The United States and Europe are pressuring oil-rich members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GGC) to forge closer ties with Yemen in a bid to link the fight against al-Qaida to tangible economic benefits for the Arab world's poorest nation.
U.S. officials say the Obama administration recently conveyed to GCC leaders Yemen's reiteration of its 10-year-old request for GCC membership. The officials believe that U.S. and European endorsement of the request will prompt GCC leaders to respond more favorably when they meet in Abu Dhabi in December.
The U.S. and Europe are exerting pressure against the backdrop of an increasing number of attacks in Yemen on foreign diplomats and nationals. Suspected operatives of al-Qaida's Yemen-based affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), last week fired a rocket at a British embassy vehicle in the capital San'a. Employees of Austrian energy giant OMV were injured in a separate incident. The attacks on foreigners follow scores of incidents targeting Yemeni military and government officials. AQAP has killed some 100 Yemeni security and intelligence personnel in recent months in hit-and-run attacks launched by assassins on motorcycles using grenades and AK-47s.