Another Example of Our Great Arab “Allies”
Posted by Joshua Price on October 30, 2007
This is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Washington — The United States is reconsidering some aid to Mideast ally Yemen after the reported release of a convicted leader in the fatal terror bombing of a U.S. warship. Yemen scrambled Monday to say the suspect is in custody.
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States is raising the case of Jamal al-Badawi with Yemen.
“This was someone who was implicated in the Cole bombing and someone who can’t be running free,” he said. “He needs to be in jail.”
Separately, the Millennium Challenge Corp., a U.S. agency that distributes foreign aid based on nations’ track records for good government, canceled a ceremony set for Wednesday to inaugurate a $20.6 million grant to Yemen.
The agency is reviewing its relationship with Yemen, including the country’s commitment to the rule of law, in light of al-Badawi’s reported release, an MCC official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the review is not complete.
The MCC notified Yemen of the cancellation on Friday, the same day the White House blasted Yemen for reportedly releasing one of the al-Qaida masterminds of the 2000 Cole bombing, which killed 17 sailors.
Yemen’s embassy in Washington released a statement Monday “clarifying” that al-Badawi is in custody. The statement did not address the MCC ceremony or a Yemeni government official’s assertion last week that al-Badawi had been released.
“Jamal al-Badawi was never a free man,” an embassy official said.
Statements issued in Yemen on Sunday had also said that al-Badawi was in government hands.
None of the Yemeni statements spelled out where or under what circumstances al-Badawi is detained, but a State Department official said Monday that an employee of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen saw al-Badawi in a jail cell in Aden on Monday. Earlier, U.S. officials had suggested al-Badawi might have been only under house arrest or other loose government control.
Witnesses had told the Associated Press last week that al-Badawi was at home and greeting well-wishers in Aden, the port city where the bombing took place. It was not clear Monday whether al-Badawi was under house arrest or making a government-supervised home visit at the time. It was also unclear when he was returned to a jail cell, or whether U.S. pressure played a role.
The Yemeni embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe a law enforcement matter, said al-Badawi had been under government control since Sept. 16. That was apparently when al-Badawi, who had escaped from prison along with 22 others in 2004, turned himself in.
Al-Badawi, who is wanted by the FBI, was convicted in 2004 of plotting, preparing and helping carry out the Cole bombing. He received a death sentence that was commuted to 15 years in prison.
A senior security official in Yemen had said Thursday that al-Badawi was granted his freedom after pledging loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Yemen considers itself a strong partner with the United States in the fight against terrorism, and U.S. officials say Yemeni intelligence services have been helpful since the Cole attack. At the same time, U.S. officials grumble about what they call a history of lax detention policies that may have helped al-Badawi escape in 2004.
Here’s another example of a so-called Arab ally in the War on Terror doing something counter to helping us. I’m sure the Washington elite will say that Yemen has been a wonderful and helpful ally in the war, but this is another piece of evidence showing how our Arab “allies” are stabbing us in the back. The list is growing: United Arab Emirates, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. Yeah, with friends like these who needs enemies?