Show me the money
This morning Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman have a thought-provoking piece on US military involvement - yes, lets call it a war - in Yemen.
At the end of their piece the pair ask some thought-provoking questions. Basically: how does the US know when to stop bombing Yemen?
Here is their last paragraph:
"If this war is worth waging, it’s worth waging openly. And it’s worth having a strategy with a clearly defined, achievable goal. Does anyone know what that is in Yemen? Is it the end of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula? The containment of AQAP? A functional Yemeni government that can fight AQAP without U.S. aid? We’ve gotten so used to fighting in the shadows for so long, we barely even ask our leadership what victory looks like."
The entire piece is well-worth your time today, but what I want to focus on is the central thrust of Shachtman and Ackerman's article and that is: "Outside of the classified arena, there’s little sense of what our Yemen operations cost, nor of what the costs would be if they were discontinued."
It is, I believe, both good and fair question to ask what these almost constant airstrikes are costing.
And it reminded me of something I wanted to highlight from Christopher Swift's interesting interview on his recent trip to Yemen.
"Al Qaeda fighters who are recruited are paid. And I have this from multiple sources, all of whom would be more than happy to sell one another up the river because they disagree with each other politically. They say that they get a car, rifle and $400 per month."
This is fascinating and the first time I've heard a hard number - and a surprisingly high one at that - being thrown about. It also raises some very interesting questions. Such as where is AQAP getting this money?
If we take Swift's estimate of 400 to 600 fighters in Abyan that is $160,000 to $240,000 a month just in salary expenditures. That seems incredibly hight to me, particularly for a group that had borrow half of the $5,000 it cost to carry out the Christmas Day 2009 underwear bomb attempt.
If we take Brennan's estimate of 1,000 fighters across the country, this monthly expenditure balloons to $400,000.
There are I think two separate questions here. 1. Are these figures accurate? 2. Where is AQAP getting what money it does have?
On the first, as I suggested above, 400 a month seems high, but I have no real way to confirm that.
On the second, it is clear that AQAP has more money now than it had in 2009, 2010 or 2011, some of which has likely come from bank truck robberies, ransoms on kidnap victims, loot and cash taken from the Yemeni military as well as fundraising outside of Yemen.
But how much money do these various streams produce? And, are other sources of income that AQAP has at the moment?
In the end, we are, as usual, left with more questions than answers. When it comes to money it is far from clear how both the US and AQAP are funding this war.
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Blackstone's Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Private Wealth Solutions Group, gave a speech laying out the wisdom he learned during his 80 years. Here are 15 of Wien's best life lessons, which teach us about improving our productivity, sleep, burnout avoidance, and everything in between.
According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.
Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.
By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:
Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.
Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.
McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.
It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.
But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.
Read more at LinkedIn.
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