Escalation

U.S. Beefs Up Yemen Presence

In response to the growing threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—the terrorist group behind the Christmas bomber and the recent cargo-bombing plot—the U.S. is expanding its training and intelligence operations in Yemen. Currently, the U.S. depends heavily on Saudi Arabia for its intelligence gathering operations. There is substantial debate among U.S. officials on how to move forward, some calling for establishing forward operating bases with small deployments of American Special Ops forces and trainers to help the Yemenis exert more control over far-flung tribal areas. Yemeni officials would be highly reluctant to sign off on such a move. Saudi intelligence out of Yemen was vital for thwarting the cargo-bombing plot.