Yemen Offered U.S. Forces 'Open Door'

Few countries in the Arab world would voluntarily invite the United States military within their borders, but in 2009 the president of Yemen did exactly that—in secret, of course. According to the cables released by WikiLeaks, President Ali Abdullah Saleh informed the U.S. that its forces had unrestricted access to his country to run unilateral strikes against suspected al Qaeda targets. "I have given you an open door on terrorism,” he told Washington in September 2009, “so I am not responsible.” In practice, however, access has been somewhat restricted, and Saleh publicly denied American involvement to assuage his domestic critics. Still, the U.S. conducted two separate attacks on Yemeni soil last December, killing dozens of civilians along with wanted terrorists. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh told the U.S. at the time.