Yemen: Al-Qaeda Threat ‘Exaggerated’

Officials Trying to Keep President Saleh's Position Viable

by Jason Ditz, January 03, 2010

In statements released today, the Yemeni Foreign Ministry declared the threat posed by al-Qaeda “exaggerated” and insisted that the Yemeni government was capable of tackling the militants in its country without foreign help.

Despite the claims of confidence by the Yemeni government, both the United States and Britain announced earlier today that they have closed their embassies in the nation in the midst of threats by al-Qaeda.

Adding insult to injury, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown referred to Yemen as a “failing state.” The United States has been fighting a covert war in Yemen for quite some time, but has promised to escalate its presence in the nation since reports that the failed Christmas lap bomber trained in Yemen.

Yemen has recently admitted to getting not only training, but weapons from the US as well. The apparently false bravado of the foreign ministry is likely a result of flagging confidence in President Saleh, who was already struggling with two unrelated civil wars and seems totally unprepared to tackle the militant insurgency in any serious way.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz