There is always a thin line between seeking to be careful as to which suspected al-Qaida followers are put in jail and trusting them to embark on a new road of peace. The Yemen government has decided to rely on the word of honor of 170 al-Qaida suspects as well as pledges from local tribal chieftains that the men will behave themselves and cease working with terrorist organizations. The announcement came weeks after al-Qaida openly said its goal was to establish a base in Yemen which is open to such endeavors due to a weak armed force and terrain that favors guerrilla activities. The Yemen strategy is to enlist local authorities to control young men who are bent on terror to end such behavior.
For those of us not part of Yemen society, we can only wonder if such an approach will work. There is considerable merit in attempting to enlist local chieftains in the effort to reform terrorists. Frankly, this approach makes as much sense as the American belief that torturing men will turn them against supporting terrorism.