Yemeni officials on Sunday dismissed the threat posed by Al Qaeda in their country as “exaggerated” and downplayed the possibility of cooperating closely with the United States in fighting Islamic militants, even as the U.S. and Britain temporarily closed their diplomatic outposts in Yemen because of unspecified Al Qaeda threats.
The statements by Yemen’s foreign minister, chief of national security and Interior Ministry came a day after the region’s top American military commander vowed to step up U.S. military support for the beleaguered Arabian Peninsula nation.
Analysts said the Yemeni statements reflected domestic political concerns about President Ali Abdullah Saleh appearing weak and beholden to the West as he faces numerous political challenges. [continued…]
Any direct US strike against al Qa’eda militants in Yemen will further push the state towards failure and boost al Qa’eda’s presence, a tribal leader and political analysts say.
“It is very serious and unacceptable that the Americans get involved in striking al Qa’eda militants because this is against the sovereignty of the country, would cause resentment and increase sympathy with al Qa’eda as in such strikes a lot of innocent civilians are hit,” said Sheikh Arfaj bin Hadhban, a chief of the Dahm tribe in al Jawf province, north-east of the capital Sana’a.
Abdulbari Taher, an independent political analyst and highly-regarded Yemeni writer and commentator, said: “The US military involvement will do nothing but create another Pakistan or Afghanistan. It will speed up the failure of the state and the collapse of the system. It will bring another catastrophe to the region.” [continued…]