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December 29th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Is Yemen the next front in war on terror?

A branch of al Qaeda in Yemen is claiming responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Northwest flight. The group said it was revenge for alleged U.S. strikes on Yemeni soil.

Right now among those being sheltered in Yemen is the Muslim cleric who corresponded with the suspect in the Fort Hood rampage and former Guantanamo Bay inmates who've joined Yemen's al Qaeda.

All this is raising concern that Yemen could be the next front in the war on terror.

On Tuesday's American Morning we discussed the development with Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, and Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics.

Related: Al Qaeda link investigated as clues emerge in foiled terror attack


Filed under: Middle East • Terrorism
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Paul

    America needs to wake up and smell the cofee. The terrorists are not going away. This conflict will last a hundred years.Where will the next safe haven be after Yemen? Its never ending.Keep youe eyes on Venezuela.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  2. Mona Gunn

    Why all the attention on Yemen now? Nine years ago an American ship (USS Cole) was attacked in Yemen and 17 sailors were killed. Nothing was done back then and as a result, ten months later, we lost thousands of lives on 9/11.

    Yemen and its president need to be held accountable for harboring terrorists. It's a sad day in this country when it takes nine years for the news media to take a closer look at the country where innocent American sailors lost their lives. Would this conversation be taking place if we did not have the failed attempt to kill more Americans on Christmas day?

    December 31, 2009 at 12:54 am |
  3. M. J. Granger

    The U.S. Army currently has troops in 72 countries world-wide (including Yemen), and those are just the ones we know about. We are in a Global War on Terror (GWOT), and have been since Novemebr 1979 when the first American (CPL Stephen Crowley, U.S. Marines, Islamabad, Pakistan) was killed in the name of male Muslim extremists' jihad against the infidels. There is not a "war in Iraq" or a "war in Afghanistan"; these are operations in the GWOT, as are our activities in Yemen. These terrorists want to kill us, and the only way to stop them is to take away their means or desire to do so. We still have troops in Germany, Japan, and Italy, many years after the war with those countries ceased. We will most likely maintain a military presence, openly or clandestinely, in those and many more countries indefinitely in order to carry out operations against male Muslim extremists and keep us safe. We cannot afford to let them take the fight to us, and we must maintain mounting, not flagging, pressure on them for as long as it takes.

    December 30, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  4. Judy

    Retaliation in Yemen? Better to use our resources on security that has some obvious limitations at this point. Not everything has to be expensive to be effective...er like communication between agencies?
    Flexing our big muscles at this point does not send a shiver of fear down any terrorist's back. It places us once again in a position to injure and kill innocent men, women, and children. Is that how we want to start a new year?

    December 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  5. yen

    Thank God that this attempt did not succeed. It is time now to retrace his source and stop it where it came from. This kind of war is not easy to fight by military force. The job is done by good intellegence. Blaming each other is not going to help in anyway.

    December 30, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  6. clifford

    I guess it's easier to talk down the previous administration than it is to come up with some constructive ideas. Right or wrong, good or bad, the Bush admin. is gone and Mr, Obama needs to get off his butt and get some things right instead of going around bowing to every tin horn leader around the world. To talk down the terror attempts is to try to put a blindfold on the people. Fort Hood, and now this airline thing – wake up people, the terrorist are still coming out of the woodwork and it don't matter whether its democrats or republicans in power. Who ever is in power better get it right.

    December 30, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  7. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Yemen is full of Islamic extremists and we should use all of our air force to kill any extremists including the rebels who I'm sure want a state that is run by sharia law! Bomb the hell out of them and anywhere they are found! Obama had said he would go anywhere that these extremists operate from! We should go into Yemen with full force so that the extremists know that we will find them and kill them and then let God have his judgment on them!

    December 30, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  8. Ralph Patch

    This should be proof positive that fighting wars in Iraq and Afganistan is NOT making us any safer.

    December 30, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  9. Kelly

    The larger picture is being missed here. The bomber did not have a passport when he boarded the plane. Passenger, Kurt Haskell and his wife have testified that they witnessed the bomber get on the plane with the assistance of a "well dressed indian man". Other passengers stated they witnessed a man videotaping the entire flight. Also, a second man was arrested along with Mutallab once the plane was on the ground! Bomb sniffing dogs identified a carry on bag and arrested that passenger! This info is all readily available via google. Why is no one on CNN doing a story on this? Why isnt this being talked about more?

    December 30, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  10. Larry

    This should be interesing.

    We don't have the money to engage in a spitball fight with Yemen.

    Are we REALLY thinking about sending troops into Yemen. Where will we get them?

    Why is it the United States is the only country sacrificing their young soldiers in this so-called war on terror?

    December 30, 2009 at 5:35 am |
  11. Xavier

    i think that something needs to be done since a lot of the guys at Guantanamo are from Yemen if nothing is done then the problem will get worse

    December 30, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  12. B.C. Capone

    You have to realize that the Qaeda organizations, and different factions, are on the offenssive all the time, and that means they have to change and evole with their tactics and survival methods, they are what I would call parasitics fighters, because of the fact that they use different host countries to reorganize an plan counter strikes, and countries like yemen are perfect with weak governments which we the U.S. need to oversee with strict counditions when it comes to financial aid that may end up in the very enemy hands we are fighting, parasites need to be poisoned from within, that means we have to take the gloves off when it comes to clandestine operations.

