Clinton heads to Yemen in secret trip (+ analysis); Brisbane evacuation as flood waters rise in Queensland; Afghan reconstruction boss resigns amidst incompetence claims; Pressure for Portugal bailout grows as Euro bank intervenes; and more
Top of the Agenda: Clinton in Yemen for Surprise Visit
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made an unannounced trip to Yemen (WSJ) in an effort to strengthen military relations and advance counterterrorism cooperation in the region. In particular, Washington is eager to ramp up the fight against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist offshoot group suspected of several anti-US attacks, including the failed 2009 Christmas Day plot (BBC) over Detroit. Experts suggest the trip may also be useful in repairing bilateral relations that have been strained since WikiLeaks disclosed information about controversial US-Yemen missile strikes (Reuters). In addition to military concerns, Clinton said the United States is "committed to a balanced approach toward Yemen, which includes social, economic, and political assistance." US officials say that military aid to the country is expected to reach $250 million this year. In addition to terrorism, Yemen faces a variety of internal problems, including crippling poverty, a Shiite rebellion (AP) in the north, and a secessionist movement in the south.
The reemergence of Yemen as a terror risk to the United States underscores the difficulties in combating al-Qaeda in weak states, says CFR's Richard A. Falkenrath.
In this piece for ForeignPolicy.com, Daniel Byman distinguishes between al-Qaeda's ability to recruit and its knack for absorbing other terrorist groups.
Yemen is under increased US scrutiny amid concerns that it could become a hotbed for al-Qaeda-based international terrorism. But some experts say US counterterrorism involvement in Yemen could provoke a negative backlash.
PACIFIC RIM: Historic Flood Waters Threaten Queensland
Australian officials are encouraging residents of Brisbane (BBC) to evacuate ahead of floods expected to peak later this week. The disaster has affected some 200,000 people across the region and caused billions of dollars in damage.
China: According to a Hong Kong-based expert, the Chinese military completed the maiden voyage of its first radar-evading stealth aircraft (NYT). The flight came just hours before US Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with the Chinese president.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org