News / Middle East

    White House: Al-Qaida Threat Closes US Embassy in Yemen

    Multimedia

    Audio

    U.S. President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor says a threat from an al-Qaida affiliate led to the closure of the American embassy in Yemen.  This same group has been linked to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner.

    John Brennan says the embassy was closed to protect the lives of its staff.

    "There are indications that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is targeting our embassy and targeting our personnel and we are not going to take any chances with the lives of our diplomats and others who are at that embassy," he said.

    The president's homeland security advisor told the FOX News Sunday television program the United States is working with the Yemeni government to deal with the terrorist threat.

    On NBC's Meet the Press, he was asked if that means Yemen is a major new front in the war on terrorism.

    Brennan said it has long been an area of concern.

    "We have been focused on this issue," he added.  "We need to make sure that we continue to provide the training, the support that Yemen needs to counter this very serious threat."

    The United States and Britain have agreed to fund a new counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen.  The British government, which has also closed its embassy there, is hosting a conference later this month designed to boost Yemen's ability to fight terrorism.

    On Saturday, President Obama said an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently trained and equipped the Nigerian man accused in the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight.

    Brennan - who is leading a White House investigation into the incident - told ABC's This Week there were bits and pieces of information about the suspect, but no definitive evidence. 

    "There was no single piece of intelligence, a 'smoking gun' if you will, that said that Mr. Abdulmutallab was going to carry out his attack against that aircraft," he explained.

    Congress is planning hearings into the matter over the coming weeks.  The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he wants to know why so many Yemenis held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have been sent back home in recent years.

    Senator Kit Bond of Missouri told Fox News Sunday many of those returned to Yemen are now active in al-Qaida.  

    "I think the Bush administration has been shown to have made a mistake," he said.  "I hope the Obama administration will learn from that and not continue to commit the same mistake."

    Michigan Congressman Peter Hoekstra, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Intelligence, recently visited Yemen.  He said there is no partisan divide in Washington on the nature of the threat now emanating from that country.

    "It appears that we are now all on the same page," he said.  "We recognize the imminent threat.  We are committed to enhancing our intelligence capabilities and our offensive capability to deal with this."

    Hoekstra was interviewed on ABC's This Week.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora