Counterterrorism Adviser Discusses Yemen Policy
Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was at the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday speaking about U.S. policy toward Yemen. “Two months ago, a number of experts on Yemen wrote an open letter to President Obama arguing that there is a perception that the United States is singly focused on AQAP to the exclusion of Yemen’s broader political, economic, and social ills,” Brennan said, referencing the Yemen Policy Initiative letter coordinated by the Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the Project on Middle East Democracy. The letter, which can be found here, recommended that the president reevaluate the drone strikes strategy while providing Yemen with political, economic, and humanitarian support so the country can achieve long-term stability. ”President Obama understands that Yemen’s challenges are grave and intertwined,” Brennan said. “He has insisted that our policy emphasize governance and development as much as security, and focus on a clear goal to facilitate a democratic transition while helping Yemen advance political, economic, and security reforms, so it can support its citizens and counter AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula].”
The State Department also issued a fact sheet highlighting U.S. government assistance to Yemen. U.S. assistance for Yemen is projected to total $337 million for FY 2012, which includes development and transition assistance toward electoral reform, improving service delivery, providing youth with civic opportunities, and job creation.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni government has reportedly foiled a plot by an al-Qaeda linked group to carry out attacks in Sana’a. The Defense Ministry also said seven militants were detained in Jaar, where a suicide bomber killed 45 tribal fighters earlier in the week.