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Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Another war: this time in Africa?
By Salman Ansari Javid
Eight-and-a-half years after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. administration along with Western media are teaming up once again to scare citizens that another terrorist attack is imminent and the only way to stop is through another war: this time in Africa.
The unsuccessful attempt on Christmas day by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has prompted widespread security measures in the airports all over the world, especially on U.S. bound flights. According to reports Abdulmutallab got his training and explosives from al-Qaeda elements while on a trip to Yemen.
The Bush administration managed to disproportionately respond to the 9/11 attacks by invading Afghanistan and Iraq by sowing the seeds of fear in American minds. As the first two episodes of “wars on terror” still remain unresolved, now there is talk of another one.
The questions being asked in various blogs and Western media include: “When do we go to war in Yemen?; Or “Next U.S. war front?” or “With locals failing to stop al-Qaeda, America’s hand may soon be forced,” … and so on.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Monday that the regional instability in Yemen is a threat to global security.
President Barrack Obama returned from vacation on Tuesday and was due to hold a meeting with his top security officials concerning the security lapse surrounding Abdulmutallab, whose father had warned the U.S. Embassy in Yemen regarding his son’s radicalization before his botched attempt.
The U.S. embassy in Yemen reopened on Tuesday following announcement that Yemeni security forces killed to al-Qaeda suspected of formulating attacks on U.S. and UK embassies. Now there are fears of a backlash as the Yemeni government is seen to be cooperating too openly with the U.S.
In the past seven months the U.S. and UK governments have extended financial and military aid in training Yemeni police force on anti-terror tactics and equipment.
Meanwhile the UK, French, German, Czech and Japanese embassies remain closed.
The Obama administration officials announced Sunday that citizens from 14 nations will be subject to indefinite intensive screening at the American airports. These countries include: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.
Nigeria declared U.S. security measures unfair.
There is an ongoing controversy over body scanners, which opponents say reveal contours of the body, invading privacy. While the proponents say it’s a trade-off between security and privacy, opponents claim that it is tantamount to strip search.
According to a BBC report the nationals from the above-mentioned 14 countries can be subject to extra-precautionary measures while on flight: Cannot see the flight map; no blanket; and suspected passengers should remain seated one hour before landing.
With all these security measures, the question remains whether a U.S. military intervention will be deemed necessary or not. Hopefully Obama will not make the mistakes his predecessor did.