As worries swell
over Al-Qaeda's presence in Yemen, the U.S. has closed its embassy in
that country citing concerns that the terrorist network was planning an
attack on the compound.
According to U.S. officials, Al-Qaeda has "grown in strength" in Yemen
and has several hundred members there. However, closing the embassy hasn't
come without controversy. While some say the pullout shows the U.S.
military is spread too thin, others say it demonstrates
weakness and a lack of willingness on the Obama administration's part
to confront Al-Qaeda. Here's the scoop:
- It's a Prudent Step, Plain and Simple, says John Brennan, President Obama's counter-terrorism chief, on NBC's Meet the Press: "There are indications that Al-Qaeda is planning to carry an attack inside the capital of Yemen...Both the U.S. and British embassies have been closed to give the Yemeni government an opportunity to thwart that threat in the plans that are afoot right now...We know that they've been targeting our embassy, our embassy personnel, and we want to make sure that we do everything possible to safeguard our diplomats and others that are down there. So that was the prudent step to make."
- It's a Sign of Weakness, says William Kristol on Fox News: "No one wants State Department officials put at risk, but that is a sign of weakness." Laying blame on the Obama administration, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, asks "We can't protect our own embassy in Yemen, a place where we have special operations forces? A place we say we're working with the government on the front lines of the war on terror? And there's a terror threat, and we close the embassy? That's a victory for al Qaeda."
- It's a Sign of Imperial Overstretch, writes John Aravosis at Americablog: "The pot of money isn't endless. This is the cost of George Bush, and Joe Lieberman's, war in Iraq. We lost a trillion dollars that we could have used for lots of other things."
- Whatever It Is, Let's Not Send More Detainees There, writes Thomas Joscelyn at The Weekly Standard: "Given the ostensible ties between former Gitmo detainees and previous attacks and plots against the embassies in Yemen, it is natural to ask: What role are former Gitmo detainees playing in the current threats? ...Yet, the Obama administration is apparently determined to make more suspect transfer decisions. Just this morning, John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, told CNN that the Obama administration is still committed to transferring Yemeni detainees to the cesspool that is Yemen."