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posted on 25 Nov 09
With the embassies closing, I'd say something big is about to happen
Bri tain sends counter-terrorist forces to Yemen
Britain has dispatched a special counter-terrorist unit to Yemen as the mountainous Arab state emerges as the new frontline in the war against al-Qaeda, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
The force is training Yemeni military and will assist in planning operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group which claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attack on a US airliner.
The disclosure comes as Western security analysts warn that the failed underwear bomb plot will serve as a test run for future overseas attacks by an increasingly sophisticated outfit still honing its terror techniques.
Obama's War on Yemen
What's at stake? At most, Yemen has four billion proved barrels of oil reserves and modest amounts of natural gas, hardly a reason for war. More important is its strategic location near the Horn of Africa on Saudi Arabia's southern border, the Red Sea, its Bab el- Mandeb strait (a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea through which three million barrels of oil pass daily), and the Gulf of Aden connection to the Indian Ocean.
Tarpley believes Washington is:
"play(ing) Iran against Saudi Arabia so as to weaken both the pro-Moscow Ahmadinejad government in Iran, and also those Saudi forces that are fed up with their status as a US protectorate. The US is openly now sponsoring a regroupment of Al Qaeda in Yemen, including by sending fighters direct from Guantanamo. The new CIA-promoted synthetic entity is Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsule (AQAP), a gaggle of US patsies, dupes, and fanatics which is claiming credit for the (Abdulmutallab) incident."
Washington's usual tactics are at work:
create a false flag incident;
heighten fear through the complicit media;
ride to the rescue with popular support;
keep oil prices high;
boost market opportunities for security equipment manufacturers;
weaken civil liberties through new police state measures;
erode Iranian and Russian influence; and
gain greater control over the region's southern portion, the entire Middle East and all of Eurasia.
Increased US-Saudi attacks and military aid are part of the effort - up from $4.6 million in FY 2006 to $67 million in FY 2009, and according to the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed senior Pentagon official, to as much as $190 million in FY 2010. Included also are unknown black budget amounts, greater numbers of US Special Forces on the ground for training and covert death squad activities, and stepped up air attacks.
Whitman explained that Yemen is now America's second largest recipient of overt counterterrorism aid, after Pakistan, a sign of the area's importance to Washington. US Special Forces operated there in 2002, and according to The New York Times, the CIA sent in many counterterrorism operatives in 2008 along with other US forces for overt and covert purposes.
Reports in the US and foreign media suggest larger scale US-backed Yemeni attacks are imminent, and according to CNN, citing two unnamed senior US officials:
"The US and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets for a potential retaliation strike. The effort is to see whether targets can be specifically linked to the airline incident and its planning....the agreement would allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets or unmanned armed drones against targets in Yemen with the consent of that government," that's, of course, gotten and will proceed with or without it.
Inflammatory US media reports and commentaries now promote war by portraying Yemen as a hotbed of terrorism, citing ubiquitous Al Qaeda forces creating chaos throughout the country, and saying unless America acts, conditions will worsen and spread.
It appears Yemen's government doesn't think it was necessary to close the U.S. and other Western embassies over a terror threat.
The U.S. Embassy reopened today after a two-day closure. The embassy says successful Yemeni counterterrorism operations have allowed the embassy to resume operations.
But the Yemeni Interior Ministry issued its own statement saying the security situation in the capital had always been under control.
The British embassy also reopened, without consular and visa services. The French and Czech embassies are operating, but are closed to the public. The Spanish and German embassies are restricting the number of visitors.
The ministry says "there is nothing to fear from any threats of terror attack."
Yemeni officials, fearing backlash, play down partnership with U.S.
As the United States ramps up its counterterrorism role here, senior Yemeni officials are publicly playing down the partnership, fearing that the government could pay a heavy political price for aligning with the United States and appearing too weak to control al-Qaeda on its own.
The head of Yemen's national security agency declared over the weekend that the threat posed by al-Qaeda had been exaggerated and that Yemen is not a haven for militants, the state news agency Saba reported. The comments by Ali Muhammad al-Anisi came a day after Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, promised increased U.S. support for Yemen on a visit here....
In a sign of continuing friction over the al-Qaeda threat, the Interior Ministry suggested Tuesday that the embassies had overreacted. "Security precautions for embassies are at a high standard," Saba quoted a ministry official as saying. "The Ministry of Interior emphasizes that all embassies, diplomatic missions and foreign companies are fully secured and there is nothing to be worried about. . . . There is no fear for the life of any foreigner or any foreign embassy in the country."
While playing down the U.S. role in Yemen seems designed to prevent a domestic backlash, it also raises questions about the government's long-term commitment and will to fight al-Qaeda in the wake of the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, analysts say. Yemen's fragile government is in a delicate balancing act between its allegiance to the United States and tribal, political and religious forces that resent U.S. interference in Yemen and sympathize with al-Qaeda's ideology.
"The government has to care for its own survival, and its survival depends on powerful tribal and social groups," said Abdullah al-Faqih, a political science professor at Sanaa University. "And some of these groups have strong connections to al-Qaeda."
