I’ve been in meetings all day, so perhaps the following is already well-known. But if not, it strikes me as especially important. For several months the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen has been identified as the source of the single most significant asymmetrical threat to the United States, primarily due to its effectiveness at recruiting in the United States. This report is reprinted from The Guardian, more of the story is available by selecting the link. It was posted at 7:42 PM London time. I am posting at 5:26 PM Eastern time.
The US is stepping up efforts to persuade Yemen‘s veteran president to step down before escalating fighting between the government and tribal rebels develops into fully-fledged civil war.
Diplomats said that Washington was now pressing hard to convince Ali Abdullah Saleh to reconsider his rejection of a peace plan brokered by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states alarmed by the prospect of growing instability in the region.
John Brennan, Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser, held talks in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where the government has strong ties with Yemeni tribes but has been slow to act. It has been accused of sending mixed signals to Saleh, who is seen as desperate to cling on to power after 32 years.
Certainly the situation in Yemen seems to moving from bad to worse. Ishaan Tharoor, reporting this afternoon for Time, writes, “In Yemen, over three decades of authoritarianism are unraveling in a bloody maelstrom. The regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh has brutally staved off protests against its rule, fueled by frustrations over a lack of political freedoms in the country and the perceived graft of Saleh’s family and cronies. At least 350 people have died in violence since the upheaval commenced early this year.” MORE