[Congressional Record: August 5, 2009 (Senate)]
[Page S8857-S8860]

                           SITUATION IN YEMEN

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I would like to take a few moments to bring 
to the attention of my colleagues the burgeoning threat of a potential 
safe haven for extremists in Yemen. As I am sure is true of many of my 
colleagues, I continue to monitor the press reports surrounding the 
future of the Yemeni detainees currently being held at the Guantanamo 
Bay detention facility. However, what I believe too few people are 
following is the growing threat of Yemen becoming a failed state and 
potential safe haven for members of al-Qaida.
  A recent New York Times article, ``Some in [al] Qaeda Leave Pakistan 
for Somalia and Yemen,'' highlighted the growing concern within the 
U.S. Government about relocations of some al-Qaida operatives to Yemen. 
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy also highlighted the 
growing threat in Yemen in a recent paper, ``Waning Vigilance: al 
Qaeda's Resurgence in Yemen,'' that discusses how the threat in Yemen 
has simmered in recent years and urgently needs the attention of 
policymakers. Mr. President, I will ask that the New York Times and 
Washington Institute for Near East Policy articles be printed in the 
Record following my comments.
  To appreciate fully the concerns about Yemen's stability, it is 
important to recall the association of terrorist activities with Yemen. 
It is perhaps best known as the site of the U.S.S. Cole attack in 
October 2000. But Yemen is also one of the top sources of foreign 
fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the source of weapons trafficked into 
Gaza, and the country of origin of almost 100 of the remaining 
detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. It was also where 
many mujahedeen returned to after the Soviet withdrawal from 
Afghanistan and, often forgotten, it is the ancestral home of Osama bin 
Laden. Further, in 2008, the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital of 
Sana'a was attacked twice--first by a mortar attack and the second time 
by highly trained terrorists using vehicle-borne improvised explosive 
devices, small arms, and suicide vests.
  Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair also highlighted the 
significance of the situation in Yemen earlier this year in testimony 
before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Director Blair testified 
that losses within al-Qaida's command structure since 2008 have been 
significant and that sustained pressure against al-Qaida in the 
Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA, of Pakistan may eventually 
force it to vacate the FATA. He stated that it is conceivable that al-
Qaida could relocate to the gulf where it could exploit a weak central 
government and close proximity to established recruitment, fundraising, 
and facilitation networks.
  Yemen is the type of country the Director is concerned about, and, 
for good reason. I would direct my colleagues to the most recent issue 
of Foreign Policy magazine, which ranks Yemen 18th on its failed states 
index, an annual index based on 12 indicators ranging from availability 
of public services to demographic pressures to refugee and internally 
displaced populations. The failed state index additionally says of 
Yemen: ``a perfect storm of state failure is now brewing there: 
disappearing oil and water reserves; a mob of migrants, some allegedly 
with al Qaeda ties, flooding in from Somalia . . . ; and a weak 
government increasingly unable to keep things running.''
  The article goes on to suggest what many Yemen observers have been 
saying for years: ``Yemen is the next Afghanistan: a global problem 
wrapped in a failed state.'' Report after report reaches the same 
conclusion about--Yemen--it is a failing state with all the makings of 
an extremist safe haven. I believe it is critical that we monitor this 
situation closely; fund developmental and counterterrorism assistance 
for the Government of Yemen at robust levels; and urge the Obama 
administration to engage actively with the Yemeni Government. The 
consequences of inaction can be seen right across the Gulf of Aden in 
  For its part, the administration has increased its focus on this 
threat. Earlier this year, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Deputy 
Director Stephen Kappes reportedly met with Yemeni President Ali 
Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a to discuss security and counterterrorism 
cooperation. This visit is one of many that the CIA and National 
Security Council officials have made in recent months, and in addition 
to a visit by General Petraeus shortly after taking command at U.S. 
Central Command.
  All of these visits confirmed that the political landscape in Yemen 
remains fragile. Throughout his decades of rule, President Saleh has 
successfully balanced the various political forces in Yemen--tribes, 
political parties, military officials, political elites, and radical 
Islamists--to create a stable ruling coalition that has kept his regime 
intact. While in many cases this stability has been purchased via 
corruption and payoffs, in cases where groups and/or individuals have 
not been willing to join President Saleh, he has used law enforcement, 
military, and intelligence services to manage threats to stability. In 
recent years, al-Qaida has entered into the political landscape and 
complicated this delicate 30-year balance. President Saleh has 
addressed this situation by reportedly reaching understandings with al-
Qaida that it would be left alone to recruit fighters if it did not 
attack the Yemeni Government.
  In the Washington Institute for Near East Policy article I mentioned 
earlier, the author makes a number of points that underscore this 
delicate balancing act and the role of al-Qaida in the political 
landscape of Yemen. The author argues that the Yemeni Government is 
preoccupied, and its security services overtaxed by increasingly 
violent calls for secession from the south, threats of renewed fighting 
in the north, and a faltering economy that is dependent on revenue from 
rapidly dwindling petroleum reserves.
  Between 2002 and 2004, the Yemeni Government, largely with U.S. 
assistance, was able to disrupt al-Qaida-inspired terrorist activity in 
Yemen. However, in recent years, a new generation of militants, with 
either experience in Iraq and Afghanistan or time spent in the Yemeni 
prison system, has emerged. This new generation of militants is 
inclined to target the Yemeni Government itself, in addition to foreign 
interests in Yemen.
  The start of this resurgence was a 2006 jailbreak, in which 23 
convicted terrorists escaped from a prison in the capital of Sana'a. 
Escapees from this jailbreak formed the core of a new group, al-Qaida 
in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, which is led by a 2006 escapee whose 
deputy is a former Guantanamo detainee. While many Yemen observers 
believe that AQAP is not yet strong enough to topple President Saleh's 
regime, it is capable of striking high value targets; contributing to 
instability across Yemen; and recruiting individuals to strengthen its 
ranks. The ideological demands of AQAP are

