Yemen “tomorrow’s war” warns Lieberman

The closure of the US and UK embassies in Yemen marks the latest deterioration in the security situation the fragile Gulf state is experiencing.

The closure of the US and UK embassies in Yemen marks the latest deterioration in the security situation the fragile Gulf state is experiencing.

Riven internally by insurgency, ethnic tensions and a faltering economy Yemen also suffers from likely Saudi and Iranian backed interference in its own internal affairs and is a likely base to a larger number of al Qaida operatives then Afghanistan.

It is against this backdrop that US Senator Joe Lieberman has described Yemen as potentially “tommorow’s war” and has cited three instances in which Yemen-linked terrorists have breached US security.

White House counter terrorism advisor John Brennan, however, has stated that with regard to a possible formal US troop presence:

“We’re not talking about that at this point at all.”

With Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for an international summit to consider the worsening Yemeni situation, London and Washington will be examining the full range of policy options available to stem the growing al Qaida threat.

As a result, a matter for greater public discussion is the presence and role of US and UK special forces in Yemen and the potential dangers of escalation and proxy conflict, particularly with Iran, in Yemen.

Domestically, the Prime Minister’s announcement of new full body scanners at Heathrow airport to detect the kind of explosive used by failed 23-year-old Yemeni terrorist Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab – the former University College London student whose Christmas day Chicago attack prompted the latest security upgrades – has drawn criticism, including from Conservative MP Ben Wallace.

A former employee at the defence company QinetiQ, he warned that the approach is “not a silver bullet”. However, noted air security specialists like The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder argue that target-hardening measures like full body scanners can play a valuable role in restoring public confidence about air safety as well as increasing actual real security.

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