Tags: Al-Qaida | Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | MidPoint | War on Terrorism

Newsmax Panel: Obama Strategy Failed Miserably in Yemen

By    |   Monday, 23 Mar 2015 05:05 PM

Since the United States decided to pull what was left of its troops in Yemen, Major Gen. Paul Vallely says it seems the Obama administration is either clueless or deceptive about the strength of the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

"Our CIA under [Director] John Brennan, [Senior Adviser] Valerie Jarrett, [National Security Adviser] Susan Rice, they seem to be clueless about what actually is going on or they're following their deceptive agenda to keep the information and the truth from the American people as they continue down the road to lower the power of the United States around the world," Vallely told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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"Therefore, we sit in a situation where we have no credibility or respect," he contends.

However, "the reality speaks for itself over there. Everybody that's over there, including [Egypt's President] Gen. al-Sisi and others, [Jordan's] King Abdullah, they see the reality of what's happening over there," he added.

The Obama administration decided to evacuate what was left of U.S. personnel on Saturday because of growing unrest in the country that is seen likely heading for a civil war. This comes after the U.S. embassy in Sanaa was evacuated in February.

Katherine Zimmerman, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and expert on Yemen and al-Qaida, joined Vallely on Newsmax TV and said that "the first step is admitting that our strategy has failed in Yemen."

Yemen has been a strategic ally of the United States in the Middle East in the battle against al-Qaida, and the U.S. military has been allowed to use Yemeni territory to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State.

This is why, Zimmerman explained, losing the ability to do that in Yemen is "a big deal."

"We are losing our ability to conduct airstrikes, and that's a key component of the Obama administration's strategy," she explained.

"We have lost the ability to be able to conduct the type of intelligence that we need to understand the threat coming out of Yemen, and today we're seeing the Islamic State appearing in Yemen, which is a fundamental shift, and it's not just like Iraq and Syria," she said.

"This is a country that is very different contextually that could walk down the Iraq and Syria route, which would be very concerning for the United States."

ISIS claimed to have carried out two attacks in Yemen on Friday, when suicide bombers entered two mosques that Shiite Huthi militia members attend, killing 142 and wounding 351.

At this point, ISIS does not have a very strong presence in Yemen, Zimmerman explained, but "the attacks on Friday were the signal that ISIS has arrived in Yemen."

She predicts that if the ISIS presence grows there, it could lead to ISIS and al-Qaida, which "has had a long-term sanctuary in the country," to start "competing against each other to see who packs the biggest punch."

While the AEI fellow doesn't expect the apology she thinks is deserved for how much the Obama administration's policy in the region has failed, she does "expect to see a fundamental shift in policy because it seems like a joke to continue to pursue a strategy that has clearly failed."

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Since the United States decided to pull what was left of its troops in Yemen, Major Gen. Paul Vallely says it seems the Obama administration is either clueless or deceptive about the strength of the U.S. presence in the Middle East.
Paul Vallely, strategy, failure, Yemen
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2015-05-23
Monday, 23 Mar 2015 05:05 PM
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