January 4, 2010
First in Yemen...
Yemeni security forces apparently 'lost track of' six trucks heavily laden with arms and ammunition, causing the closing of US, UK, and French Embassies in the Capital Sanaa, reports the BBC in its today's editions. The news reports said, "It (the closings) comes after threats from an al-Qaeda wing linked to an alleged plot to blow up a transatlantic plane over the US. Yemeni government sources, meanwhile, said their forces had shot dead two militants north of Sanaa."
"A Yemen-based group called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) last week urged attacks on "crusaders" in embassies, as it claimed an alleged attempt to bomb a US airliner on Christmas Day. "
"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. "
Read the complete story here.
The Yemeni Government, meanwhile, is reporting the killing of two suspected al-Qaeda leaders near Sanaa, reports al-Jazeera in today's editions. In that report, the Foriegn Minister, Abu Baker al-Qirbi, commented, " Yemen is going to deal with terrorism in its own way, out of its own interests, " al-Qirbi said in reponse to a rumor that the US might intervene. "I don't think it (the US) will counterfire. The negative impact on Yemen is if there is direct intervention of the US and this is not the case."
There is much media attention on Yemen these days as they seem to be becoming a focal point of terrorist training and events, such as the attempted bombing of the Delta jet headed from Amsterdam to Detroit. That government will be under increasing pressure to clean up its act, especially by Saudi Arabia which, while it doesn't much like American bases and troops, does like the security, funds, and arms that US leases provide.
Read this story in al-Jazeera.
Meanwhile in Egypt...
Palestinian president Abbas met with Egyptian President Mubarak this past weekend, and both leaders apparently agreed to demand cessation of further settlement buiulding before a new round of negotiations with Israel will occur.
Reuters, in today's editions, has Abbas suggesting that a summit be held between Israel, The Palestinians, and Egypt as a means of moving the talks off dead center. He does not want to have another meeting with Netanyahu that appears to leave the palestinians nothing while Israel gets more publicity. Nor does he want to seem soft before elections that might reduce the infuence of Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman are due to go to Washington on Friday for talks on the proposed initiative. mediator former Senator George Mitchell is also scheduled to go to the Middle East Shortly, but any chances of his gaining broader acceptance of negotiations without a stoppage of the settlements is unlikely.
Then in Dubai....
The largest skyscraper in the world is scheduled to open this week in Dubai. The Burj Dubai Tower stands at 2,625 feet and will be the tallest in the world. That may not be the final height. Total cost - $20 Billion.
That's it for today.