Yemen's chaos is good news for Al Qaeda
Washington, June 3 (ANI): The escalating violence in Yemen is hampering critical U.S. counter-terrorism operations and could give Al Qaeda's most active affiliate increased opportunities for recruitment and plotting, current and former U.S. officials warn.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, Yemeni forces trained by the U.S.
to help hunt Islamic militants have been diverted to protect the beleaguered regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, making it more difficult to support American spying and special military operations.
At the same time, the U.S. has been forced to evacuate nonessential personnel from its embassy in the capital, Sana.
"The trends are strongly negative. The government is in chaos and Al Qaeda's operating space has expanded," Edmund Hull, U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2001 to 2004.
The rising chaos in Yemen after nearly four months of mostly peaceful street protests has become a growing worry for Washington.
President Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, is visiting the region this week to get a handle on what the White House called "the deteriorating situation in Yemen."
Saleh has reneged on deals brokered by regional leaders and U.S. Ambassador Gerald M. Feierstein to secure a peaceful end to the Yemeni president's nearly 33 years in power, a tenure marked by a separatist rebellion in the south, a Shiite Muslim insurgency in the north and the emergence of an Al Qaeda faction with global reach.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney again called on Saleh "to begin the process of transferring power immediately.
"We continue to call on his government to cease and desist from using violence against peaceful protesters. And we remain very concerned about what's happening there," Carney said.
Reports that Al Qaeda fighters have seized cities in recent days are "overblown," U.S. officials said.
However, that does not take away the fact that the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda has emerged since 2008 as the most significant threat with attempts to stage attacks on American soil, overshadowing branches in Pakistan and elsewhere, U.S. intelligence officials have said. (ANI)
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