Money and Military
Over the past few days I have exchanged a number of messages with a Yemeni friend about the upcoming London conference – I don’t have permission to post his comments, and so I won’t – but I can, I think, represent them fairly as follows:
“More money and more military aid to Yemen will not solve the problem of al-Qaeda in Yemen.”
Now from time to time I disagree with this particular individual on things within Yemen, but when I do I carefully check my own opinions as he is a generally astute observer. He rightly points out that it was not all that long ago that the Yemeni government inked a rather large military deal with Russia and that an influx of arms and equipment did little for the country expect, perhaps, exacerbate the al-Huthi conflict.
Additionally, I think there are concerns about the idea of a new counter-terror police unit formed with backing from the US and the UK. This was tried with the NSB in 2002 and the results have not been, shall we say, impressive.
Chief among these concerns for many individuals in Yemen is what guarantees there would be – if any – that such units would only be used against al-Qaeda as opposed to some other group that the Yemeni government labels describes as “terrorists.”