War against terror widens to Yemen
A covert front opens againstAl Qaeda in Yemen, even as the US continues its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says the New York Times. As long ago as last January, the Central Intelligence Agency sent top field operatives to Yemen to train in counter-terrorism strategic protocol, officials from the CIA have asserted.
After the Nigerian arrested in the attempted detonation of explosives in Delta Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, President Barack Obama's complicated and tenuous relationship with Yemen have become more complex.
Special forces from the Pentagon will spend as much as 70 million federal dollars in an attempt to bring the region of Yemen into the war against terror.
American investigators are still attempting to cooberate claims of the 23 year old Nigerian that he was acting on orders from al Queida operatives when he attempted to ignite the explosives on Christmas day.
The fact that Yemen’s government welcomed returning Islamist fighters who had fought in Afghanistan during the 1980s has turned the region into a quasi-refuge for Jihad. Yemen's Port of Aden was the site of the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in October 2000 by Al-Qaeda militants, which killed 17 sailors.
But Qaeda militants have made much more focused efforts to build a base in Yemen in recent years, drawing recruits from throughout the region and mounting attacks more frequently on foreign embassies and other targets. The White House is seeking to nurture enduring ties with the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and prod him to combat the local Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, even as his impoverished country grapples with seemingly intractable internal turmoil.
With fears also growing of a resurgent Islamist extremism in nearby Somalia and East Africa, administration officials and American lawmakers said Yemen could become Al Qaeda’s next operational and training hub, rivaling the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan where the organization’s top leaders operate.
“Yemen now becomes one of the centers of that fight,” said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who visited the country in August. “We have a growing presence there, and we have to, of Special Operations, Green Berets, intelligence,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
American and Yemeni officials said that a pivotal point in the relationship was reached in late summer after separate secret visits to Yemen by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American regional commander, and John O. Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser.
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