USA — Bomb Plot Shows Serious Threat, Spokesman Says

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2010 — A Defense Depart­ment spokesman today praised Yemeni offi­cials for their stand against the ter­ror group al-Qai­da in the Ara­bi­an Penin­su­la and called the group a seri­ous threat in Yemen and around the world.

“It’s a seri­ous threat, and it’s a threat not only to Yemen, but the U.S. and oth­er region­al inter­ests,” Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man said.

Offi­cials in Great Britain and in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates last week inter­cept­ed in tran­sit pack­ages rigged to explode. A search is under way for any oth­er pack­ages that may have been mailed, offi­cials at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty said.

DOD offi­cials have been work­ing with Yemen to imple­ment “a holis­tic approach” to address secu­ri­ty and coun­tert­er­ror­ism con­cerns in the nation, Whit­man said, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment also is work­ing with Yemeni author­i­ties to address polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and social chal­lenges in the coun­try.

But the depart­ment is not con­sid­er­ing any overt move in Yemen, Whit­man said. The Unit­ed States has a mod­est train­ing mis­sion in the coun­try, and works with the Yemeni mil­i­tary to build capa­bil­i­ties to counter al-Qai­da in the Ara­bi­an Penin­su­la. “We work very close­ly with the gov­ern­ment of Yemen on our coun­tert­er­ror­ism assis­tance activ­i­ties,” Whit­man said. The Unit­ed States has rec­og­nized the prob­lem for years. U.S. base­line assis­tance to Yemen increased from $17.2 mil­lion in fis­cal 2008 to $40.3 mil­lion in 2009 and around $72.3 mil­lion in 2010. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has request­ed $106.6 mil­lion in assis­tance for fis­cal 2011. These totals do not include coun­tert­er­ror­ism or human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance. Over­all, Yemen received $155.3 mil­lion in fis­cal 2010. This includ­ed a $34.5 mil­lion spe­cial oper­a­tions force coun­tert­er­ror­ism enhance­ment pack­age. The pro­gram is designed to improve the tac­ti­cal effec­tive­ness and oper­a­tional reach of the Yemeni spe­cial oper­a­tions force, offi­cials said. It pro­vides equip­ment and train­ing to improve the Yemeni military’s mobil­i­ty, sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness, sur­viv­abil­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and tac­ti­cal pro­fi­cien­cy.

Yemen has received Humvees, weapons, ammu­ni­tion, radio sys­tems and night-vision gog­gles. In addi­tion, the Unit­ed States is pro­vid­ing $82.8 mil­lion for medi­um-lift heli­copters.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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