Al-Qaida Wanted Attack to Disrupt Mideast Power Balance

President Barack Obama's approach to counter-terrorism looked awfully different Tuesday than it did two months ago, when the president declared of the war on terror that "this war, like all wars, must end." In the face of al-Qaida plans for a major terrorist attack that would change the balance of power in the Middle East, on Tuesday the U.S. suddenly pulled government personnel from Yemen at dawn, and the State Department warned of an "extremely high" risk of a terrorist attack there. But back in May, in a major terrorism speech, Obama urged Americans to rethink their approach to terrorism as "a series of persistent, targeted efforts" rather than "a boundless 'global war on terror.'" His speech then wasn't a declaration of victory, however, and the warnings Tuesday on risks in Yemen underscored that fact. Nineteen U.S. embassies remained shuttered after intelligence agencies intercepted a communication between two top al-Qaida leaders in which they agreed they "wanted to do something big," sources told NBC News.

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