BBC Arabic Exclusive Interview with Yemeni Chief of Staff in the Central Security Forces Yahia Abdellah Salah

Published December 27th, 2009 - 10:11 GMT

In an exclusive interview with BBC Arabic TV, the Yemeni Chief of Staff in the Central Security Forces -- son of Yemini President -- admitted the problem that Yemen is facing remains with Al-Qaeda sympathizers rather than with Al-Qaeda itself.

"Al-Qaeda takes the Americans presence in Iraq as a pretext", said brigadier Yehia Mohammed Abdallah Saleh, and that "Al-Qaeda's religious prologue pretending to target Zionism in Palestine aims only at enlisting popular support".

Regarding the government's priority if it had to choose between fighting Al-Qaeda operatives or its ideology, Brigadier Saleh pointed out that "a special security unit that combines both anti-terrorism and public safety responsibilities has been created". "Al-Qaeda needs to be confronted on many levels, so as to counter balance their rhetoric as well as their economical and intellectual endeavors. This can be achieved through protecting human rights and democracy, and then standing up to Al-Qaeda militarily".

Whether or not he considered Yemen to be feeble, the military commander said "Al-Qaeda is trying to weaken Yemen thinking it could operate unchecked if it cooperated with the Huthies to undermine the country". He also appealed for international support to empower Sana'a "not only for the sake of Yemen but the entire Gulf region".

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