Embassy Closure Farce Ends Except in Yemen

by | Aug 13, 2013


Sana’a is a dangerous place, as is all of Yemen. It was dangerous 30 years ago when I was the military attache there and it still is. The government’s area of control never extends far outside the cities and the tribal warfare endemic to the country often comes to town. When that situation is complicated by the presence of a small but active Sunni jihadi group (AQAP) it is understandable that the Sana’a embassy should be closed. Perhaps they should close it permanently. That embassy is an incident waiting to happen.

Nevertheless, the re-opening of all these facilities illustrates the hollowness of the hysterical reaction of the Obama administration in closing them. Zawahiri sent a message to the AQAP leader exhorting him to action? So what?

Shakespeare has Glendower say that he could summon spirits from the vasty deep, to which Hotspur responds, “but will they come?” The same applies to Zawahiri. He is hiding somewhere in Pakistan. AQAP is far from Pakistan. This message was the basis for closing all these facilities? I think not. Either the government had better information that it does not want to admit to or the whole thing was a hysterical reaction to marginal intelligence complicated by a desire to justify NSA surveillance programs.

I vote for hysterical reaction.

Reprinted with permission.


  • Col. W. Patrick Lang

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years.

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