We have some interesting stuff from a DoD news briefing delivered yesterday by Major General John F. Sattler, USMC. He’s the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
This task force is carrying out operations in support of the war on terrorism in, obviously, the Horn of Africa region — that’s Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Yemen. It’s about 1,500 people large, including command staff.
The excerpt that interested me is as follows:
Q: General, this is Jim Mannion of AFP. I was wondering if you could describe the scope of the al Qaeda presence in Yemen up in the port area along Saudi Arabia; andalso, whether al Qaeda has been using Saudi territory as a haven and whether the Saudis have been cooperative in pursuing them? Thank you.
Maj. Gen. Sattler: The countries that we have responsibility for, obviously Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, but we are in no — we are not — our specific Combined Joint Task Force is not working directly with the Saudi government. Now, we’ve received information and intelligence across the entire inter-agency process so that we do get intelligence from other parts of the world that we’re able to take and fuse with our analysts on board the ship here to help build that jigsaw puzzle that now indicates who’s moving where and when.
Not sure what to make of that; I’m not a professional DoD watcher or anything. One way to read it is the slightly paranoid “Yeah, they’re not getting jack from the Saudis.” Another way to read it is the slightly placid “OK, so the Saudis are cooperating and everyone’s following procedure and they get the info as needed.” Your guess is probably as good as mine as to which is accurate, if either.
Still, it bears watching. He didn’t say “We’re getting intelligence from the Saudis through the inter-agency process.”