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Mideast unrest complicates terror fight

By Stephen Braun

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Feb. 6 2011 3:10 a.m. MST

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2011, file photo a supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh rally, holding his portrait, in Sanaa, Yemen, after the president said he would not seek another term in office or hand power to his son. This in an apparent reaction to protests in this impoverished nation inspired by Tunisia's revolt and the turmoil in Egypt. The unrest engulfing Arab streets and threatening authoritarian governments in the Mideast is complicating U.S. counter terrorism efforts, further shaking the volatile battleground against al-Qaida in Yemen.

Hani Mohammed, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — The unrest engulfing Arab streets and threatening authoritarian governments in the Mideast is complicating U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

Experts says that U.S. counterterrorism officials need to move quickly to firm up relationships with veteran Mideast intelligence and security services in the aftermath of momentous changes. They say confusion over who will take the reins of power could hamper quick decision-making.

The experts question whether over the long term the U.S. will be able to work closely against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations if important U.S. allies cede power to Islamist groups, such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

The uncertainty comes amid growing American concerns following a string of failed attacks plotted in Yemen and al-Qaida's home base inside Pakistan.

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