Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 27, 2009

THE FOCUS ON YEMEN.... The claims have not yet been independently corroborated, but Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who apparently tried to bring down an airplane over Michigan on Christmas, has told officials he "obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda."

The Yemeni connection was also apparently the thrust of a briefing given to key congressional lawmakers. One of them, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R) of Michigan, who tried to politicize the incident shortly after it occurred, used Twitter yesterday to suggest the Obama administration has paid insufficient attention to Yemen.

Given that Hoekstra is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, he probably should realize that the Obama administration is paying a great deal of attention to Yemen.

Yemeni forces, backed by the United States, launched a major attack Thursday on a meeting of senior al-Qaeda operatives thought to include the Yemeni American cleric linked to the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings, U.S. and Yemeni officials said. [...]

[T]he U.S. involvement in the strike in southeastern Yemen -- along with a similar strike in the country last week -- appears to reflect greater willingness by the Obama administration to use military force in confronting terrorists outside the traditional war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week's strike was seen at the time as the most significant example of the new approach, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the planning and execution of the attack.

The attack on al Qaeda in Yemen late last week -- personally approved by President Obama -- was executed with "intelligence and firepower" supplied by the United States, representing the widest offensive against Yemeni jihadists in years.

What's more, as Faiz Shakir noted, "[B]oth Obama and his homeland security adviser, John Brennan, have cited Yemen as a key concern.... Despite Hoekstra's desire to make a political issue of the terrorist attack, the evidence is clear that the terrorist threat emanating from Yemen has been a focal point for the Obama administration."

If the reaction from right-wing blogs is any indication, conservatives are already in full-tantrum mode. (Gold star to the reader who can identify a prominent far-right site demanding U.S. officials begin torturing Abdulmutallab.) But as Matt Yglesias explained, U.S. efforts are proceeding as they should: "Al-Qaeda's ideological support appears to be on the wane. The logistical capabilities displayed by things like this attempted airplane explosion are unimpressive. Military campaigns are underway against their hideouts in Yemen and Pakistan. Things are basically going fine."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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Comments

Malkin ? Ace o' Spades ?
Gold Star please ...

Posted by: FRP on December 27, 2009 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

The right wing in this country makes as much use of terrorism for its political ends as Bin Laden does.

Posted by: OXYMORON on December 27, 2009 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

in re " torturing Abdulmutallab": I understand that he "spilled the beans" while still at the airport. Couldn't shut the fella up.

I wonder how many of the Reich Wing Bloviators got their early training as schoolyard bullies. . .

And, parenthetically, his background is interesting. Apparently his father is a banker, he attended all the correct private schools, etc. Again, he reminds me of some of the Voices on the Right- Eton, Yale, daddy in Government/Wall Street, yada yada yada. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 27, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

No doubt we have a more sophisticated and lower profile approach than under Bush. But where is the pushback against fundamentalism within the Muslim community? Is the US pressuring the Saudis and others to give voice against the jihadis? Just shooting more fundamentalists is not the long-term solution.

Posted by: jb on December 27, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

We need to invade every Muslim country in the world simultaneously, and at the same time!

Posted by: Wingnut on December 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

But where is the pushback against fundamentalism within the Muslim community?

interesting you should say that, jb. On C-SPAN this morning that question was asked. The answer, apparently, is that the Moderate Muslim is cowed by their equivalent of our Teabaggers. At least we are not (yet) in fear for our lives. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 27, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, so I've got to ask (as the wingnuts will, once they've found their footing):

Did the US-assisted attack in Yemen trigger the terrorist attack on a US airliner? Did the Obama Administration actually provoke this?

How should the White House and Democrats answer this assertion?

Posted by: Zandru on December 27, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hoestra again. That guy is the same guy who blabbed top secret information about Nidal Hasan being caught on phone taps with the guy in Yemen that was bombed. The guy needs to be arrested or at the very least investigated and have his security clearance revoked. I have sent alot of emails to various congressmen on that committee, but heard nothing back. Why does this guy still have a job?

Posted by: Patrick on December 27, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hoestra again. That guy is the same guy who blabbed top secret information about Nidal Hasan being caught on phone taps with the guy in Yemen that was bombed. The guy needs to be arrested or at the very least investigated and have his security clearance revoked. I have sent alot of emails to various congressmen on that committee, but heard nothing back. Why does this guy still have a job?
Posted by: Patrick


good question. ask the voters of his district.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 27, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Is the US pressuring the Saudis and others to give voice against the jihadis?"

According to McClatchy, the Saudis and the U.S. are working together in Yemen. After all, it is in Saudi Arabia's interests to work with us on ridding Yemen of al Qaeda since Yemen and Saudi Arabia occupy territory on the same peninsula.

Posted by: majii on December 27, 2009 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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