Yemeni Forces Say They're Ready to Take On Al Qaeda

ABC News got a close up look at Yemeni forces preparing to take on al Qaeda.

Jan. 5, 2010— -- After the Obama Administration announced over the weekend that it would double the almost $70 million in counterterrorism funding this year that Yemen received in 2009, the Yemeni military appears to be springing to fast action against al Qaeda.

ABC News was invited to take a front row seat by the man who commands the Yemeni security forces, Brigidier General Yaheh Saleh.

For close to an hour, we watched Yemeni security forces marching across the dusty grounds at a military base in southern Yemen.

It reminded us of a scene many years ago, with fledging Iraqi soldiers, who marched out of uniform and out of sync. But today, these Yemeni forces seemed professional and motivated.

Watch our World News report.

Saleh, the American educated nephew of Yemen's president, gave a fiery speech.

"We will sacrifice our blood and souls to fight Al Qaeda," he declared.

Al Qaeda first used Yemen to help launch attacks against the U.S. nine years ago, when U.S. officials say suicide bombers rammed a speedboat packed with explosives into the USS Cole, killing 17 sailors.

After the Cole bombing in Aden Harbor, the Yemeni government was fairly successful in its counterterrorism efforts, with the help of the United States, observers said.

But today, once again, they need American help.

"Every time things get worse, we get support more," Saleh said.

U.S. Army Special Forces are providing the training, drones are providing aerial surveillance, and officials say cruise missiles have provided firepower.

This week's aggressive raids against hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives just 20 miles from the capital, San'a, left the nephew and teenage son of a top leader dead.

U.S. officials say they believe this is not just for show.

"They are geared up for a fight," one said. Indeed, a fight that will likely take many years.