WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said Tuesday there were no plans to suspend US military assistance to Yemen but urged a swift transition of power amid a wave of anti-regime protests.
Asked at a news conference if the US administration was considering withholding military aid due to unrest and violence against demonstrators, press secretary Geoff Morrell said: “As far as I know, it has not been (considered).”
“Obviously, we are monitoring the situation closely. It’s fluid,” Morrell said.
Tensions are running high in Yemen after 24 people were killed in anti-regime unrest, with European governments condemning violence by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime.
Washington had viewed the autocratic leader, in power since 1978, as a valuable ally in its fight against Al-Qaeda in the region but the United States shifted its stance this week, urging Saleh to peacefully relinquish power.
“The situation right now is a difficult one, the longer it festers the more difficult it becomes,” Morrell told reporters.
“That is why this government has been urging a negotiated transition as quickly as possible.”
He said the threat from Al-Qaeda in Yemen was serious and suggested US military assistance would continue no matter the outcome of the political turmoil.
Once there is a political settlement, “we will be able to better collectively go after this threat that exists in Yemen,” he said.
In 2010, the Defense Department spent $150 million to train and arm Yemen?s security forces and has requested from Congress more than $100 million for the current fiscal year and $115.6 million in military and economic aid for 2012.
Morrell said there was no evidence to show that weapons supplied by the United States had been used by the regime against demonstrators.
The White House on Monday expressed fears that Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country could take advantage of a power vacuum produced by the upheaval.
Western officials believe Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen was behind a failed plot to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit in 2009 and an attempt to detonate explosives last year on a cargo plane bound for Chicago.
In Yemen, Saleh’s official response to opposition demands to step down and hand over to his deputy for an interim period has been to urge protesters to dismantle their roadblocks and go home.
Saleh has said he is willing to step down by the end of this year, but his ruling General People’s Congress party has defiantly said he should serve out his term until 2013.
Miami-Dade cop relieved of duty after punching irate woman at Florida airport
A bad situation turned worse, after a woman missed her flight at Miami International Airport. When police were called, things got even worse.
According to the Miami Herald, body-camera footage, which surfaced Wednesday evening, showed the officer hitting the woman yelling at him.
“You acting like you white when you really Black...what you want to do?” the woman without a mask says.
She then stepped very close to the officer, putting her face against his and that's when he struck her in the face.
Appellate Judge says Mary Trump’s tell-all book can be released
Yesterday, a judge paused Mary Trump's tell-all book on President Donald Trump and his family, but Wednesday evening, a New York appellate judge ruled that Simon & Schuster could move forward with releasing the book.
According to the New York Times, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man will be released in four weeks, on schedule.
"Justice Alan Scheinkman’s ruling, however, put off addressing a central aspect of the bitter spat about the manuscript that has been roiling all month in the Trump family: whether, by writing the book, Ms. Trump violated a confidentiality agreement put in place nearly 20 years ago after a struggle over the will of her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., Donald Trump’s father," the report said.
Trump staff had an inquisition for healthcare workers for Tulsa rally — demanding to know if they leaked staff COVID story
President Donald Trump was so incensed that the media learned of his staffers who caught COVID-19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he had a kind of inquisition for healthcare workers to investigate if they linked the story.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that those familiar to his reaction said that outside of the BOK center, Trump campaign staff were being tested before the event. When the information was released, they scrambled, quizzing who leaked the information about the positive cases.
Healthcare workers were "then given a different list of people to test, according to two people with direct knowledge of the events who, like others in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations," said the Post.