[[Page S8858]]

familiar: release militants from prison; end cooperation with the 
United States; renounce democracy; and implement a strict form of 
sharia law.
  If al-Qaida operatives and their leadership in Pakistan look for a 
new home, Yemen will seem attractive. As in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 
it has large areas of naturally defensible land where President Saleh's 
regime has little authority; a robust tribal structure that could host 
relocating operatives; and a security infrastructure which lacks the 
capacity to defend Yemen's sovereign territory. It is also worth 
mentioning that these same tribes, in some cases, share the hard-line 
views of these relocating al-Qaida operatives and are inclined to help 
enlist their own family into AQAP's efforts. This reality only 
complicates further the work of President Saleh in balancing 
counterterrorism efforts and the survival of his regime.
  In June 2007, al-Qaida officially announced its rebirth in Yemen with 
a suicide attack on a convoy of Spanish tourists. Since then, the 
organization has grown stronger and its attacks more frequent. In 
January 2008, it launched a series of attacks, culminating in the 
assault on the U.S. Embassy in September 2008. Earlier this year, a 
pair of suicide bombers targeted South Koreans, attacking first a group 
of tourists in the countryside and then the officials sent to 
investigate. Just last month, AQAP demonstrated that it is also 
adopting the kidnapping for ransom tactic, which has proven profitable 
for other terrorist groups. And, just last month, the Associated Press 
reported that security was upgraded in Yemen's capital after 
intelligence reports warned of attacks planned against the U.S. Embassy 
and other potential targets. In response, the Yemeni chief of 
intelligence has reportedly directed an increase in security around 
diplomatic missions in the capital and elsewhere in the country. The 
culmination of these developments gives the AQAP the ability to attract 
relocating foreign fighters and broaden its operational reach.
  The United States is by no means the only player in the country. 
Saudi Arabia provides the most assistance to Yemen, some of it via 
official channels to the government and some portions of it 
unofficially. A myriad of countries are involved in the Yemeni energy 
sector, and Russia and China are the Yemeni Government's major arms 
suppliers. To complicate matters further, Yemen's tribal leaders, 
powerful within the Yemeni political landscape, are suspicious of U.S. 
policy in the region. These tribal leaders are often the proxies used 
by President Saleh, Saudi Arabia, and others interested in influencing 
the government and other elites.
  Over the past several fiscal years, Yemen has received on average 
between $20 and $25 million annually in total U.S. foreign aid. For 
fiscal year 2009, the U.S. provided over $40 million in assistance for 
Yemen, an increase from its $18 million aid package in fiscal year 
2008. Between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2007, Yemen also 
received approximately $31.5 million from the U.S. Department of 
Defense's section 1206 account to train and equip Yemeni 
counterterrorism units. The Obama administration also recently sent to 
Congress a new package of 1206 funded projects, which includes $65 
million in counterterrorism assistance for various Yemeni military 
units. The recently passed fiscal year 2009 supplemental included $10 
million for the U.S. Agency for International Development to support 
U.S.-sponsored rural engagement measures, focused on civil affairs 
activities and civilian capacity building in the ungoverned regions of 
  While these programs are important and need to be funded, Yemen 
observers have expressed frustration with how little ``bang for the 
buck'' the U.S. gets for its financial assistance to Yemen on 
counterterrorism operations. This is one area where I hope the 
administration will continue to press the Yemeni Government. In the 
past, the Yemeni Government has complained that the United States has 
provided them with insufficient assistance. However, based on the most 
recent administration efforts, the situation has clearly changed, and 
it is time for President Saleh's government to be more responsive. And, 
just as in Pakistan, it is critical that our government make two things 
very clear: first, we stand ready to assist in training and equipping 
counterterrorism forces; and second, the threats confronting Yemen are 
ultimately a threat to its own existence. American security assistance 
will ultimately only be as effective as the Yemeni Government's will to 
execute an aggressive counterterrorism and counter-recruitment mission.
  To date, the administration has not officially characterized Yemen as 
an al-Qaida safe haven, but should President Saleh prove unwilling to 
confront adequately the threat posed by relocating foreign fighters; 
the growing threat of AQAP; and the sympathy of some tribal leaders in 
his country to support extremist elements, the administration should 
consider more vigorous action. While the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a is 
working hard to find an amenable resolution for the transfer of the 
Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo, it is also working on these very 
complex counterterrorism efforts. I would urge my colleagues to look at 
the threats emanating from Yemen and to support efforts by the 
administration to cooperate with the Yemeni Government and other 
regional actors, particularly Saudi Arabia, to address the burgeoning 
threat in the country.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
the New York Times and Washington Institute for Near East Policy 
articles to which I referred.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                [From the New York Times, June 12, 2009]

           Some in Qaeda Leave Pakistan for Somalia and Yemen

                 (By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger)

