Washington Post: Bomb Plot Shows US Right to Target Yemen

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 01:58 PM

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The discovery of another underwear bomb plot shows that the United States is right to attack terrorists in Yemen, The Washington Post wrote in an editorial.

“The recovery of a sophisticated bomb that U.S. officials believe was intended to be used in a suicide attack against the United States has underlined the reality that the war against al-Qaida is not yet over — and that it will not necessarily end, as President Obama suggested this last week, in Afghanistan.”

The bomb plot was apparently the idea of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based in Yemen. The group is also responsible for the Christmas Day 2009 underwear bomber attack and an attempt to put packages laden with explosives on cargo planes in 2010.

The latest plot was uncovered because a mole was able to work his way inside the group. The informant was a Saudi who turned the explosive device over to authorities. Officials told the Post that the CIA tracked the bomb’s movements and then launched a drone strike that killed suspected plotters.

“The United States has carried out about 30 drone strikes and airstrikes in Yemen, according to the Long War Journal, a Web site that tracks drone operations,” the Post wrote. “But the militants still have the potential to use the territory they control to prepare and launch attacks against the U.S. homeland, which is why the Obama administration now describes AQAP as the most active and threatening branch of al-Qaida.

“It also explains why the White House recently authorized an expansion of drone attacks in Yemen. In addition to targeting designated leaders connected to plots against the United States, the new authority allows strikes against militants who are believed to be preparing attacks but whose identities might not be fully known.”

The Post noted that the strikes are controversial and critics call them “extra-judicial executions,” a term that suggests “those targeted are criminals who should be subject to the U.S. legal system.”

“Most important, the latest bomb plot should make clear that AQAP is an armed group attempting to wage war against the United States,” the Post concluded. “Drone strikes alone will not eliminate the threat: The United States must also aim at the political and economic stabilization of Yemen. But President Obama is not only justified in responding with military force, he is obligated to do so in order to defend the country.”

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