BAGHDAD – U.S. Sen. John McCain warned Tuesday that al-Qaida is using Yemenincreasingly as a base to launch attacks around the world and called on Washington to help the Arab country expel the terror network.
McCain and fellow Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who both visited Yemen in August, told reporters on a one-day trip to Baghdad that the United States needed to help Yemen build up its economy.
"We cannot allow Yemen to be a base for al-Qaida to mount attacks on other countries in the region as well as the United States," said McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.
"The government of Yemen is going to need our help in combating al-Qaida. There needs to be significant effort made at improving their economy."
McCain and Lieberman were speaking, with fellow senators John Barrasso and John Thune, at a media conference at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone.
Lieberman said an American who was working in Yemen had warned him during the August visit that "Iraq was yesterday's war, Afghanistan is today's war and if we do not act preemptively now, Yemen will be tomorrow's war."
Long-standing concerns that Yemen has become a haven for Islamic terror groups materialised on Christmas Day when a Nigerian man allegedly trained in Yemen was charged with trying to blow up a U.S.-bound jet.
© AFP 2013