The Middle East Newsline has confirmed the U.S. Central Command, responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, has determined that al-Qaida poses a threat to the six Gulf Cooperation Council states as well as neighboring Iraq and Yemen. It says al-Qaida, flushed with success in Afghanistan, has sought to expand its presence throughout the Gulf region.

“We face, in this region, a number of inter-related threats and challenges from trans-national to state-centric, to those who blur the lines between the two,” Centcom chief Gen. David Petraeus said. “At the transnational level, violent extremism is, needless to say, the most pressing challenge. Al-Qaida and its affiliates pose the greatest such threat to many states in the region.”

In a conference in Manama, Centcom commanders reviewed threats to U.S. allies in the Gulf. The command envisioned an increasing al-Qaida threat amid the global economic crisis, particularly in Yemen.

“Such approaches involve significantly more than the application of just military or kinetic action,” Gen. Petraeus said. “In fact, they must do far more if they are to address not just the symptoms of current challenges, but also their underlying causes. The lack of sustainable economic development in certain parts of this region, for example, is not just a social or humanitarian issue. It is a serious security concern as well.”

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The three-day conference, which ended on Friday, also reviewed Centcom cooperation plans in the Gulf. Officials said a key partner would be the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

“We will continue to work with our partners in the region to respond to these challenges and help ensure peace and stability in the region,” Fifth Fleet commander Vice Adm. William Gortney said. “U.S. naval forces have operated in the region for six decades, and we’ll be here for many more to come.”

Anti-piracy operations would remain a key element in expanding U.S. military cooperation. They said the need to combat Somali-based piracy in the Arabian Sea and Red Sea would bring together most GCC states as well as Yemen.

“The complex threats that we face at sea require cooperative solutions,” Vice Adm. Gortney said.

David Bedein can be contacted at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.