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article imageU.S. to expand clandestine military activity in Middle East, Iran

By Andrew Moran     May 25, 2010 in World
Washington - According to several defense officials and military documents, a top United States commander in the Middle East has ordered the expansion of covert operations in the Middle East, including Iran and Yemen.
During the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva last month, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh explained that President Barack Obama is being “dominated” by the U.S. military on the important issues in the world and that he is following the policies of the Bush administration when it comes to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The New York Times reports that according to numerous defense officials and military documents, the U.S. is expanding its clandestine military activity in the Middle East in order to disrupt or counter several militant threats in the region.
Officials stated on Monday that the issue was ordered by General David Petraeus, who manages the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the situation in Iran, in September and included the authorization to boost military and intelligence assistance to help the Yemeni government to combat al-Qaeda insurgents. It also included the increase in unmanned aerial vehicles to gather information and track high-valued terrorists.
In February, Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved $150 million in assistance for Yemen, which is up $67 million from the previous year, reports Reuters. Majority of funds would help boost Yemen’s special operations against al-Qaeda in the country.
The seven-page report, according to Al Jazeera, includes gathering intelligence in Iran about its nuclear program and to gain information about various opposition groups that could help U.S. efforts in the country.
Other Pentagon officials have a number of concerns about an expansion of secret operations. Many worry that the operations could strain relations with Saudi Arabia or incite more anger hatred from nations like Syria.
The expansion also includes countries like Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
White House and Pentagon spokespersons have declined to comment on the directive.
More about United States, Covert operations, Middle East
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