Commentary: U.S. police and military trainers, advisers back in Yemen
~~~Thursday, May 10, 2012~~~~By Jim Kouri
Catch Jim Kouri on The Morning Zone with Dave Chaffin, Tuesday at 7:07AM MDT.
Just this week, the American people were told about how CIA agents thwarted an attempt by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner one year after the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to a statement released on Monday. What surprised many counterterrorism experts was the sophistication of the upgrade of the so-called underwear bomb.
Pentagon officials will not discuss operations in Yemen, Kirby said. “And I’m certainly not going to provide specific details on the numbers of individuals that we have there,” he said.
The Somali group known as al-Shabaab has provided weapons, fighters and training with explosives over the last few months to the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch that has been battling with the Yemeni police and army forces in Abyan since May 2011, according to officials such as Congressman Pete King (R-NY).
The country’s interior ministry reported earlier this month that al-Shabaab had sent 300 armed men to fight alongside the Yemen-based al-Qaeda wing known locally as Partisans of Sharia ( Islamic law) in Abyan province. The group is also known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Al-Qaeda militants, who took advantage of the conflicts in the country, have seized several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces after severe fighting with government troops backed by U.S. drones, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner’s police adviser source.
In January 2009, al-Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,