Washington: The Pentagon is planning to restart programmes that would fund military training and equipment in Yemen, nearly a year after they were shut down because of escalating chaos in the embattled country. (Agencies)
While no agreements have been cemented, US defence officials said as much as USD 75 million in military assistance could begin to flow later this year.
The officials said the Pentagon and State Department are putting together a letter to send to Congress to request the aid be restarted.
The plan is in line with the Obama administration's intention to provide significant security and civilian aid to Yemen in 2012-13 as long as the Middle Eastern country continues to move toward a new government and funding is kept out of the hands of insurgents.
One senior military official said discussions have begun over how best the United States can help Yemen, which is putting a new US-backed government in place. The official said it may be difficult to relaunch the counterterrorism training that was suspended about a year ago because Yemeni forces are engaged in battle with the al-Qaida-linked insurgency.
Instead, the training program could shift to focus less on fighting tactics and more on how to plan combat operations and strategize against the enemy.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no final decisions have been made. Yearlong protests across Yemen, coupled with pressure from the US, led to the ouster of longtime Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.
US leaders have said they believe that newly inaugurated Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, will be a good partner to the US The renewed effort come as the threat from al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula also goes through its own transition.
While often described as the top terror threat for strikes inside the US, the group hasn't surfaced as a key player in any domestic threats for more than a year.
The killing in a US drone strike last fall of Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born radical militant cleric, has set back the group's terror efforts outside Yemen.
Al-Awlaki has been linked to the planning and execution of several terror attacks targeting US and Western interests, including the attempt to take down a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009 and the plot to bomb cargo planes in 2010.
But it's hard to tell how long the lull may last. "What we don't necessarily know is are they going to be focusing much more on Yemen, or is it a short term thing, to be able to build up time and capacity to be able to strike at a far enemy," said Frank Cilluffo, director of a homeland security studies program at George Washington University who served as White House domestic security adviser to President George W Bush.
Washington: The Pentagon is planning to restart programmes that would fund military training and equipment in Yemen, nearly a year after they were shut down because of escalating chaos in the embattled country.