While the US and our allies have launched a military campaign against Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Obama administration has kept relatively quiet about the brutal and deadly repression Yemeni protesters currently face at the hands of their US-backed president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. In this Nation Conversation with executive editor Betsy Reed, Jeremy Scahill explains that the sharp contrast between the administration’s responses to the two dictators has had everything to do with the US’s vested interest in Saleh maintaining his strong grip on power.
The US has been funneling money to Saleh for years so that our military could carry out covert operations in the country, especially against the group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). But that strategy could become a liability if a new government forms in Yemen: “The Obama administration’s response to AQAP has been to go after them with a hammer when what probably was called for was more of a scalpel approach,” Scahill says, “and I think they’re making them more powerful than they should be.”
Read Scahill’s article in this week’s issue of The Nation, “The Dangerous US Game in Yemen,” for more on the US’s role in Yemen, and visit the Nation Conversations page for more podcasts from Nation writers and contributors.