Yemen rejects US role in fight against Qaeda

Yemen, the poorest Arab country, was thrust into the foreground of the US-led war against Islamist militants after a Yemen-based wing of the al-Qaeda said it was behind a Christmas Day attempt to bomb a US-bound plane.

Asked by CNN whether Yemen would accept direct US intervention, Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said: “No, I don’t think we will accept that. I think the US, as well, have learned from Afghanistan and Iraq and other places that direct intervention can be self-defeating.
“We think this is the priority and the responsibility of our security forces and the army,” Qirbi told the US news channel.

Yemeni authorities launched an operation this week to root out al Qaeda militants, who, they said, were behind threats that forced Western embassies to close. The raid, which killed two militants, allayed US concerns and allowed its heavily fortified mission to reopen.
“What we need from the US and other partners is to build our capability to provide us with the technical know-how, with the equipment, with the intelligence information and with the firepower,” Qirbi said.

Yemen has sent troops to take part in a campaign against the al-Qaeda in three provinces over the past four days. A security source said forces had set up extra checkpoints on main roads.

Yemeni forces surrounded a suspected al-Qaeda regional leader near the capital on Wednesday, and have captured eight rank-and-file al-Qaeda militants in recent days, security sources said.

Placed strategically on the Arabian Peninsula’s southern rim, Yemen is trying to fight a threat from resurgent al-Qaeda fighters while a Shi’ite revolt rages in the north and separatist sentiment simmers in the south.

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