The Yemen Brief: Expanding Scope of US Military Engagement Exactly What Bin Laden Wants


yemen minister of foreign affairs.jpgAbubakr Al-Qirbi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen, addresses the general debate of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly. (official United Nations photo)
Below the break follows the official statement from Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Yemen is in a very complicated place when it comes to its efforts against al Qaeda, other rebel tribes, and managing the lines of its sovereignty against explicit foreign intrusion.
Despite the Obama administration’s strange non-denial denial regarding military activities inside Yemen in which passions are running strongly inside Yemen against the US, the US is working with the Yemeni government in trying to identify and attack al Qaeda operations. Some are arguing that a quid pro quo is developing in which the administration is now engaged in a covert war against Houthi rebels, which the US has refused to identify as a terrorist group, in partial exchange for more kinetic action from the Yemen government against al Qaeda operations.
The Obama administration has to step back at some point and ask itself what the dangers and downsides are of an ever-widening military span of operations. Some neocons in addition to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) are now pointing to Yemen as “threat next” and agitating for a much more aggressive American presence there.
National security officials in the administration need to go back and read Peter Bergen‘s Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden in which he recounts many aspects of bin Laden’s plan from the Islamic extremist uber-guru’s own words – which was to draw the US deeply into the Middle East, and by its presence — destabilize the governments in the region.
Bin Laden, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, remains the single most significant sculptor of global affairs today, pushing the buttons of an American superpower as well as other regimes, so that they engage in emotional, knee jerk crusades that undermine what is left of a global equilibrium and the perception of American power.
Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and enemies yet to be named win with each new soldier deployed to the Middle East and South Asia.
President Obama must step back and think about America’s current strategic course.
Here is the official statement from the Yemen Foreign Ministry about the Nigerian well-heeled, educated, would-be bomber:

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
Washington, DC
Office of Media & Public Affairs
Press Statement — December 28, 2009

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen has issued a statement condemning the recent attempted terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national charged with attempting to blow up an American aircraft on route from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Detroit, United States of America.
Yemen has long suffered from terrorism and condemns such criminal acts that kill innocent civilians. Yemen is and remains an active partner of the international community in the war against terrorism. Efforts of Yemeni security agencies to continue ongoing operations and prosecutions against terrorist operatives from Al-Qaeda will not falter.
The Immigration and Passport Agency has confirmed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen during the period from early August to early December 2009 after obtaining a visa to study Arabic at a language institute. He has previously studied in the same institute. His passport had a valid U.S. visa and other foreign visas. There was nothing suspicious about his intentions to visit Yemen, especially considering he had also visited the U.S. in the past.
The statement reasserted that investigations are being conducted by Yemeni Security Agencies to identify any other individuals who may be linked to him, and immediate action will be taken against any accomplice(s) determined. The outcome of the investigation will be shared with the appropriate U.S. authorities. Indeed, the scope of US-Yemen bilateral law enforcement cooperation has been substantial and continues to deepen.
The statement reiterated the importance of international cooperation in the areas of intelligence sharing amongst nations; particularly for those linked to combating terrorism. Furthermore, the official statement expressed the crucial need to enhance security procedures at airports and border posts to prevent terrorist operatives from carrying on their destructive plans that could undermine global security and stability.
December 28, 2009
Ministry of the Foreign Affairs
Sana’a, Republic of Yemen

— Steve Clemons


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