Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 7 News List

US strategy in Yemen failing: officials

OPERATION UPHEAVAL:Since the fall of the US-backed Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi government, US forces have reduced their operations significantly, the officials said


CIA drone strikes would continue, the officials said, but there would be fewer of them.

The agency’s ability to collect intelligence on the ground in Yemen, while not completely gone, is much diminished.

There have been just four US drone strikes reported in Yemen this year, according to Long War Journal, a Web site that tracks the attacks. That is about half the pace that last year resulted in 23 strikes over 12 months.

What is less clear is whether AQAP will be able to take advantage of the situation to renew its active plotting against Western aviation.

The group has successfully put three bombs on US-bound jets, none of which exploded.

In 2012, the CIA, along with British and Saudi intelligence services, used a double agent to obtain a new design by AQAP’s master bombmaker of a device made to slip past airport security.

On Capitol Hill, there was bipartisan concern about the intelligence gap that could be created by the tumult in Yemen and the withdrawal of US personnel.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that the US was continuing to coordinate with elements of Hadi’s embattled government, which has been pushed to the port city of Aden in Yemen’s far southern end.

“The United States continues to have assets and resources in the region that will allow us to take steps where necessary to continue to apply significant pressure to extremist targets and to keep the American people safe,” Earnest said.

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