Last week, the Obama administration reversed its policy of support for
President Abdullah Ali Saleh and told him it was time to negotiate
terms for his departure with the opposition.
The Saudis stepped in thereupon and told Saleh to ignore Washington
and hold tight because from now on, he could count on Saudi-led GCC
backing taking the place of the United States.
This was Riyadh’s first public demonstration of the new policy as
exercised in the Arabian Peninsula. It was followed, according to our
exclusive counter-terror sources, by intensive consultations between
the Yemeni president and Saudi intelligence chiefs who visited the
palace in Sanaa, and at least two top-level conversations between King
Abdullah and the Yemeni president.
US special forces and CIA operations suspended in Yemen. The upshot was dramatic and never until now revealed.
Late last week, a communication from President Saleh reached
Washington announcing the suspension of US special forces’ operations
at their secret base near the port city of Hodeida and the hold-up of
covert CIA activity against Al Qaeda in Yemen.
In other words, American forces are banned from using Yemeni soil or
its Red Sea waters as bases for striking Al Qaeda terrorists in
This is the first time that fallout from Arab Revolt – called by some
the Arab Spring – has impaired America’s war on Al Qaeda. It has
increased the danger that terrorists hiding in Yemen, the most
notorious of whom is the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is
connected to at least three terrorist attacks, including the Fort Hood
shooting, will be free to resume their attacks in the United States.
That is just one of the side-effects of Saudi King Abdullah’s new policy.