       Washington.--American officials say they are seeing the 
     first evidence that dozens of fighters with Al Qaeda, and a 
     small handful of the terrorist group's leaders, are moving to 
     Somalia and Yemen from their principal haven in Pakistan's 
     tribal areas. In communications that are being watched 
     carefully at the Pentagon, the White House and the Central 
     Intelligence Agency, the terrorist groups in all three 
     locations are now communicating more frequently, and 
     apparently trying to coordinate their actions, the officials 
       Some aides to President Obama attribute the moves to 
     pressure from intensified drone attacks against Qaeda 
     operatives in Pakistan, after years of unsuccessful American 
     efforts to dislodge the terrorist group from their haven 
       But there are other possible explanations. Chief among them 
     is the growth of the jihadist campaigns in both Somalia and 
     Yemen, which may now have some of the same appeal for 
     militants that Iraq did after the American military invasion 
     there in 2003.
       Somalia is now a failed state that bears some resemblance 
     to Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, while 
     Yemen's weak government is ineffectually trying to combat the 
     militants, American officials say.
       The shift of fighters is still small, perhaps a few dozen, 
     and there is no evidence that the top leaders--Osama bin 
     Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri--are considering a move from their 
     refuge in the Pakistani tribal areas, according to more than 
     half a dozen senior administration, military and 
     counterterrorism officials interviewed in recent days.
       Most officials would not comment on the record about the 
     details of what they are seeing, because of the sensitivity 
     of the intelligence information they are gathering.
       Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, said in remarks here 
     on Thursday that the United States must prevent Al Qaeda from 
     creating a new sanctuary in Yemen or Somalia.
       The steady trickle of fighters from Pakistan could worsen 
     the chaos in Somalia, where an Islamic militant group, the 
     Shabab, has attracted hundreds of foreign jihadists in its 
     quest to topple the weak moderate Islamist government in 
     Mogadishu. It could also swell the ranks of a growing menace 
     in Yemen, where militants now control large areas of the 
     country outside the capital.
       ``I am very worried about growing safe havens in both 
     Somalia and Yemen, specifically because we have seen Al Qaeda 
     leadership, some leaders, start to flow to Yemen,'' Adm. Mike 
     Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 
     remarks at the Brookings Institution here on May 18.
       For the United States, the movement creates opportunities 
     as well as risks. With the Obama administration focusing its 
     fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the havens in 
     Afghanistan and Pakistan, a shift of fighters and some 
     leaders to new locations could complicate American efforts to 
     strike a lasting blow.
       But in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Qaeda and Taliban 
     forces have drawn for protection on Pashtun tribes with whom 
     they have deep familial and tribal ties. A move away from 
     those areas could expose Qaeda leaders to betrayal, while 
     communications among militants in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen 

[[Page S8859]]

     created a new opportunity for American intelligence to zero 
     in on insurgents who gave up many electronic communication 
     devices shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks to avoid 
       A senior Obama administration official attributed some of 
     the movement to ``the enormous heat we've been putting on the 
     leadership and the mid-ranks'' with Predator strikes, 
     launched from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Obama's 
     strategy so far has been to intensify many of the strikes 
     begun under the Bush administration.
       ``There are indications that some Al Qaeda terrorists are 
     starting to see the tribal areas of Pakistan as a tough place 
     to be,'' said an American counterterrorism official. ``It is 
     likely that a small number have left the region as a result. 
     Among these individuals, some have probably ended up in 
     Somalia and Yemen, among other places. The Al Qaeda 
     terrorists who are leaving the tribal areas of Pakistan are 
     predominantly foot soldiers.''
       Measuring the numbers of these movements is almost as 
     difficult as assessing the motivations of those who are on 
     their way out of the tribal areas.
       But American officials say there is evidence of a shift. 
     One senior American military official who follows Africa 
     closely said that more than 100 foreign fighters had trained 
     in terrorism camps in Somalia alone in the past few years. 
     Another senior military officer said that Qaeda operatives 
     and confederates in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia had stepped 
     up communications with one another.
       ``What really has us worried is that they're communicating 
     with each other much more--Al Qaeda in Pakistan, Somalia and 
     Yemen,'' the senior military officer said. ``They're asking, 
     `What do you need? Financing? Fighters?' ''
       Mr. Obama's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan placed 
     the defeat of Al Qaeda as the No. 1 objective, largely to 
     make sure that the group could not plot new attacks against 
     the United States.
       Thus, the movement of the fighters, and the disruption that 
     causes, has been interpreted by some of the president's top 
     advisers as a sign of success.
       But the emergence of new havens, from which Al Qaeda and 
     its affiliates could plot new attacks, raises difficult 
     questions for the United States on how to combat the growing 
     threat, and creates the possibility that increased missile 
     strikes are in the offing in Yemen and Somalia.
       ``Those are issues that I think the international community 
     is going to have to address because Al Qaeda is not going 
     away,'' Admiral Mullen told a Senate committee on May 21.
       The C.I.A. says its drone attacks in Pakistan have 
     disrupted Al Qaeda's operations and damaged the group's 
     senior ranks. American officials say that strikes have killed 
     11 of the top 20 Qaeda leaders in the past year.
       ``Al Qaeda has been hit by drones and it has generated a 
     lot of insecurity among them,'' said Talat Masood, a retired 
     Pakistani general and military analyst in Islamabad.
       ``Many among them are uneasy and it is possible that they 
     are leaving for Somalia and other jihadi battle fronts,'' he 
     said. ``The hard core, however, will like to stay on.''
       Without singling out any countries, Adm. Eric T. Olson, the 
     head of the Special Operations Command, spoke in general 
     terms last week about how the increased Pakistani military 
     operations in the Swat Valley and early indications of a new 
     Pakistani offensive in South Waziristan had put militants on 
     the run.
       ``As the Pakistanis are applying pressure,'' Admiral Olson 
     told a House panel, ``it will shift some of the sanctuaries 
     to other places.''

