Washington has quietly been supplying military equipment, intelligence and training to Yemeni forces
By Patrick Cockburn
"......Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, admitted yesterday that the growing US presence in Yemen includes Special Operations, Green Berets and intelligence. In 2009, the Pentagon provided Yemen with $67m (£42m) in overt counter-terrorism assistance; officials have proposed expanding that in 2010.
Mr Lieberman, who recently visited Sanaa, said a US official there told him that "Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act pre-emptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."
The Yemeni government will do what it can to show willing to the US in pursuit of al-Qa'ida. But the threat to its own existence comes from various directions: first, the civil war it is fighting with Shia revivalists – who it claims are backed by Iran – in the northern province of Saada; then secessionism in the south sparked by discontent over the outcome of Yemeni unification in 1990 and the civil war that followed; and finally a growing economic crisis as Yemen's small oilfields, which provide revenue, are running out.
Pressure from the US to pursue al-Qa'ida will be one extra strain on a government which has been unable to cope with these multiple crises."