- The "Double Agent." Evidently there was something "special" about the intelligence trail that caused the intercept of a bomb headed to the States from Yemen. The media are full of the story that a penetrant reached the heart of the operation and caused its failure. I am suspicious, 1-As he is described he would simply have been our agent or the Saudis', not a double agent. A double is someone who is "in play" for both sides. This man is described as being solely ours. But, the media are simpletons, so, what can one expect... 2- If this was actually a "leak" of the identity of an active penetrant, then great damage has been done to the US. Peter King has called for an investigation. If this story of the "leak" is true then he is correct in doing this. 3- On the other hand, perhaps some other element of intelligence work was the key to the success, and the story of the penetrant is "cover" to protect that source. King may be playing along with that. 4- Another possibility is that the "leak' is intended to inspire distrust among the jihadis.
We will never know the answer to this conundrum and we should not.
- Yemen remains the focus of anti-terrorist vision. Few seem to realize what the ethnography and politics of Yemen are like. AQAP is all Sunni. Yemeni Sunnis are generally Hanafi in terms of their placement in the Islamic array of Mathahib (schools of law). They are confined to the area south of Sana and east in what was British South Arabia and then the PDRY. Their Hanafi identity is an inherent problem for the Wahhabi AQAP. The British created a political entity in the area east of Aden in what was in fact a series of acts of inattention by London and local initiative by the authorities in tha Crown Colony of Aden. Aden wa a "coaling station" on the route to India. It was surrounded by a an incoherent jigsaw puzzle of Emirates, Sheikhdoms, Sultanates, tribal territories, etc. These little "countries" caused trouble across the border in Aden. Britain reached out and annexed or "protected" the nearest. Then, they discovered that what they had succeeded in achieving was a larger perimeter of local states outside the ones they had acquired. Inevitably, the process was repeated over and over again until the 1950s when a Labor government in the UK called a halt and withdrew. Present day Yemen remains a patchwork of sects and tribes and minor leaders, all of which have armed forces made up of warriors who have often served in the armed forces including many officers who on some occasion "went home." AQAP is led by Saudis and other non-Yemeni infiltrators who are trying to establish themselves in the patch of former south Yemen where there are enough disaffected Sunni tribesmen to generate support for them. At least half the people of Yemen are Zeidi Shia tribesmen organized into two large confederations of tribes, the Hashif and the Bakil. These Zeidi Shia are the real warriors in Yemen. They have nothing to do with Iran, nothing. They are conservative in their way of life and are religiously so close to the Sunni law schools that they are often described as a fifth school of Sunni law. They are Mu'tazila in their consensus on the nature of Islam. They hate and despize the Sunni Arabs around Aden. The idea that these Shia tribesmen will ever make peace with AQAP or allow them a foothold anywhere in Yemen is ludicrous. One other thing about them is that, like the Pushtun, they like war. So, keep up the pressure on the AQAP auslanders. The Zeidi tribesmen will always be with you in that fight.