7,427. 9/6/2009

From coverage of classified State Department documents exposed by WikiLeaks: "The president of Yemen secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets, the leaked US embassy cables reveal. In a move that risked outraging local and Arab opinion, Ali Abdullah Saleh told [President] Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, John Brennan, in September [6] 2009: 'I have given you an open door on terrorism. so I am not responsible,' according to a secret dispatch back to Washington. In reality, despite the offer of an 'open door,' Yemen has restricted access for US forces in order to avoid playing into the hands of Saleh's domestic critics. The cables expose for the first time the true scale of America's covert military involvement in the Arab world's poorest nation amid deep concern in Washington that it has become the haven for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap). …While Saleh's government publicly insists its own forces are responsible for counter-terrorism operations, the cables detail how the president struck a secret deal to allow the US to carry out cruise missile attacks on Aqap targets. The first strike in December last year, which killed dozens of civilians along with wanted jihadis, was presented by Saleh as Yemen's own work, supported by US intelligence."

 – Robert Booth and Ian Black, “WikiLeaks Cables: Yemen Offered US ‘Open Door’ to Attack al-Qaida on its Soil,” The Guardian, Dec. 3, 2010,

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