According to The New York Times on December 27:
Washington "has quietly opened (a) largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen," using CIA operatives and Special Operations commandos, according to an unnamed Agency official. Writers Eric Schmitt and Robert Worth call the country:
"a refuge for jihadists, in part because (the) government welcomed returning Islamist fighters who had fought in Afghanistan during the 1980s. (These) militants have made much more focused efforts to build a base in Yemen in recent years, drawing recruits from throughout the region and mounting attacks more frequently on foreign embassies and other targets."
Washington has close relations with Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's ruling despot. From 1978 - 1990, he was president of the Yemen Arab Republic, and since then headed the united Republic of Yemen. During the Cold War, America backed the Islamist regime in the North against southern secular nationalists aligned with the Soviets. In the country's 1994 civil war, former Yemeni Afghan fighters helped Saleh secure the power he still holds.
Washington recruited him for its expanded regional wars. They cause great loss of lives, wider instability, an unsustainable expense, and leave vital homeland needs unmet, but are a bonanza for the war profiteers fueling them and others to follow for a sure-fire stream of blood money.
Up the ante in Afghanistan and Pakistan, entanglement in Yemen, then perhaps confront Iran with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs saying on November 27:
"Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out. If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and consequences." Apparently a "package of consequences" are planned, according to another unnamed official.
Air attacks may be one of them with New York Times support. On January 10, chief diplomatic correspondent, David Sanger, reported on US - Israeli talks over the past year about possibly striking Iran's nuclear sites as well covert sabotage efforts "to undermine electrical systems, computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies."
Like Judith Miller's press agent role for the Pentagon in the run to the Iraq war, Sanger is a notorious Pentagon and State Department conduit, so his reports read more official propaganda than legitimate journalism - a longstanding Times pro-war, pro-business, anti-labor bias going back decades, and very evident now.
On December 23, The Times gave Alan Kuperman, Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program director at the University of Texas, op-ed space to headline, "There's Only One Way to Stop Iran," and he doesn't suggest diplomacy.
He says Obama should welcome Iran's rejection of his nuclear deal because it "did not require Iran to halt its enrichment program," even though it's in full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) giving Washington and other nations no right to stop it.
Yet Kuperman insists Iran will likely divert its surplus higher-enriched fuel to weapons, and President Ahmadinejad "initially embraced the deal because he realized it aided Iran's bomb program."
However, "peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be foolhardy, (so Washington) faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons."
IAEA inspections show no proof of a secret nuclear weapons program, and former IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said in February 2009 said "many other countries are enriching uranium without the world making any fuss about it."
Five days before he retired on November 27, he told Reuters: