British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama have agreed to fund a special counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen to tackle the rising threat from the country. The announcement comes as the US and UK shut their embassies in Yemen’s capital Sana Dec. 3, the US State Department citing unspecified but “ongoing threats by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the regional franchise of the terror network. The closures came a day after a quiet visit to Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the US regional commander, who delivered a message from Obama of support for Yemen’s unity and counter-terrorism efforts. (Press TV, NYT, Jan. 3)
In FY 2010, US aid to Yemen is expected to rise 56% to $63 million. Last year Yemen also received $67 million in special “1206” Pentagon counter-terrorism aid, up from just $5 million the previous year. The figure is also expected to jump again this year. (Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 2)
See our last post on Yemen.