    December 29, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  13. Drew

    This is getting ridiculous. Iraq, Afghanistan, now Yemen? Instead of continuing this never ending "war on terror", why don't we focus on not being so ignorant in our homeland security instead? A ridiculous couple crashing a white house party? Not paying attention to a dangerous man hiding incendiary devices in his underwear, when his own father calls to let us know he might be on his way? We will never win the war on terror, and everyone knows it. The opposition truly believes what they do is right. No amount of troops or bombs will change that. EVER. Bring our troops home.

    December 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  14. Dale

    Saudi Arabia chickens are coming home to roost.

    December 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  15. Marvin

    I enjoy reading to see what people write. To see where the mood of people from all over the country feel on different issues. I did not see any reference to the Obama administration in the original article nor did I see one about the former president Bush's either in the article. I will leave no mystery to my political affiliation. I am a conservative Republican. So now that this is in the open.
    Angie where does all of this hatred come from?
    The question of the article as I see it is simply "is Yemen the next front of the war on terror?".
    I see politics for what it is.
    Bill Clinton wishes he could have done more but could not due to there not being a clear and present danger to set the precidence.
    Bush had that clear and present danger. He acted on it as he thought was best. Whether you agree or disagree is certainly your opinion.
    Obama is now the president and is now set forth with same criteria the previous presidents had. He like bush has a clear and present danger and must deal with it as he as the elected leader deserves some sort of support. I did not vote for him but will back him as my president.
    Angie if you feel the response is to ignore the threat from the radicals in Yemen I think you are living in a different world than the rest of America. The world is a dangerous place whether you care to acknowledge it or not it is there.
    The old proverb that says keep your friends close and your enemies closer is not anymore evident than it is now. We must be butting into our enemies business. Knowing who they are what they are doing and who they hang around with. Which is the essence of the article.
    To not acknowledge that is to act a fool.

    December 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  16. Fred

    It's clear that this whole airline bombing incident is a US intelligence operation. Just ask the standard question of "Qui Bono" who benefits. There are too many coincidences here. Yemen has a US proxy government that has been fighting a popular revolt for some time. The US is afraid that a victory for the people in Yemen will add impetus to other nationalist movements in countries run by US proxy's, notably Egypt and certainly Pakistan. Nationalism is the biggest threat to US economic interests. Saddam Hussein was the strongest Pan-Arab nationalist in the Middle East, that's why he was the first target. The Taliban refused to sell out to the Oil companies when they were invited to Houston, insisting on fair transit fees for the UNOCAL pipelines, making them dangerous nationalists. That's why they were the second target for US democracy, the export model. The CIA found this impressionable, not to bright kid and set him up as a patsy for this operation. We have a security system that can keep Ted Kennedy, Cat Stevens and at least one Nobel laureate off planes entirely and this kid gets reported to the US embassy as a risk, buys a one way ticket for cash, gets on the plane with no luggage and by some reports without a passport and we are actually told that the system is "working"??? Are you kidding me... The bomb aledgedly
    goes off with a "3 foot tower of flame" on the airplane by pictures of his underware show no sign of burnt material. The incident occurs but no serious damage to plane or passengers. Joe Lieberman and Obama announce within days of this incident that we now have to attack a "friendly" country before anything can actually be proved. It's crystal clear that this so called "terror" attack was a false flag to give Obama political cover needed to crush a popular uprising in Yemen by the Yemeni people against our puppet government there. The Yemeni people have no interest in us, this is an internal matter. They just want their sovereignty back. But by attacking them we will certainly create a whole nation of sworn enemies. I saw a bumper sticker the other day "US Foreign Policy is Making Enemies Much Faster Than We Can Possibly Kill Them, Way to go Barack".

    December 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  17. Angie

    Most of Al Qaeda who were found in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 and even till this day and who were responsible for the 9/11, Manhattan, Twin Tower, New York , American Soil attacks were from Yemen and Saudi Arebia.
    Now I ask You:
    Why didn't the Bush administration go into Yemen and Saudi Arebia back then, instead of holding hands with the Saudi Prince?
    Gee, and they looked so cute holding hands on your News film footage.
    You do remember your own News which Cnn aired don't you?
    If we didn't go in then when we had all those facts, why should we go in now?
    Or are you just doing the Republican thing in trying to confuse the issue of how Bush and Cheney failed policies are still causing Havoc against the American people.
    And if were were now to go in on your insistance, would you turn around and call it the Obama war as you try to turn the American Citizens against Obama just so you can have your Failed Republican Policies back in power in 2012?
    You Republican news Reporters are no more than commentators. When will we get real reporting without your bias views.

    December 29, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  18. seiscat

    Saudi Arabia needs to take the lead in Yemen. They have been trying to ignore their responsibility in regards to the spread of terrorism for years, but the chickens are coming home to roost.

    December 29, 2009 at 11:00 am |