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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More