The Christmas Day incident on Northwest Flight 253 has brought Yemen further onto the U.S. radar, and now Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, is calling for more help from the West to deal with what he considers to be a sizable al-Qaida network operating within his country. —KA
Yemen was getting some support in this conflict but it was inadequate, [Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi] added.
“We need more training. We have to expand our counter terrorism units and this means providing them with the necessary training, military equipment, ways of transportation - we are very short of helicopters.
“The United States can do a lot, Britain can do a lot, the European Union can do a lot in that regard,” he said.
He said he thought that 200-300 al-Qaeda members were operating in Yemen, but that this was just a rough guess.
“Of course there are a number in Yemen and they may actually plan for attacks as in Detroit,” he said.
But Mr al-Qirbi said warnings about the situation made by US officials like Gen David Petraeus, head of Central Command, were overstated and “exaggerated in some media”.
Wikimedia Commons / ai@ce
According to reports, American and Yemeni government forces teamed up earlier this month to target al-Qaida training camps in the Arhab district, about 35 miles to the northeast of the capital, Sana’a, shown here.