The Obama administration's military escalation in Yemen, where an Al Qaeda affiliate has become more dangerous, needs careful watching by Congress. Otherwise Yemen, like Afghanistan, might become an American quagmire.
The long struggle against Al Qaeda since the 9/11 attacks has taken many twists and turns. Now it has even led to the forced evacuation of an entire city of 80,000 people – in Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden.
The evacuation took place last week when the Yemeni military laid siege to the southern city of Loder in order to flush out a group called Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which may have 300 to 500 fighters.
The battle, which left dozens killed on both sides, is the latest escalation of a joint effort by the Obama administration and the Yemeni government to rid the country of this dangerous affiliate of Mr. bin Laden’s core group in Pakistan.
The threat of AQAP to both Yemen and the West has grown over the past three years as Al Qaeda has suffered setbacks in Pakistan. The group trained the Nigerian suspect in the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas Day. And it includes the American-Yemeni radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who communicated with Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and may be training many American-born Muslims for jihad.