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Counterterror Shift in Yemen?

11/01/2010 -

The discovery last week of explosives in packages sent from Yemen to the United States has drawn attention to U.S. military options in that country.  The Wall Street Journalreports that "support was growing both within the military and the administration for shifting more operational control to the CIA—a move that would allow the U.S. to strike suspected terrorist targets unilaterally with greater stealth and speed." Such a move would provide the U.S. ability to strike without the blessing of the Yemeni government and would also provide deniability to the Yemeni government due to the covert operations of the teams.

The article states that the U.S. is already considering sending CIA drones to operate in Yemen, like ones that operate in Pakistan right now. 

According to the article, "Yemen on Sunday released its suspect in the failed plot to send explosives to the U.S. One package was shipped on cargo planes from Yemen and intercepted in the U.K. The other had traveled from San'a to Doha, Qatar, and then to Dubai aboard two separate passenger jets without detection."

Officials have stated that the devices found in the packages bear the hallmarks of al Qaeda bombmaking.

Although Yemen's government has allowed the U.S. to carry out strikes against al Qaeda targets in many cases, they have objected at times. This plan would circumvent that and provide more direct control to the White House, reports the Journal.

Wired'sDanger Room blog compares this plan with the "open secret" wars against al Qaeda going on in Pakistan right now, where 92 attacks have occurred this year alone.

Photo byJamiecat/flickr/creative commons license