October 25, 2007

Does George Bush Approve of the Pardon of Cole Bomber Al-Badawi?

Yes or No? We really can't have any ambiguity on this issue. The following article says US embassy in Sana'a has not commented on Jamal al-Badawi's pardon. Bush owes a comment to the families of those sailors killed in the bombing and to every member of the US military.

Jamal Al-Badawi was originally sentenced to death as lead planner of the USS Cole bombing in which 17 US sailors died and 49 were injured. The sentence was reduced to 15 years. He escaped twice, the last time in February 2006. He has been on the loose since. He spent less than three years physically inside a jail, where by the way, he was very well treated. He recently returned home after promising not to launch any more attacks in Yemen.

The Cole bombers who are not dead or in US jail are free. The threat posed by this reconstituted al-Qaeda cell with support from the tribal regions, access to state resources, operational experience, international connections, and ideological motivation is enhanced by the complete lack of a counter-terrorism environment in Yemen. The state is actively appeasing them. Considering they already blew up an American warship, target selection would tend toward the spectacular if they decided to become operational again.

Frances Townshead who is currently in Yemen reportedly praising President Saleh said about a year ago that Yemen is an inconsistent partner in the WOT, and this is true. A third of the time, Saleh supports the US, and two thirds of the time, Saleh supports al-Qaeda.

The news of the glowing praise by Bush of Yemen's efforts on the counter-terror front is coming from the official news sources, which are nothing more than a propaganda machine. I don't know if Townshead made any public comments or if this all regime spin. If it is spin, the US needs to unspin it. If its not, the US is in much worse shape than I thought. I thought they might wake up a tad when it came out that Abu Bakr al-Raibi was never actually in jail, just transported to and from his house to court in prison clothes.

We know that large segments the pipeline of Yemeni suicide bombers to Iraq are under the control of a variety of Yemeni state officials and are aided by state resources. The reason the Yemeni administration is partially co-opted by al-Qaeda is that the jihaddis fought for Saleh in the 1994 civil war, after they returned from fighting for bin Laden in Afghanistan. They were later rewarded with state positions. These Bin Laden loyalists are currently in the PSO and the military and in a variety of high level positions, governorships for example. Jihaddis in ties, with a budget and a clerical staff.

But its all Syria's fault for letting them in. Not poor Ali's fault. Poor poor Ali Abdullah Saleh, he needs to appease the militants. He doesn't really *want* to, he has to, weak institutions and all that. Bullsh*t.

The Yemen Times is down at the moment, so to follow is the full article, not just the link.

SANA’A, Oct 24 — US President George W. Bush praised Yemen for its success in the field of combating terrorism.

This came in a message to President Ali Abdullah Saleh conveyed by the assistant to President Bush for Internal Security and Combating Terrorism Affairs, Francis Townsend.

In his message, President Bush confirmed his country’s support for Yemen in development, education, military, security, and fighting against terrorism.

Townsend’s visit to Yemen, which began on Monday, comes following a similar visit to Saudi Arabia, where she conveyed a message to King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz from the President Bush. The American official left Yemen on Tuesday.

In related news, General Staff of the Central Security Forces Mohammed Saleh held a meeting in Sana’a on Tuesday with a number of security representatives from the United States of America, United Kingdom and a number of African countries over issues related to cooperation among these countries in combating terrorism.

During the meeting, Saleh said Yemen is ready to provide assistance and expertise in this area in the light of agreements and protocols signed in this field.

The meeting came after a week fugitive Al-Qaeda suspect Jamal al-Badawi, who was convicted of bombing the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 American sailors, has surrendered himself to Yemen’s authorities.

According to AFP, Badawi, who featured on a US list of most-wanted terrorists with a five-million-dollar bounty on his head, had been allowed to return to his home in the southern port city of Aden in return for a pledge not to engage in any violent or Al-Qaeda-related activity.

The American Embassy in Sana’a has not commented on this news yet.

Badawi was sentenced to death in September 2004 for the 2000 bombing of the US Navy destroyer Cole off Aden, which was claimed by Al-Qaeda, but an appeals court later commuted the sentence to 15 years in jail.

Badawi was among 23-suspected Al-Qaeda militants who escaped from a prison in the Yemeni capital in February 2006.

Two escapees remain at large. The others have either given themselves up or were arrested or killed by security forces.

Yemen-US cooperation

The beginning of the terrorism combating cooperation between U.S and Yemen came when Cole was attacked in October 2000. The United States administration started the security cooperation with the Yemeni government to apprehend those who were involved in the Cole attack and to establish their links with Al-Qaeda.

However, that cooperation did not extend to include support for security apparatuses and development of their capabilities. The situation continued in this manner until 11th of September 2001, when Yemen became “ U.S partner to fight terrorism”.

Since that time, the U.S. declared that it would start to cooperate with Yemen on military and counter terrorism issues and simultaneously to assist Yemen in improving its governance capabilities and its efforts of economic reform.

Analysts say Yemen’s success in fighting against terrorism depend getting foreign support to develop the rule of law, economic development, civil service reform, education, and health care.

Experts are worried that Yemen will remain subjected to state failure due to economic weakness unless it undertakes significant changes.

U.S.-Yemeni cooperation includes counter terrorism training for Yemeni military forces, enhancing the role of the coast guard authorities and the provision of equipment and training for Yemen’s Terrorist Interdiction Program.

By Jane at 08:00 AM | Comments |