WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement on the death of Anwar al-Awlaki:
“Anwar al-Awlaki’s death represents a major blow to the strength of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This is another victory against terrorists who have targeted the U.S. I thank the intelligence officials and service members who are working tirelessly to keep us safe and target terrorists wherever they try to hide. Al-Awlaki was a high-profile figure, whose anti-American teachings were broadcast over the internet to extremists around the world. Al-Awlaki was also known for preaching in mosques attended by 9/11 hijackers. The death of al-Awlaki will limit al Qaeda’s ability to reach a global audience and to recruit potential terrorists.
“Yemen’s continuing instability poses a significant threat to U.S. national security. Yemeni terrorists have been linked to multiple attacks against Americans in recent years. Counterterrorism is a critical component of U.S. foreign policy in Yemen, and we must be vigilant in working to prevent al Qaeda from gaining a stronghold in the country.
“In a country where vast political, security, humanitarian and development challenges continually converge, the U.S. must endeavor to formulate short-term and long-term policies to achieve our core national security goals. In order to effectively combat the threat of Yemen-based terrorism, the United States and the international community should work to address the political and economic challenges Yemen faces. The U.S. must engage with all nonviolent and democratic-oriented elements of Yemeni society and be prepared to work with a representative government that emerges during the coming months to address the common threat of terrorism.”
Senator Casey chaired a hearing on United States policy in Yemen in July 2011, in which he highlighted the growing threat of terrorism and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country. He also authored an op-ed, published in the Harrisburg Patriot-News on July 30, which examined the impact of instability in Yemen on United States national security. The full text of that op-ed is available here.