US planning more 'army cooperation' on strikes in Yemen
US is planning military and intelligence "cooperation" with the government of Yemen after a failed plot to attack on a U.S. passenger jet.
The United States is planning more military and intelligence "cooperation" with the government of Yemen after a failed plot to attack on a U.S. passenger jet, American officials said on Wednesday.
Defense and counterterrorism officials played down reports the United States was drawing up plans for retaliatory strikes, suggesting Yemen would take the lead.
President Barack Obama has vowed to bring "every element" of U.S. power against those who threaten Americans' safety, but offered no specifics.
Obama faces a difficult balancing act.
Defense and counterterrorism officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration was exploring ways to accelerate and expand U.S. intervene to Yemeni forces in the country, while keeping the role of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies as behind the scenes as possible.
"Where the United States can be of assistance, we're going to offer our assistance," a defense official said. "We're working to build partnership capabilities to enable them to take on the al Qaeda threat inside their country."
"We have a country in Yemen willing to accept U.S. assistance," the official added.
The United States has sharply increased the amount of military equipment, intelligence and training it provides to Yemeni forces earlier this month.
U.S. defense and counterterrorism officials said more military operations led by Yemeni forces were likely in response to the attempted bombing of the Delta Airlines jet as it was approaching Detroit on a flight from Amsterdam with almost 300 people on board.
The Pentagon's main publicly disclosed military plan for Yemen has grown from just $4.6 million in fiscal 2006 to $67 million in fiscal 2009, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Pentagon officials said the military has proposed increasing the amount of financial "aid" under that program but a figure has yet to be finalized.
Reuters Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2009, 23:15