The New York Times is reporting this morning that the chaos in Yemen has forced the Yemeni military to stand down in its counterterrorism efforts against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula–and that AQAP has stepped up its planning for another major attack. Two of the most recent Al Qaeda efforts–Undiebomber and the explosive-packed printer cartridges–were launched from Yemen. Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired the Fort Hood shooter, seems a leader of the terrorists there, who have been augmented by recent recruits from the failed salafist insurgency in Iraq and now, according to the Times, may be trickling in from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It seems to me that this is a more appropriate focus for US military attention than Libya. It may even be a more appropriate focus for US military attention than Afghanistan. (No, I’m not calling for an invasion–just…attention.) I hope to be proved wrong, but I continue to worry that the bright shiny object (Gaddafi) has diverted our attention from the tumor in the region.