,” you know it has “TOTAL FAILURE” embedded in its DNA.
Four months ago, America’s King Midas in Reverse crowed about the fruits of his triumphant foreign policy in jihad-infested Yemen. A “light footprint” approach to counterterrorism operations, he claimed, was the most effective path to stability. In addition, Obama has shoveled nearly $1 billion in American tax-subsidized foreign aid to Yemen.
Four months later, Iran-backed Shia rebels seized a Yemeni presidential palace. The president and his entire cabinet tendered their resignations on Thursday, creating a vacuum that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is ready and eager to fill. ISIS is gaining its own Sunni foothold in the Muslim terror-breeding ground. And while the JV team at the State Department dithers with hashtag games and selfies, adults at the Pentagon want to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel and other Americans before it’s too late.
[1/24 update: “The Obama administration has been forced to suspend certain counterterrorism operations with Yemen in the aftermath of the collapse of its government, according to U.S. officials, a move that eases pressure on al-Qaida’s most dangerous franchise.”]
It would be bad enough if the current crisis were merely the result of incompetence and negligence. But Obama’s disastrous Yemen policy reflects his radical leftwing administration’s deep-rooted ideological sympathies for our enemies.
This is, after all, the man who wrote immediately after 9/11 that the well-funded and highly educated murderous hijackers’ hatred grew “out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” Obama’s pussyfoot strategy against jihadists was a direct rebuke to the supposed “cowboy” approach of George W. Bush, whom progressives blame for radicalizing poor, oppressed Yemenis. President Huggy Bear won a Nobel Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” and outreach to the Muslim world.
But what the kumbaya crowd refused to acknowledge is this: The Yemen-based jihadist network, like the worldwide Islamic terror movement, has been at war with us for years — long before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, long before 9/11, long before the global onset of Bush Derangement Syndrome. This coming October, America will mark the 15th anniversary of the U.S.S. Cole bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden, which took the lives of 17 American crewmembers.
In February 2009, Obama met with Cole families and promised them justice. Then, he betrayed them by ordering the Justice Department to abandon the death penalty case assembled against al-Qaida mastermind and chief Cole bombing suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri under the Bush administration. Only after a public uproar did Obama reinstate the charges. He’s dragged his feet on the trial ever since, but found the time to release five Yemeni Gitmo detainees just last week. Another half-dozen went home at the end of last year. And until this week, Obama had planned to fly another 47 back to their volatile homeland.
All this despite five years of r evolving-door Gitmo recidivist activities in Yemen — and with knowledge of Yemen’s terror training of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the jihadist who attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009.
The Yemen chaos didn’t happen overnight. The White House has allowed jihad to fester there from Day One. Reminder: In late January 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen came under gunfire. American diplomatic staff had been warned of a pending attack. That same month, two former Yemeni Gitmo detainees, Said Ali al-Shihri and Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, released a video publicly recommitting to “aid the religion,” “establish the rightly guided caliphate” and “fight against our enemies” after undergoing terrorism “rehab” in Saudi Arabia.
Why has Obama so wantonly aided and abetted our enemies? Appeasement of the international human rights crowd and agreement with the soft-on-jihad lawyers infesting his own Justice Department. As I’ve reported previously, Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm, Covington and Burling, provided dozens of dangerous Yemeni Gitmo detainees pro bono legal representation and sob-story media relations campaigns. At least nine Obama DOJ appointees represented or advocated for Gitmo denizens before taking positions in our government.
By words and action, the Obama White House has demonstrated that its primary allegiance lies not with protecting Americans, but with coddling jihadists (with a drone killing tossed in here and there, of course, to ward off critics and maintain political viability). If the Obama administration exerted as much energy combating Yemeni jihadists as it did waging war on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the Yemen capital might still be standing.
Conveniently, the political football-spiking White House left any mention of Yemen out of the State of the Union address. This is Obama’s own version of DeflateGate. Pfffffffffft.