From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Jan 04 2010 - 16:53:46 EST
Yemen rules out US intervention
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
00:39 Mecca time, 21:39 GMT
Yemen's foreign minister has ruled out direct US military intervention to
tackle the al-Qaeda group operating in his country.
Abu Baker al-Qirbi made his remarks to Al Jazeera on Monday as the US and
British embassies in the capital, Sanaa, remained closed to public following
threats by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
"Yemen is going to deal with terrorism in its own way, out of its own
interests and therefore I don't think it will counterfire," al-Qirbi said.
"The negative impact on Yemen is if there is direct intervention of the US
and this is not the case."
Yemen is battling to control an al-Qaeda movement estimated to have hundreds
of fighters in the country, as well as so-called Houthi rebel fighters in
the north of the country and a secessionist movement in the south.
Raid on al-Qaeda
At least two suspected al-Qaeda members were killed during a raid near Sanaa
Officials said up to three other suspects had been wounded during the
operation in the Arhab district, around 30km northeast of the capital.
ml> Profile: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
$30bn pair of underpants
ml> Neither wars nor drones
> Suspect 'a gentleman, not fanatic'
l> Yemen - New frontline for US wars?
Security officials told The Associated Press news agency the raid was not
connected to the threats that prompted the US and UK embassy closures.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said on Monday that a decision
on reopening the US embassy would be taken "as conditions permit".
"We see global implications from the war in Yemen and the ongoing efforts by
al Qaeda in Yemen to use it as a base for terrorist attacks far beyond the
region," she said after meeting the visiting prime minister of Qatar.
The French embassy was also shut to the public on Monday, while the
Japanese mission suspended consular activities as Yemeni authorities
increased security in the city.
John Brennan, the US president's assistant for homeland security and
counterterrorism, warned on Sunday that "there are indications that al-Qaeda
is planning an attack against a target in Sanaa".
Over the weekend, Barack Obama, the US president, accused
ml> Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsulaof arming and training a Nigerian man
accused of trying to blow up a US airliner bound for the city of Detroit on
The Yemen-based group, which claims to be affiliated with Osama bin Laden's
organisation, had earlier claimed responsibility for the failed attack and
called for strikes on embassies in Yemen.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said that the failed attack was in
response to a series of raids in western Yemen, which the groups says were
carried out by US warplanes. Washington and Sanna have denied the claims.
The intensification of security efforts in Sanaa comes just days after the
British government announced plans to join the United States in funding an
"anti-terrorist" force in Yemen.
Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, has said he will hold a meeting in
London on January 28 to discuss how to counter radicalisation in Yemen.
Al-Qirbi told Al Jazeera that the country needed development aid to improve
social conditions in the country.
"Economic growth is a necessity for Yemen because one of the main challenges
facing Yemen is to improve the standards of living, create jobs and fight
poverty because these are the elements that contribute to extremism in
Yemen," he said.
"Our first priority is development assistance and then we need also
assistance to build and expand our counter-terrorism units, equip them with
all the logistic support they need.
"I know the Americans have committed more money for our counter-terrorism
units and that is one area we need support in."
Hillary Mann-Leverett, a former US diplomat who worked at the national
security council, told Al Jazeera that Yemen had long been a troubled state
plagued by poverty and violence.
"The most important thing here for geopolitics globally and within the
region, is that Yemen has been a fractured, desperately poor and deeply
fractitious country that all the countries in the region and the superpowers
have used as a battleground," she said.
But Mann-Leverett also said that the Obama administration's policies towards
the region were partially to blame for threats against Washington and its
"We have given the Saudis a green light to militarily intervene in Yemen and
to characterise what is happening in Yemen as a Sunni-Shia war [with] the
Saudis there to defend the Sunnis against craven Shia," she said.
"We're paying the price today of outsourcing our policy to the Saudis."
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