The Washington Post reported last Wednesday that unnamed U.S. officials say CIA analysts now regard Al-Qaeda in Yemen as “the most urgent threat to U.S. security.

Though the Washington Post announces this as news (“For the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks” . . . “The sober new assessment”), it isn’t. On December 21st, 2009, Max Fisher reported on the Atlantic Wire that “many analysts fear that Yemen is on the edge of becoming an international crisis point on the scale of Afghanistan.” December 24th, 2009, Lolita Baldor of the Associated Press reported on the U.S. move into Yemen as the result of

“a strategy shift that occurred about a year ago, when the United States determined that the two key centers in the fight against al-Qaida are Yemen, located on the southern tip of the Saudi Arabian peninsula, and Pakistan.”

Then, on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2009, the Washington Post reported U.S. forces killed al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The newer articles this week, coming some 20 months after the “strategy shift” of December 2008 or thereabouts, prepare U.S public opinion for further escalations of its involvement in Yemen.

U.S. officials, speaking anonymously, also “insisted there would be no letup in their pursuit of Osama bin Laden and other senior figures thought to be hiding in Pakistan” (Washington Post) because “al-Qaeda and its allies in the tribal areas of Pakistan are supremely dangerous adversaries.” That, or supremely useful adversaries. These days, however it is too difficult to keep track of all the places where U.S. combat forces are working, since many of them are hidden, and there are U.S. bases in hundreds of countries. (See “imperial overstretch.)

“If Osama bin Laden did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

American proverb

Since the Christmas Day bombings of 2009, the Yemeni government has not letup its own terror campaign in the countryside claiming the people out there are operatives of al-Qaeda. In the War on Terror one does not become al-Qaeda through known associations, but rather through proximity and resemblance.

Surprisingly, Barack Obama said nothing about “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” in his August 30th speech on Iraq. But you can always count on the networks to say something.