In parliament, opposition politicians are warning that many Yemenis will support al-Qaeda if the conflict escalates. Tribal leaders and lawmakers in the south are furious about what they say was a U.S.-sponsored airstrike on civilians two weeks ago. Yemen's government says the strike targeted militants and their relatives.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi warned that the United States "should learn from its experiences in Pakistan and Afghanistan and not repeat the mistakes in Yemen, both in dealing with the government of Yemen and confronting al-Qaeda." The United States and other Western powers, he said, need to provide long-term economic development to reduce poverty and raise educational standards, which he said can help combat terrorism "in a more effective fashion than just using military force."
Development, democracy, and human rights comprise a mutually reinforcing cycle that is critical to security everywhere. When that cycle is broken, a nation is not secure. The essential building blocks for long-term progress and prosperity are missing. And we have seen with countries such as Yemen that one nation’s struggle to maintain order and provide for its people has consequences beyond its borders. A country that stifles its people’s voices, suppresses dissent, and asserts authoritarian control over citizens, is not a strong country but a weak country, no matter the size of its army or the scale of its ambitions.
Now, Europe understands this...
More U.S. Troops in Yemen in Weeks
The Pentagon is to approve within weeks sending more special forces to Yemen amid increasing U.S. aid to the country, particularly after the botched Christmas Day's attack on a U.S. jetliner, U.S. reports said on Thursday citing unnamed officials.
The move is part of a broad push to speed the training of Yemeni counterterror forces as well as helping U.S. trainers already in Yemen to strengthen their ties with Yemeni forces, the reports said.
The number of the troops to be sent was not identified and some of them will stay longer in the country, according to the reports.
The reports come hours after a London conference on Yemen in which participants urged more Yemen efforts to boost national economy and fight terrorism as they expressed commitment to continue supporting Yemen to face its challenges.
The Obama administration has decided to increase its military and developmental aid to Yemen from $ 90 million in the last year to $ 190 million this year.
Other U.S. reports have noted that the U.S. military's involvement in Yemen has already begun to grow.
'In the weeks since the Christmas Day attack, the U.S. has increased the number of surveillance drones flying over Yemen, as well as the number of unmanned aircraft outfitted with missiles capable of striking targets on the ground, according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the deployments,' Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
U.S. forces aren't involved in direct combat within Yemen, but special forces troops are helping Yemeni counterterror personnel plan attacks against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targets inside the country, according to military officials with knowledge of their activities, the journal added.
The Special Forces troops are also working as liaisons between the Yemeni military command and the Pentagon, which has begun relaying intelligence gleaned from drones, satellites and intercepts of militant phone calls and emails, it said.
Ali Mujawar, the Prime Minister of Yemen, received this support warmly, but said that any attack on the nation's sovereignty would be considered "unacceptable", and that it should not be portrayed as a failing nation, despite a multitude of problems, including its damaged economy, rapidly growing population, and shrinking oil reserves, as well as the beginning of a drought and its problems with insurgents, such as al-Qaeda terrorists.
British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis echoed Mujawar's statements by saying that Yemen is "not a failed state", but "an incredibly fragile state".
...the well-known Yemeni Islamist and U.S. designated terrorism supporter Shaykh Abd al-Majid al-Zindani called for jihad to defend Yemen in the event of a foreign military intervention...
Al-Zindani’s remarks came a day before the shaykh and 149 other Yemeni clerics issued a fatwa in the name of the “Association of Scholars of the Yemen” declaring that jihad is “fard ayn” (a compulsory duty) in the event of military intervention in the country, and thus rejecting any military cooperation with Washington, the use of Yemeni territory for foreign military bases, and Yemen’s commitment to any security or military agreements that are contrary to Islamic Shari’a...
The Washington Post describes the guiding philosophy of Barack Obama’s War on Terror or whatever it is now called. It consists of supporting “allies” with large amounts of money, technology and expert advice and drones to carry out low-key operations. The Post writes in an article entitled “U.S. deeply involved in secret Yemeni strikes” that Obama:
has embraced the notion that the most effective way to kill or capture members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates is to work closely with foreign partners, including those that have feeble democracies, shoddy human rights records and weak accountability over the vast sums of money Washington is giving them to win their continued participation in these efforts.
There is considerable potential downside to this strategy. The most obvious is that it involves the US on the side of rulers who may be hated by their populations. Lee Smith in his book The Strong Horse, argues that the “war on terror” — or whatever it is now called — was in many ways an externalization of the Arab/Muslim struggle to resolve their political future. Religious vs secular, democratic vs authoritarian, modern vs traditional. The Bush “freedom agenda” was an attempt to take one side of this debate in an effort to resolve the underlying differences.
