Monday, January 04, 2010

Embassies Closing in Yemen Due To Terror Threat

First, the US and British closed their embassies in Yemen as a result of ongoing intel warning of potential attacks against their embassies and staff. Now, additional countries have closed their embassies in response.
France closed its embassy in Yemen to the public Monday, citing ongoing threats from al Qaeda.

The decision came a day after the United States and Britain closed their embassies in Sanaa, the country's capital, entirely.

A French foreign ministry spokesman told CNN that embassy employees will continue their work, but without any visits from the public. The spokesman said the ministry was not acting on a specific threat.

Japan, meanwhile, halted service Monday at the consulate section of its embassy in Sanaa. The Japanese foreign ministry said the decision was based on the threat of terror, though not a specific threat. The embassy continued functioning.

A senior official in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration told CNN late Sunday that the closure of its embassy was because of a specific, credible and ongoing threat. No additional details were provided.
Yemen, for its part, claims that they've taken out several additional terrorists who were responsible for ongoing threats.

I don't think anyone considers Yemen's counter terrorism activities to be up to snuff, considering that Yemen has been a safe haven to al Qaeda for more than a decade and that high level al Qaeda, including one of its top ideologues and recruiters, Anwar al Awlaki, have been operating with impunity for years.

So what caused the shutdowns? The BBC reports the alert was sparked by reports that six trucks carrying explosives went missing. In addition to the US, UK, Japan, and France, Germany has also closed their diplomatic facility.
The US shut its embassy in Sanaa on Sunday, citing "ongoing threats" by the militant organisation, and the UK followed suit.

On Monday, France shut its Yemen embassy, Japan suspended its consular service in Sanaa, and Spain restricted public access to its mission there.

According to Yemeni media, it comes after six trucks full of weapons and explosives entered the capital, and the security forces lost track of the vehicles.

Britain said on Sunday the shutdown was for unspecified security reasons.
Just what exactly were the Yemeni authorities doing in merely tracking those vehicles? Who owned the vehicles? What was their origin? Did they have any idea of the destination? Who was in the vehicles, and what was their original purpose? Lots of questions, and no good answers.

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