What Missiles Can't Solve

Gregory Johnsen comes out against drone strikes in Yemen. He doesn't think there's a purely military solution to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP):

The model for defeating AQAP should come not from Pakistan but rather from Saudi Arabia. From 2003 – 2006 Saudi Arabia waged a multi-faceted war against another branch of the terrorist organization, also calling itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

That campaign combined the hard fist of military and police power with the softer approach of encouraging qualified Islamic scholars to challenge al-Qaeda’s claim that it represented Islam. But most importantly it used al-Qaeda’s mistakes against itself, leading to a public backlash that left the terrorist organization nowhere to hide. This new branch of AQAP in Yemen has to be exposed in the same way. Before any military action can succeed, the group will have to be delegitimized in the eyes of the Yemeni public.