WASHINGTON ó The evacuation of 125 United States Special Operations advisers from Yemen
in the past two days is the latest blow to the Obama administrationís counterterrorism campaign, which is already struggling with significant setbacks in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the volatile region, American officials said Sunday.
The loss of Yemen as a base for American counterterrorism training, advising and intelligence-gathering carries major implications not just there, but throughout a region that officials say poses the most grievous threat to United States global interests and to the country itself.
The rapid rise of the Islamic State
has commanded the immediate attention of President Obama and other Western leaders in the past year. But American officials say that Al Qaeda
ís affiliate in Yemen, which includes the most potent bomb maker in the terrorist world, still poses the most direct threat to Americans at home, abroad or aboard commercial aircraft. Since 2009, the United States has thwarted at least three plots by the group to bring down airliners.