Saturday, January 09, 2010
*Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as this offshoot is called, is linked directly to the "core" group in Pakistan and it is now "one of the most lethal" affiliates
Saleh who controls about $70 million in aid for Yemen's military. It's a budget that could soon be at least doubled
the smart-alecky antics of Ali Abdullah Saleh have begun to seriously grate on Washington, it has been hopelessly ineffective at keeping Al Qaeda from infiltrating the country—and possibly even Yemen's own security services, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman breathlessly repeat warnings it is destined to become "tomorrow's war."
Xenophobic tribal culture, divided by seven local dialects, civil war in the north, separatist sentiment in the south, Yemen is part of the fluid, ever-shifting "Jihadistan", including neighboring countries like Somalia
Al Qaeda has also mutated into a franchised brand name that is no longer centrally directed, that inspired both Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be bomber aboard Northwest Flight 253, and U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, this past fall.
Both men had links to Yemen and were in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who foments jihad on the Internet and has long been hiding out in Yemen
Just before Christmas, Yemeni forces, targeting key Qaeda figures, including Awlaki. But Abdulelah Haider Shaya, a Yemeni journalist who is close to Al Qaeda, told NEWSWEEK that Awlaki survived. Both Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Said Ali Al-Shihri, another key Qaeda figure in Yemen, also survived the strikes
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi. In July Saleh met with Gen. David Petraeus. Al-Qirbi told, leaders agreed to "enhanced cooperation"
The island of Socotra, 200 miles off the Yemeni coast, will be beefed up to a full base in order to support the larger aid program as well as battle Somali pirates
Western officials want Saleh to compromise and end his civil war with a Shiite separatist tribe called the Houthis so he can concentrate on Al Qaeda