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In Yemen the US is Fighting against Democracy, not against Al Qaeda

A pair of trousers catches fire in an aeroplane close to Detroit and missiles rain down on Yemen. Is this is what is called the butterfly effect? For Mohammed Hassan, the terrorist threat is only an excuse. In this latest chapter in our series "Understanding the Muslim world", our specialist explains what is really at stake in Yemen: i.e. undermining democracy in the Gulf in order to keep control over its oil.

Since the failed attack on the Amsterdam-Detroit flight, Yemen has hit the headlines. It's there that the young Nigerian terrorist is supposed to have trained. How could this country, an ally of the US, become of refuge for al-Qaeda?

First of all we must note this phenomenon which is repeating itself: every time that a regime backed by Washington is threatened, then terrorists appear on the scene. In the case of Muslim countries, it's al-Qaeda that gets the blame. This phantom terrorist group always pops up where nationalist or anti-imperialist movements give trouble to puppets supported by the US. That's what's happening now in Yemen. This country is ruled by a corrupt regime that is allied to Washington. But it is threatened by resistance movements.

And lo and behold there appears a young Nigerian who boards a plane destined for Detroit bearing explosives. This presumed terrorist had been placed on surveillance lists from the time his father had warned the US authorities. In addition, the US has at its disposal all the latest military technology. With its satellites it can tell whether you are eating a tuna or chicken sandwich! This terrorism tale is a hodge podge that shows that the situation in Yemen is getting out of hand as far as the US is concerned and that its interests are in danger.

Why has Yemen become so important for Washington?