The Saudi-UAE-led coalition has recruited hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters to combat the Ansar Allah movement (also known as the Houthis) in Yemen, according to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP).
“Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.
Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot,” the AP’s article says.
According to the AP, the coalition “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash.” The invetsigation emphasized that “hundreds” al-Qaeda members “were recruited to join the coalition itself.”
Furthermore, the US was aware of these deals with al-Qaeda and held off on any drone strikes, accorsing to the AP.
“Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that,” the AP quotes Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a US analysis group that tracks terrorism. “However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen.”
The AP investigation once again revelaed an open secret about the US policy in the Middle East. On the one hand, Washington is declaring that its aim to combat the terrorism and to provide stability to the region. On the other hand, the US is aiding terrorist groups in order to pursue own geopolitical goals thus destabilizing the region.