From the US perspective, Yemen is the center of gravity in their battle to subdue Al Qaeda-linked jihadist cells that plan to attack the US. There is a kernel of truth to the claim. For example, the so-called “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, began his December 2009 mission in Yemen. Printer cartridges equipped with bombs were sent in 2010 from Yemen. And the US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a CIA drone last September, actively counseled many jihadists there. But the long-term futility of US counterterrorism operations in Yemen was underscored on May 21 when a suicide bombing killed hundreds in Sana, the 2,500 year old capital, “stunning the country’s beleaguered government and delivering a stark setback to the American counterterrorism campaign,” according to the New York Times.