In a message to President Barack Obama and the United States, a group of Imams from mosques in Yemen threatened to declare Jihad (holy war) if any foreign troops attempt to assist Yemeni forces in battling the growing number of al-Qaeda terrorists operating and training in their country.
The announcement is believed to be directed specifically at U.S. government officials who are assisting Yemen in its counterterrorism operations. The Islamic leaders said that their call for Jihad will be initiated if any troops land in Yemen or are present within that nation’s territorial waters.
Yemeni al-Qaeda members claimed responsibility for the unsuccessful bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane landing at Detroit International Airport on Christmas Day. As a result, the United States and Britain increased military aid to Yemen in order to fight the terrorists and stop foreign fighters from entering that impoverished African nation..
Yemen’s recent history is one of violence and civil wars. The central government does not control several regions of the country and armed warlords and their militias are a source of instability within the central government.
According to intelligence sources, the government observes an unwritten policy of ignoring the activities of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda which, after being pushed out of Afghanistan, has taken a foothold in Yemen and practically duplicated what the terrorists once had thanks to the Afghan Taliban rulers.
While there are no indications that the U.S. is planning to “put boots on the ground” in Yemen, the government has increased its anti-terrorism assistance to its military. Britain has also indicated it too would provide assistance to the Yemeni military and security forces.
Last year, the U.S. increased counterterrorism assistance to Yemen with $67 million in military aid. In addition, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office unveiled a plan to provide development assistance in the amount of more than $60 million to that impoverished nation in the fiscal year 2010.
But intelligence, security, and military experts believe the amount of money being spent is inadequate to fight the terrorists and prevent the creation of a new “Afghanistan” in northern Africa.
‘Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). Write to him at mailto:COPmagazine@aol.com’