Opinion piece on the White House’s clumsy meddling in Yemen that will inevitably worsen the conflict, benefitting al-Qaeda.
First published in Middle East Eye on 14 February 2017:
US counter-terrorism operations in Yemen are not new. Neither are foreign interventions, like the disastrous ones that thrived under Obama, whose administration managed to keep the body count from his drone strikes as opaque as possible.
In Yemen, these operations are taking place amid a fully fledged civil war, one searing slightly beneath the mainstream media’s radar. The UN occasionally reminds us of the death count, which has remained at 10,000 since August 2016.
Access and lack of media freedom has severely disrupted reporting on the conflict, which has escalated since a Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to restore President Abd Rabbuh Hadi, removed when Houthi rebels took over the capital, Sanaa.
But Trump’s approach has so far been bullish – so bullish, in fact, it made one Yemeni tribal leader wonder if the new president had been watching a lot of Steven Seagal movies.