World News Brief, Wednesday December 30

Obama vows to bring airline plotters to justice; Al-Qaeda using Yemen for training as it exploits local politics; Did US raid kill Afghani boys or men? Egypt: Netanyahu serious about peace talks; and more

Top of the Agenda: US Vow to Track Down Terrorists

President Obama has ordered his national security team to "keep up the pressure" on terrorists who seek to attack the United States, and vowed not to rest until those responsible for the plot to bring down an American airliner on Christmas Day are brought to justice. "We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle, and to defeat the violent extremists who threaten us," Obama said, "whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the US homeland."

A group calling itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for planning the failed attack, which intelligence officials now believe may have been among the most serious threats to the United States since 9/11 (WashPost). In a statement posted on a militant website, AQAP said it sought to avenge (al-Jazeera) US-supported operations in Yemen. Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a number of attacked in recent months, including an assault on the US Embassy in Yemen's capital in 2008.

Revelations that the Nigerian man charged in the Christmas Day plane plot had support from al-Qaeda in Yemen has put new focus on militancy in that troubled country. British intelligence sources report Yemen is becoming a hub for Britons to train (Guardian), a trend al-Qaeda is seeking to exploit (Times). Concerns about Muslim militancy in Nigeria are also on the rise, writes CFR's John Campbell.


The Guardian's Hugh Macleod, reporting from Yemen, writes that al-Qaeda has become adept at exploiting social and political grievances in the troubled nation.

In the United States, congressional leaders and Obama administration officials are laying the groundwork for what could be a lengthy review (CSMonitor) of post-9/11 security systems once Congress returns to work in January.


Al-Jazeera has background on the group that has claimed responsibility for the failed attack.

Online writings, believed to be from the Nigerian suspect, reveal a deeply troubled and lonely Muslim man, the Washington Post reports.


PACIFIC RIM: North Korea Detains American

A human rights activist who crossed into North Korea last week has been taken into custody (WSJ). The man, Robert Park, a Korean-American from Arizona, was said to be carrying a letter calling for the north to open its borders to international aid groups. His detention comes four months after former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang to secure the release of two U.S. journalists detained by the north.

China: China's role in stabilizing the world economy topped the year's list of economic news in China, reports the Global Times newspaper.



Peace Talks Underway in Cairo
US-Afghan Raid Questioned
Dozens Dead in Nigerian Clash


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