News / Middle East

Pentagon Backs Off Petraeus News of Doubling Yemen Military Aid

General David Petraeus (file photo)
General David Petraeus (file photo)
Al Pessin

The U.S. Defense Department says it has not yet determined how much military aid to provide to Yemen this year, to help the country fight terrorism and build its armed forces.  That contradicts a statement last Friday by General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. 

General Petraeus made news Friday answering a reporter's question about U.S. military aid to Yemen, which is fighting several terrorist groups, including one that may have been behind the attempt to blow up an American airliner on Christmas Day.

"We have, it's well known, about $70 million in security assistance last year," said General Petraeus. "That will more than double this coming year."

General Petraeus spoke during a visit to Iraq, and he traveled from there to Yemen for meetings with top officials on how to deal with terrorist activity in the country. 

But on Monday, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said the U.S. government has not yet determined how much military aid to give Yemen this year, including funds from its 1206 account, which are designated for counter-terrorism assistance.

"Without knowing precisely what General Petraeus might have been referring to, I am only speaking to right now the 1206 Building Partnership Capacity [funds]," said Bryan Whitman. "And I have to tell you at this point that those funding levels by country have not yet been determined."

U.S. counter-terrorism aid to Yemen last year was a record $67 million.  That's 22 percent of the total $300 million the United States distributed through the program worldwide in 2009.  This year, the global amount is increasing to $350 million.

Yemen was frozen out of the program in 2008 due to a dispute between the Bush Administration and Yemen's government.

Whitman says such aid, as well as the sale of military equipment and special financing for military purchases, have complex criteria, which are only now being evaluated for the fiscal year that began in October.

"If you're looking for me to try to project for you for any given country where various levels of assistance might end up, I can't do that for you," he said. "We have to let those processes run their course."

Still, Whitman acknowledges that the U.S. government is actively looking at how to help Yemen and many other countries fight terrorism.  Improving friendly militaries worldwide has long been a priority, in order to enable them to prevent terrorist groups from recruiting or establishing bases on their territory.

General Petraeus said Friday there has been good cooperation with Yemen on terrorism issues.

"There has been sharing of intelligence, of information, and so forth, two-way street because the intelligence sources of Yemen are very, very good, as well," he said. "And the operations that were carried out in December were very significant."

The Pentagon says the United States also provides helicopter parts, communications equipment, patrol boats, trucks and maintenance training to Yemen's military.  
 

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid