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On Christmas Day, Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab ttempted to detonate explosives aboard a flight that originated in Amsterdam, Holland, and was bound for Detroit, Migichan. The attempt was foiled by fellow passengers.
It has since come to light that the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, traveled to Yemem, a country grappling with crushing poverty, a deadly insurgency, and a growing al-Qaida presence. It appears that he joined an affiliate of al-Qaida and that this group, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, trained him and equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America.
This is not the first time that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has attacked American interests. In recent years, the group has bombed Yemeni government facilities and Western hotels, restaurants and embassies, including the American embassy in 2008, killing one American. As a result, the United States made it a priority to strengthen its partnership with the Yemeni government, training and equipping their security forces, sharing intelligence and working with them to strike al-Qaida terrorists.
President Barack Obama said the results were evident before the failed Christmas Day attack. Training camps have been struck, leaders eliminated, plots disrupted. “And all those involved in the attempted act of terrorism on Christmas Day,” said President Obama, “must know, you too, will be held to account.”
The United States, said President Obama, is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. The U.S. will do whatever it takes to defeat al-Qaida and defend itself. That’s why the U.S. has dramatically increased its resources in the region where al-Qaida is based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The mission, said President Obama, “is to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies and prevent their return to either country.”
At the same time, President Barack Obama said, “I will do everything in my power to make sure our hard-working men and women in our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities have the tools and resources they need to keep America safe.”