Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Forget Afghanistan. The Real Threat May Be Centered In Yemen

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


The military and intelligence communities, of course, were well aware of this for a long time. But it escaped the radar of the general public. Until now.

That all changed on Christmas Day when a Nigerian national, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, allegedly on orders from al Qaeda in Yemen tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit Metro Airport.

Since then, the focus has been on what went wrong with security and what's being done now and what should be done in the future.

But there's been some - vital - discourse about Yemen.

One story, in a British tabloid, screams that the suspect, Abdulmutallab, told the FBI that there are 25 Yemen-trained British-born Muslims also prepared to attack Western aircraft.

There are new reports about Guantanamo Bay detainees being sent to Saudi Arabia who then made their way to Yemen for training and orders to carry out Jihad against the West.

And now, the foreign minister of Yemen says that there are hundreds - hundreds! - of militants - trained in his country - planning attacks on the West. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi is appealing for more international help in mitigating that threat. There have been attacks on Yemen militant bases - and casualties inflicted upon their leadership. But the intelligence about the success of those attacks is still coming in. Hopefully the bomb maker who allegedly retrofitted Abdulmutallab is among the dead. Hopefully.

The good news here is that the Yemen government really wants to root this evil out from its nation. So there's hope. But for those of us who have become complacent about the threat of terrorism as the years since the September 11, 2001 attack pass - the Christmas Day attempt, and al-Qiribi's warning - should be a wake up call.

No longer can we pretend that the threat of terrorism doesn't exist. No longer can it be off the public's radar.

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