22 April 2010

Pentagon Pumping Yemeni "Special" Forces

We're still not sure if that's "special" as in "special forces for counter-terror activities", or "special" as in "special ed."

The Pentagon plans to boost U.S. military assistance to Yemen's special operations forces to lead an offensive targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, officials said on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February authorized $150 million in security assistance for Yemen for fiscal 2010, up from $67 million last year, but the Pentagon has offered few details about the highly sensitive program.

Officials briefed on the matter said the Pentagon informed Congress that it would provide $34 million in "tactical assistance" to Yemen's special operations forces.

"Special Operations forces are uniquely qualified for counterterrorism missions," a U.S. defense official said of the funding. "The United States wants to work with partners in the region to address their terrorist threats."

In addition, $38 million will provide Yemen with a military transport aircraft, officials said. The Pentagon is drawing up detailed spending plans for the rest of the program, which is expected to focus on boosting Yemen's air transport capabilities.

By: Brant

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