US, Yemen at Odds Over Counterterror Strategy

US doesn't want to get involved in a Yemen civil war
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2011 10:56 AM CDT
Defected soldiers stand guard next to the site of a demonstration by protesters to demand the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – The US and Yemen shared a counterterrorism victory with the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, but behind the scenes, relations are growing tense. Yemen complains the US isn’t helping fight al-Qaeda-affiliated militants within its borders, while the US has publicly called for Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster, and is wary of getting involved in a brewing civil war, the Washington Post reports. “There’s no more training. There has been no more ammunition or equipment,” complained one Yemeni general. “Gradually their support is becoming less and less.”

The US fears Saleh will use its help against his domestic foes—one diplomat says there’s evidence that US-trained counterterror troops have been used against anti-government tribesmen. “The line between … a terrorist as opposed to a domestic opponent is a fuzzy line,” admits one US official. But “we’re not going to invest in capabilities that are going to be used against peaceful protesters." So the US is increasingly favoring air and drone attacks to take out terrorists instead.

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