By Colum Lynch
UNITED NATIONS — A reinvigorated al-Qaeda has made “alarming” advances in Yemen, expanding its military control over several southern towns and launching a series of brazen attacks that threaten the U.S.-backed political transition there, a senior U.N. envoy warned the Security Council in a confidential briefing earlier this week.
“The scale of these attacks serves as a stark reminder of the security threat posed by al-Qaeda,” Jamal Benomar, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, told the 15-nation council Wednesday, according to a copy of the briefing notes obtained by The Washington Post. “Despite all counterterrorism efforts, al-Qaeda in Yemen has not retreated.”
Members of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, as the group’s Yemen branch is known, have been “intensifying their attacks” against government targets since the election last month of Yemen’s new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Benomar told the council. Hadi, the former vice president, replaced Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years in power in a transition brokered by Arab leaders and supported by the United States.
On inauguration day, Feb. 25, al-Qaeda struck a presidential palace in the provincial capital of Mukalla, killing 26 officers. More recently, Benomar said, al-Qaeda has launched a series of attacks on military bases in the south, killing more than 180 soldiers and capturing heavy weapons. Dozens of soldiers, he added, were reportedly paraded through the town square of Jaar, which has been held by al-Qaeda for several months.
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LUANDA — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked Angola on Feb. 27 to provide helicopters for peacekeeping missions in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
“As you know, several of our peacekeeping missions, including [the U.N. Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo] in DRC and [the U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan] in South Sudan, they suffer from a lack of military helicopters. I would appreciate it if your government” could assist, Ban said during a meeting with Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti in Luanda.
“The secretary general asked the Angolan government to consider providing military assets, including helicopters, to U.N. peacekeeping,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told journalists.
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A report Saturday said that the United States was planning to intervene militarily in Syria, with or without United Nations authorization.
By David Lev
A report Saturday said that the United States was planning to intervene militarily in Syria, with or without United Nations authorization, if the killing in the country continued. A senior American official quoted in the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper said that the action would be based on the UN intervention in Kosovo several years ago: Establishment of a beachhead and carving out an area that was off-limits to forces controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, where refugees could come to flee Assad’s troops, and which could be used as aforward base to reduce Assad’s hold on the country, and eventually remove him.