Washington: Several security experts have urged the Yemeni government to diversify its approach in the US-aided fight against al Qaeda or face the backlash.
The experts have cautioned that unless Yemen takes an approach similar to one used by neighbour Saudi Arabia, increased military action as well as overt cooperation with America may ultimately backfire.
They also claim that though Saudi forces are better funded and have been receiving foreign training since the early 1970s, the country’s ability to dispel the militants stemmed from launching a variety of initiatives, something that Yemen has failed to do.
“The whole point is they’ve (Saudi Arabia) done many things and [it’s] precisely the diversity that partly explains the success. They’ve not relied exclusively on force,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted Thomas Hegghammer, research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in Oslo, as saying.
Hegghammer pointed out that the Saudis had used propaganda campaigns, constrained the financial resources of militants, limited their ability to acquire weapons, and offered militants amnesty to encourage desertion from al Qaeda.
“In Saudi Arabia, the violence subsided to the level of zero, one, or two [operations] per year after 2006 and the organisation didn’t produce any more propaganda,” he added.
The recent attempted assassination of the British Ambassador to Yemen, and a purported video of the Christmas Day bomber training with al Qaeda’s branch here, has further underlined the need for a strong counter-terrorism strategy.