Yemenis suspicious of use of intelligence

March 25, 2010 at 11:54 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, March 25 (UPI) -- Yemen needs to tread carefully with its intelligence partnership with Washington or risk undermining public support, political analysts said.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh welcomed James Clapper, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for intelligence, to the Yemeni capital Monday.

Yemen gained dominance on the U.S. intelligence radar following a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger jet Christmas Day. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the plot.

U.S. intelligence information helped Yemeni forces target al-Qaida targets in the south of Yemen in December and again in March.

But Abdullah al-Faqih, a Yemeni political science professor, told National Public Radio that there was concern about how the government was using U.S. intelligence information.

"Many civilians were killed (in December strikes)," he said. "And we are not sure even a single ... al-Qaida leader was hit."

Yemeni strikes last week hit targets in the south of the country where government forces are trying to suppress a violent separatist movement.

Faqih said there was concern that the government was using U.S. intelligence to target the opposition, not al-Qaida.

"So again, the Yemeni government needs the aid, definitely," he said. "But it also needs someone to watch out for what it does."

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