The Obama administration has removed America from involvement in those issues and returns it to the traditional approach of dealing with regimes. In an interview with Michael Totten, Lee Smith argued the problem with this approach was that the regimes themselves were the source of terror. They provoked it, supported its currents and rode its waves. Smith said:
Arab anti-Americanism, as I point out in the book, did not begin with the Bush administration, but goes back to the very beginning of our presence in the region and becomes the pre-eminent channel for anti-colonial sentiment after the Suez Crisis of 1956. … Al Qaeda, Islamist terrorism, is a function of states. Yes, it is an ideological movement with its own history and sources and political ambitions that run counter to the current nation-state system of the Arabic-speaking Middle East; but it is a movement that is sustained by Middle Eastern regimes and their intelligence services who use terror organizations to advance their own strategic interests and deter other states from using terror organizations against them.
I can’t repeat this enough because the President needs to understand this. All of us need to understand it. The Bush administration understood it but the lesson seems to have evaporated into thin air with all the confusion and miscommunication that left some Americans with the belief that the White House was claiming Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11. But this is not what the administration said, and we know for a fact that Saddam did work with Al Qaeda and with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Ayman Zawahiri’s outfit that constitutes the core of the Bin Laden group. But we’re moving away from this understanding and it spells real danger for core American interests and citizens.
If you want to fight Islamist terror you have to go to the heart of the matter and that is Middle Eastern regimes, but this is not what we’re doing now. In fact, we are doing the opposite, counterinsurgency is the opposite of going to the source of the problem. COIN is a losing hand for us. No matter how good the US military gets at counterinsurgency it is never going to have the same sort of success as Arab regimes do. The Arabs can’t win wars, but Arab regimes have never lost to an insurgency, ever.
Just as Pakistani employed the Taliban to do its dirty work, there is the temptation to employ local regimes to do otherwise unpalatable things. What Middle Eastern regimes can inflict that America cannot is unlimited brutality. Smith continues. “Thank God that the Americans will never emulate the tactics of these regimes—the collective punishment, rape, torture and murder that Arab states typically employ to put down insurgencies, but if you don’t do it you will not defeat an Arab insurgency.” But it may be acceptable to let the allied regimes do it. That way the press won’t notice.
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels said on Saturday in a message released on the Internet that he would accept the government's conditions to end the war if attacks against them cease.
"I announce our acceptance of the (government's) five points, after the aggression stops," Abdel Malak al-Houthi said in an audio message released on the Internet. "The ball is now in the other party's court."
A Yemeni-Huthi cease-fire? Not so fast
But don't get excited. This is, by my (unofficial) count, either the third or fourth time the Huthis have made such an offer. It's the second in just four weeks: The Huthis said on Jan. 4 that they were willing to immediately launch a dialogue with the government.
Obviously none of those prior offers have led to a cease-fire. And this one seems destined for the same fate: There's no evidence the rebels coordinated with the Yemeni government, and a one-sided offer to restart talks doesn't mean much. Huthi's offer also depends on the Yemeni army halting its operations; that seems unlikely, since we're still seeing near-daily reports of army operations in Saada province.
The five conditions, by the way, are the removal of all roadblocks; the surrender of remote mountain bases in Saada; a withdrawal from local government buildings; the return of all seized military equipment; and the release of all kidnapped civilians and captured soldiers.
Originally posted by donhuangenaro
well, nothing new for military industrial complex to spread conflicts, they need money and to look like they are winning the 'war on terror',
but they are not...
Yemen crisis deepens as dozens are killed in street battles: Foreign Office urges all Britons to leave at once with diplomats describing the situation as 'worse than Libya'
The crisis engulfing Yemen deepened on Wednesday with dozens of people killed as President Ali Abdullah Saleh reinforced his troops after heavy clashes with gunmen loyal to an influential tribal leader.
Overnight street battles left at least 41 people dead, some trapped in burning buildings. Fighting raged until dawn as presidential guard units shelled the headquarters of an army brigade responsible for protecting government institutions.
Arab embassies were said to be evacuating their staff and the few remaining western residents were being advised to leave urgently. The Foreign Office is urging all Britons to leave while flights are still available in a situation diplomats described as "worse than Libya."
U.S. officials said Tuesday that the 65-year-old autocrat suffered severe burn and shrapnel wounds that would prevent him from returning to Yemen anytime soon and raised doubts about his ability to rule.
“His condition is serious, and it’s likely that it will take him a while to recover fully,” the official said. Saleh has burns on about 40 percent of his body and suffered extensive injuries from wood splintered by the rocket attack on his palace, the official said.
U.S. Is Intensifying a Secret Campaign of Yemen Airstrikes
The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.
The acceleration of the American campaign in recent weeks comes amid a violent conflict in Yemen that has left the government in Sana, a United States ally, struggling to cling to power. Yemeni troops that had been battling militants linked to Al Qaeda in the south have been pulled back to the capital, and American officials see the strikes as one of the few options to keep the militants from consolidating power.
The extent of America’s war in Yemen has been among the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets, as officials worried that news of unilateral American operations could undermine Mr. Saleh’s tenuous grip on power. Mr. Saleh authorized American missions in Yemen in 2009, but placed limits on their scope and has said publicly that all military operations had been conducted by his own troops.