Recent events in Yemen suggest a process that Noam Chomsky calls manufacturing consent. The consent is for increased U.S involvement in Yemen. The recent revelations about a spectacular plot to blow up an American airliner by AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula) in Yemen fit into this process.
The plot involved a double agent and cooperation among several intelligence agencies including Saudi Arabia, and the UK. Yemeni intelligence apparently was not in the loop. Perhaps there is some doubt about their reliability. The actual plot is as much a manufacture of western intelligence agencies as al-Qaida. In effect the double agent simply offered al-Qaida the opportunity to test out a revised bomb. It is not clear that there would be any plot without foreign intelligence at work. The result is renewed concentration on Yemen as a threat to the U.S. This threat can then justify other recent moves in Yemen. A drone attack targeted an alleged al-Qaida leader identified as part of the double agent's activity.
First, the drone campaign is being accelerated not only with more attacks but with an enlarged target base, including signature strikes based upon behavior. No doubt these strikes will occur more frequently in areas now controlled by Islamic militants. As part of the propaganda campaign there has been a constant conflation in the press of any militant Islamic group with AQAP or at least Al-Qaida. For example most of the territory taken over in Abyan province is under the control of Ansar Al-Sharia which is now said to be al-Qaida linked at the very least and other times simply identified with al-Qaida. The convenient conflation can then justify wider targeting and help Yemen retake territory.
Attacks upon local militant Islamic groups whose interests are in turn simply local will be a self fulfilling prophecy turning them into al-Qaida linked groups. The groups will become rabidly anti-American and become interested in attacking U.S. interests in revenge and they will ally themselves with al-Qaida.
Although claims are made that there are no boots on the ground in Yemen this applies only to conventional troops. There are already special forces in small numbers. The Pentagon has announced that it is sending military trainers to Yemen. The trainers will be involved in "routine" counterterrorism operations together with Yemeni security forces. The U.S. no doubt will be anxious to engage with militants who have taken control in a number of areas in Southern Yemen.
An American official said that the troops being sent will be working "" under more secretive arrangements than conventional U.S. troops and whose expertise includes training indigenous forces."" The public will not know what the troops are doing but they will know that they should be there because of the increasing threat, a threat that intelligence agencies themselves are helping to manufacture. The U.S. keeps a large naval presence also near Yemen including about 2,000 Marines and an amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima.
Navy Capt. John Kirby said:We have begun to reintroduce small numbers of trainers into Yemen,” Obama also has reintroduced military aid in March to help the new U.S. supported president Hadi who ran unopposed. He was former vice president under Saleh. The old guard continues! As usual Obama is conducting the new type of shadow warfare without discussion in congress.