The London Times reports:
“The Pentagon is drawing up urgent plans for increased military cooperation with Yemen, including possible retaliatory strikes against al-Qaeda targets, according to US officials engaged in a high-stakes bid to neutralize Islamist militants without enraging the Arab world.The Guardian reports a similar process:
The Obama Administration, caught out by the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines aircraft, is reviewing every possible response and has not ruled out military strikes if targets linked directly to the failed attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab can be identified. Future strikes could involve the use of US drones, fighter jets and ship-launched cruise missiles.
“We are going to work with allies and partners to seek out terrorist activity [and] al-Qaeda,” Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said. The US military has formidable firepower on permanent standby in the form of carrier battle groups stationed in Bahrain, and unimpeded access to Yemen from bases in Djibouti and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.”
"First we have to find out who put Abdulmutallab on the plane with the bomb," said a US official working alongside intelligence organizations. "He's providing some leads and we're not dealing with an unknown quantity here. We've been watching and listening to what goes on in Yemen and we may have pieces of the puzzle already and just need to fit it together.
"If and when we identify them then we plan how to deal with them. Who they are is one thing, where they are is another. If they're still in Yemen and we can get a lock on them then it won't be too difficult to know what to do. But they know who they are and won't be standing out. After that we can move with the president's authorization. I don't think there's much doubt that authorization will be forthcoming, but no one should think all of this is going to happen overnight."We won’t waste time explaining why pure retaliation is a political and military error in Yemen, having done that enough for the time being. Maybe we’ll ring in Chinese New Years with those fireworks, but sadly no social progress.