SHARURA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – As Saudi Arabian air strikes have hammered Yemen over the past month, Riyadh’s Western allies are believed to have grown increasingly worried by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) taking advantage of the chaos to capture more ground.
The State Department is telling U.S. citizens fleeing the fighting in Yemen to contact the government of India or an international NGO dedicated to migrant rights for help, according to the website for the abandoned U.S. embassy in Sanaa and statements by Indian government officials.
When President Obama name-checked Yemen as a success story during his announcement of strikes on the Islamic State in 2014, there was immediate skepticism from those who had been paying attention to the situation in that country, which at the time was threatened by a increasingly powerful Iranian-backed insurgency. Since then the skeptics have been proven correct, even as the White House takes a stroll onto Baghdad Bob territory with its position that all is well. The White House maintains a rosy line on the situation despite the facts that the U.S.-backed president has fled the country, the U.S. embassy has been evacuated (with Marines ordered to disable and abandon their weapons at the Sanaa airport, no less), we can’t account for half a billion dollars in military equipment, and the U.S. special operations task force training the Yemenis on counter-terror operations has also retreated from the country.
Terrorist attacks and resulting deaths increased sharply last year, according to statistics made public Thursday by the director of national intelligence.
A recent threat by the al Qaeda-affiliated Somali terrorist group al-Shabab to attack shopping malls in Europe and the Mall of America in Minnesota was not credible, according to an internal State Department security report.
A leading human rights organization is calling on President Barack Obama to start getting specific about the massive threat posed by “Islamist fundamentalism.”
As chaos in Yemen continued to escalate, Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, appeared on all five major talk shows on Sunday to defend the administration’s counterterrorism efforts in the region.