Sunday, January 03, 2010

Yemen Al-Qaeda Threat Increases, Embassies Closed in Yemen

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Following surfacing reports that the Christmas Day Nigerian Terrorist was trained and advised by al-Qaeda in Yemen, as well as joint operations with the government targeting al-Qaeda, the United States and Great Britain have closed their embassies in Yemen.

The American Embassy was attacked twice in 2008, and now faces an active, ongoing al-Qaeda threat according to the White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan. The embassy is unclear on how long it will be closed.

Britain's Foreign Office said its embassy was closed for security reasons, but once again was not clear on the specifics of the threats, or how long their embassy will be closed.

An announcement that the two governments plan to create a new counterterrorism police unit in Yemen has also been provided.

The U.S. recently provided intelligence, firepower, and un-manned military assistance to Yemeni air and ground assaults on al-Qaeda recently, killing a number of suspected Islamic militants. U.S. officials deny that there are any ground forces or fighter aircraft in Yemen.

This is not Yemen's first appearance in the war with the Islamic Jihad. Yemen is considered the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, and is the site of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Past communist influence in the south, combined with a government that has been unable to fully unify the tribal regions, has opened up the desire for a change in governmental leadership among Yemen's tribal groups, and has encouraged the tribes to protect al-Qaeda groups hidden among the population. In addition to the ongoing battle against Al Qaeda fighters, Yemen is also facing two separate internal rebellions in the north and south.

Yemen's strategic location, including its border with Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer to the north, makes the small nation an important part of the war on terror, as well as a logical location for al-Qaeda to recompose themselves after defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

U.S., U.K. Embassies in Yemen Close Over Al Qaeda Threats - Fox News

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