The United States has admitted that “there’s no question” its counterterrorism efforts in Yemen “have been affected” by the country’s political instability, following the takeover of the government by Houthi rebels last week.
“Doing counterterrorism in a foreign country, it’s always better to do it when you have an effective, reliable partner,” Pentagon Spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby (above) observed.
“Right now, that partner, the country, the Yemeni security forces and the government to which they report is very much in flux.” Kirby added that he “wouldn’t say that there’s been no adjustments made,” but gave no further details on any changes to US operations in Yemen, where Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are believed to be based.
“We continue to conduct some training, and we continue to have the capability, unilaterally if need be, of conducting counterterrorism operations inside Yemen,” he affirmed, adding that the Yemeni security forces remain part of that training. “We’re watching the situation very closely, and monitoring it every single day, if not every single hour,” Kirby said.
The Obama Administration has ramped up its use of drone strikes in Yemen – as the counterterrorism capability of choice – to take out suspected militants, but the killings have come under fire from activists and human rights organizations.