As Yemen Interior Minister Abdul Qader Qahtan met with U.S Under-Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs, Rand Deers in the capital, Sana'a on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation, local media outlets allege the White House is planning to set up three military bases on Yemeni territory -- Aden and the islands of Socotra and Meoun --
U.S Embassy Public Affairs Officer Lou Fintor was not available for comments at time of publication.
Such allegations actually date back to 2011 when Bahrain uprising posed a very real threat to America's 5th Fleet - biggest U.S naval outpost in the Middle East with 40 vessels and close to 30,000 personnel. If indeed Bahrain monarchy was to be deposed and replaced by a Shia-led regime with strong ties to Iran, the United States of America would suddenly become an unwanted host in Bahrain waters, hence the strategic fall back to Yemen. By its geo-strategic position, Yemen would be an ideal military outpost -- overlooking the straight of Hormuz and on Bab al Mandab oil route with an opening to the Red Sea --
Rumors the White House was planning to set up a permanent military presence throughout Yemen only increase with the rise of al-Qaeda in the region and a breakdown in security on the wake of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's departure from power.
Although the U.S extended Yemen on more than one occasion a helping hand, having agreed to increase its volume of aid for 2012 and 2013 as to meet the nation's most pressing needs, Yemenis across the political board are wary a permanent American military presence will flare anti-U.S sentiment and play in the hands of radical groups, such as al-Qaeda in the region.