ANOTHER BAD FORECAST FOR THE "ARAB SPRING" – AT 9:46 P.M. ET: We warned earlier in the day that President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron would be wise to keep their eyes open as they sing tributes to the "Arab spring." There have been major convulsions in Yemen, but the good guys may not be winning, and the end result may be worse than what's there now. From London's Telegraph:
Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of the worsening political turmoil in Yemen to smuggle weapons into the capital in preparation for an attack on Western targets.
The United States is on standby to evacuate its ambassador from Yemen amid fears of an imminent attack in violence plagued Sana'a, according to a western intelligence assessment.
Already viewed as the most powerful franchise in the global al Qaeda network, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula is said to have gained considerable strength over three months of political upheaval that have left Yemen's president of 32 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the brink.
At least 44 people have been killed in clashes between troops loyal to Mr Saleh and militiamen controlled by one of his most powerful tribal rivals, Sadiq al-Ahmar, in the past three days.
Amid growing international concern of an incipient civil war in Yemen, President Barack Obama used a press conference with David Cameron yesterday to urge Mr Saleh to abide by a pledge to leave office.
"We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power," Mr Obama said.
That's awfully nice Has our historically tone-deaf president considered the next step in Yemen's future, or is everything a matter of rhetoric? I think we know the answer.
"Yemen is standing on the edge of a precipice," a western source familiar with Yemen said. "The rule of law has almost totally collapsed and AQAP can manoeuvre with unimpeded and unprecedented freedom. The current risk is as high as it could be."
Senior US officials have already described AQAP as "the most significant threat to the US homeland" after it was linked to two attacks on domestic American targets, including an attempt by a would-be bomber to bring down an airline over Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009 with explosives concealed in his underpants.
COMMENT: If we can get the president to concentrate on real threats, rather than the 1967 borders of Israel, maybe we can develop a coherent policy in that part of the world.
We are now, by the way, permitting the Libyan opposition to open up an office in Washington, which is fine, and maybe even noble, if this bunch has been properly vetted by our intelligence services. Who are they? What are they for, not simply against? And who are they for? It's been obvious in recent days that Congress, including some Democrats, is growing restive over the mess that we call our Mideast policy. It's time for a change.
May 25, 2011