Clinton: Yemen threatens region, world

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says insecurity in Yemen is a regional and global threat, as the White House prepares the ground for a new war in the region.

“The instability in Yemen is a threat to regional stability and even global stability,” Clinton told reporters following talks with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani on Monday.

“And certainly, we know that this is a difficult set of challenges, but they have to be addressed,” she added.

She also said that Washington was working closely with its allies on deciding “the best way forward” to address the security concerns.

Clinton said the Yemeni government had to take measures to restore stability or risk losing Western support.

Citing warnings of a possible attack from an al-Qaeda-linked group Washington closed its embassy in Sana’a on Sunday, before reopening it on Tuesday.

After the US closed its embassy, Britain and later France did the same. Japan also decided to suspend consular services at its embassy.

The UK Foreign Office, however, denied that the embassy closure was linked to such a threat, saying that it was unaware about the warning.

In response to Western claims, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi rejected any comparison between his country and Afghanistan as an Al-Qaeda haven.

“Yemen is capable of confronting these groups, but it needs international aid to form and train anti-terrorist units as well as economic aid, since the problem also has an economic dimension,” Kurbi told reporters during a visit to Doha.

This is while international talks on the security and development situation in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula, are expected to be held next month.

After Pakistan, southern Yemen is seen as the primary stronghold for al-Qaeda militants, a safe haven they are using to organize and train more recruits.

Despite apparent US calls for the eradication of al-Qaeda, allegations have been made that Washington has transferred “hundreds” of al-Qaeda members of different nationalities to Yemen after releasing them from prisons in Saudi Arabia and Guantanamo.

Arab media that have published the claims, such as Al-Minbar, write that the US is transferring al-Qaeda members to Yemen to have them recruited in the Yemeni army to target Shia Houthi fighters in northern parts of the country or use them as an excuse to deploy forces to Yemen.

A while after the claims were published the US engaged in direct military activity in Yemen, but allegations about recruiting al-Qaeda for the Yemeni army are yet to be proven.

Speculations are that former US presidential candidate John McCain made such a proposal while visiting Yemen back in August 2009.

He had reportedly embarked on the trip after several closed-door discussions were held at the US congress about the Arab country.

Allegations that the US is secretly transferring al-Qaeda members to Yemen could explain why a Nigerian man, who has been arrested and charged with trying to blow up the transatlantic plane on December 25, is said to have ties with the militants in Yemen.

The 23-year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has allegedly confessed to being trained by an Al-Qaeda bomb-maker in Yemen for a mission on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The West, spearheaded by the US, seems to be paving the ground to intervene in Yemen internal affairs under the pretext of opening an alleged front against al-Qaeda in the country.

The development comes more than eight years after the former US President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. The operation was said to be aimed at eradicating militancy and the arrest of main militant leaders including Osama Bin Laden.

According to UN figures, Afghan civilians have been the main victims of the controversial war.

It appears that Washington needs to prove the West is insecure and under threat by the so-called terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to legitimize its wars, since such entities are merely the product of the media machines in the West.

MJ/DT
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