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Old 12-27-2009, 10:53 AM
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Exclamation Lieberman: Yemen is 'tomorrow's war' if pre-emptive action not taken

Lieberman: Yemen is 'tomorrow's war' if pre-emptive action not taken

By Jordan Fabian - 12/27/09 09:53 AM ET
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Sunday said that Yemen could be the ground of America's next overseas war if Washington does not take preemptive action to root out al-Qaeda interests there.

Lieberman, who helms the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the U.S. will have to take an active approach in Yemen after multiple recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. were linked back to the Middle Eastern nation.

The Connecticut senator said that an administration official told him that "Iraq was yesterday's war, Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."

Lieberman, who is known to be hawkish on security issues, said that Yemen needs to be a focal point because two recent attacks were linked back to a growing al-Qaeda presence there.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan -- the Army officer who killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in November -- was linked to Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric now based in Yemen.

The senator said that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of attempting to set off a plastic-explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Friday, "reached out to Yemen" but was "not sure" if he contacted al-Awlaki.

Abdulmutallab reportedly told authorities he traveled to Yemen and met al-Qaida figures there.

The U.S. earlier this month launched cruise missiles at two al-Qaeda targets in Yemen. The attacks represented a major escalation of U.S. efforts against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), also on Fox, agreed that preemptive strikes should be "one [option] we ought to be considering" but added that "it's a big, complex subject."

Concerns about Yemen as a breeding ground for extremists have quickly grown since Christmas Day, when Abdulmutallab attempted his attack but was foiled by passengers and crew.
Lieberman praised the Obama administration for reaching out to the government in Yemen about extremism there. But he said that the administration should not release the 90 Yemenis now being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The White House is attempting to close down the base by releasing some detainees and eventually transferring others to a facility in Illinois.

Lieberman also keyed in on internal improvements on security watch lists, saying the government should cast its net wider in order to stop potential terrorists from boarding planes.

"We have to be able to, in our age, put 500,000 names on a computer and have everyone that's trying to come to the U.S. go through that list," he said. "That doesn't mean they're convicted of any wrongdoing, but it would be basis enough to take this guy out of the line in Amsterdam and do a full body check."

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Old 12-27-2009, 11:04 AM
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Al-Qaida in Yemen Threatened US

Sunday, 27 Dec 2009 11:20 AM

An Al-Qaida operative in Yemen threatened the United States and said "we are carrying a bomb" in a video posted online four days before the botched Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight.
The video does not contain any clear evidence that the speaker was anticipating Friday's attempt, but it has attracted scrutiny because of reports that the bombing plot may have originated in Yemen.

The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the attack claimed he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives there, U.S. law enforcement officials said, and a key American lawmaker has said there are "strong suggestions" of a Yemen connection.

In a Dec. 21 video, the al-Qaida operative delivered a eulogy for militants killed in a Yemeni airstrike on a militant training camp four days earlier. The speaker said he had no agenda against Yemeni soldiers, but warned them against cooperating with Americans.

"We are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of God," the speaker says.
"O soldiers, you should learn that we do not want to fight you, nor do we have an issue with you. We only have an issue with America and its agents, and beware of standing in the ranks of America," he says. "You should not defend these regimes. The soldiers and even Obama cannot put out the light of Islam."

The video was posted on extremist Web sites affiliated with al-Qaida. The Web sites identified the speaker as Mohammed al-Kalwi, an al-Qaida activist reportedly killed in another airstrike on Thursday.

The video showed the bearded militant, wearing a a headdress and green military-style jacket over a long Arab robe, addressing a group of armed followers as he stood atop a car. The followers repeatedly interrupted the fiery address with calls of "God is great."

IntelCenter, a Virginia-based group that monitors extremist activity, said in a report that it was not certain the speaker knew about the airliner plot ahead of time. It said planning for the botched attack likely took place long ago, but it would be plausible for a member with knowledge of the plot to foreshadow an operation.

The United States has grown increasingly concerned about al-Qaida activity in Yemen, a largely lawless country where militants have been able to organize and train. The U.S. has provided some $70 million in military aid to Yemen this year, and last week's two deadly airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen were carried out with U.S. and Saudi intelligence help.

Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee, said there were "strong suggestions of a Yemen-al-Qaida connection and an intent to blow up the plane over U.S. airspace."

On Saturday, the U.S. Justice Department charged Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with willfully attempting to destroy or wreck an aircraft and placing a destructive device in the plane.

It said Abdulmutallab set off the device as Northwest Flight 253 descended toward Detroit Metropolitan Airport sparking a fire instead of an explosion.

IntelCenter said staging attacks outside the Arabian peninsula would be a "significant escalation" in activities by al-Qaida branches based in the area.

It noted that an al-Qaida magazine in the Arabian peninsula published an article in October that encouraged its activists to make their own explosive devices, and that the necessary ingredients were easily and cheaply available.

It quoted one leader, Emir Abu Basir al-Wahishi, as discussing targets and methods for hiding devices in belts and electronic devices.

He urged militants to target "airports of the Western Crusader states that took part in the war on Muslims, or in their airplanes, residential areas or underground trains."

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