Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Drone Strikes Are Winning War in Yemen -- for Al-Qaeda

From:  Bloomberg
COMMENT -  While drones are making great piles of money for such drone contractors as Green Hills Software and their Dream Team Management, the 'impact' of the technology is the best recruiting tool al-Qaeda (translate this as 'data-base) ever had.  

Dan (Drone Boy) O'Dowd stands guard over his money.
And article from The Guardian, "What is the origin of the name al-Qaida?," published The Arabic word qaida - ordinarily meaning "base" or "foundation" - is also used for "groundwork" and "basis". It is employed in the sense of a military or naval base, and for chemical formulae and geometry: the base of a pyramid, for example. Lane, the best Arab-English lexicon, gives these senses: foundation, basis of a house; the supporting columns or poles of a structure; the lower parts of clouds extending across a horizon; a universal or general rule or canon. With the coming of the computer age, it has gained the further meaning of "database": qaida ma'lumat (information base).Qaida itself comes from the root verb q-'-d : to sit down, remain, stay, abide. Many people appear to think al-Qaida's name emerged from some idea of a physical base - a command centre from where Bin Laden and other leaders could direct operations. "We've got to get back to al-Qaida on that one," it's possible to imagine a foot soldier saying. Bin Laden himself has spoken, post-September 11, of being in "a very safe place". There have also been stories that his father had a vernal estate called al-Qaida in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Could there be a sense in which the name of the organisation represents a notion of the eternal home in the consciousness of its fugitive leader?
On the surface, the most improbable explanation of the name is that Bin Laden was somehow inspired by a Russian-born writer who lived most of his life in the US and was once the world's most prolific sci-fi novelist (born in 1920 in Smolensk, Asimov died in New York in 1992). But the deeper you dig, the more plausible it seems that al-Qaida's founders may have borrowed some rhetoric from Foundation and its successors (it became a series) and possibly from other science fiction material."

Science fiction was a battle ground for decades between the work of Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, the conflict centering on the centrist, monolithic views of Asimov and the individualist, freedom-oriented vision of Heinlein.  

 Since al-Qaeda is known to have begun as a CIA-funded extension of the business plan for corporate domination, also known as Greedville, this makes perfect sense and also predicts the ultimate demise of the organization and its originators, in parallel with the outcome in the world of Science Fiction.  

Drones in Yemen
Photo: Bloomberg; Illustration by Bloomberg View

It was a contradiction that perfectly captured the essence of the U.S. drone war against Islamic terrorists: Just as we learned that strikes in Yemen had resumed after a three-month hiatus, a Yemeni journalist gave heart- rending congressional testimony about an attack that killed five in his village of Wessab.
“The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine,” Farea al-Muslimi told a Senate judiciary subcommittee on human rights last month. “The drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis.”
There are good reasons the U.S. has made Yemen a central front against jihadis: It was where the plot was hatched to blow up a U.S. jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009 and the base for the propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. citizen killed in a drone strike in 2011.
Unfortunately, the effort’s destabilizing effect has given that divided nation, long the poorest in the Arab world, the additional distinction of being the most likely to collapse. That would be both a tragedy for its citizens and a golden opportunity for al-Qaeda to establish a haven similar to Afghanistan in the 1990s.
So, what can the wealthy Persian Gulf states, the U.S. and its allies do to keep Yemen from failing?
For starters, they should rethink the National Dialogue Conference that began in March in Sana, Yemen’s capital. The goal was to avert outright secession by Yemen’s south, which was the independent, socialist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen before unification in 1990. The conference was foisted on the Yemenis by neighboring Saudi Arabia -- to whom the U.S. has outsourced the job of holding Yemen together -- and excluded too many parties from both south and north.
A poor stepchild to the favored north under the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the south would be ill- advised to secede. Given old tribal and regional grudges, the most likely result would be dissolution into a lawless and ungovernable mini-Afghanistan. The region would do better negotiating for increased autonomy and a fairer distribution of the country’s annual $7.6 billion in oil revenue. Given that 80 percent of oil reserves are in the south, they have a strong bargaining position.
The Saudis could do far more to facilitate a deal. In an effort to lower their own unemployment, they have enacted stricter caps on Yemeni guest workers, and have initiated a wave of deportations of foreign workers lacking proper papers. This puts a huge dent in the $4 billion or so that Yemeni workers remit to their families each year, without which Yemen’s economy would collapse.
Saudi Arabia has also made good on only about half of its $3.2 billion commitment to Yemen’s political transition, made in the feel-good days of the Arab Spring. Other Gulf Cooperation Council members, including Qatar and Kuwait, have been even more grudging.
Donor states claim, rightly, that corruption and political incompetence in Yemen threaten proper use of such funds. But political change will be slow and fitful; well-meaning donors should get off the high horse and either support the new government or find ways to funnel money to more deserving initiatives. 

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