  [From the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 14, 2009]

            Waning Vigilance: Al-Qaeda's Resurgence in Yemen

                          (By Gregory Johnsen)

       Recent reports suggesting that al-Qaeda fighters are 
     leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the group has 
     suffered serious setbacks, have renewed international 
     concerns that Yemen is reemerging once again as a major 
     terrorist safe haven. Although the assessments of al-Qaeda's 
     resurgence in Yemen are accurate, the deteriorating situation 
     is not due to U.S. successes elsewhere; rather, it is the 
     result of waning U.S. and Yemeni attention over the past five 
     years. Renewed cooperation between Sana and Washington in 
     tackling al-Qaeda and addressing Yemen's systemic problems 
     could help reduce the terrorist organization's appeal in this 
     troubled country.

                The Apparent Defeat of al-Qaeda in Yemen

       By late 2003, al-Qaeda in Yemen had been largely defeated 
     through the close cooperation of U.S. and Yemeni security 
     forces. This cooperation reached its zenith in November 2002 
     when the CIA assassinated the head of the organization, Abu 
     Ali al-Harithi, but the Pentagon bypassed the agreed-on cover 
     story and leaked the operation to the press. Washington 
     needed an early victory in the war on terror and the 
     assassination of an al-Qaeda leader was too good to go 
       Yemen, however, believed it was sold out to U.S. domestic 
     concerns. Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Salih paid a high 
     price for allowing the United States to carry out the 
     attack--something al-Qaeda still uses to great propaganda 
     effect--and it took more than a year for the government to 
     publicly admit that it had authorized Washington to act.
       In November 2003, the United States was still paying for 
     this mistake when Yemen arrested al-Harithi's replacement, 
     Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, on the streets of Sana. Instead of 
     being granted direct access to al-Ahdal, U.S. officials were 
     forced to work through Yemeni intermediaries; however, with 
     its leadership dead or in jail, its infrastructure largely 
     destroyed, and its militants more attracted to the insurgency 
     in Iraq than jihad at home, al-Qaeda in Yemen appeared 
     largely defeated.

                           Al-Qaeda Rebuilds

       The United States and Yemen both treated this victory as 
     absolute, failing to realize that a defeated enemy is not 
     necessarily a vanquished one. In effect, al-Qaeda was crossed 
     off both countries' list of priorities and replaced by other, 
     seemingly more pressing, concerns. For Washington, democratic 
     reforms and anticorruption campaigns dominated the bilateral 
     agenda as part of the Bush administration's desire to mold a 
     new Middle East. For Yemen, attention was increasingly 
     diverted by a five-year-old sectarian civil war in the north 
     and more recently by threats of secession from the south. 
     Over the next two years of relative calm, the threat from al-
     Qaeda, while not necessarily forgotten, was certainly 
     ignored. Tourism flourished, and the U.S. State Department 
     initiated a Yemen study-abroad program.
       Even the prison break of twenty-three al-Qaeda suspects in 
     early 2006, which U.S. officials privately blamed on Yemeni 
     government collaboration, was treated more like an aberration 
     than the opening volley of a new battle. Among the escapees 
     were Qasim al-Raymi and Nasir al-Wahayshi, a former secretary 
     to Usama bin Laden and a veteran of the fighting at Tora 
     Bora. The nearly two and a half years of government neglect 
     had created a great deal of space for the two men to 
     reorganize and rebuild al-Qaeda in Yemen.
       The involvement of al-Raymi and al-Wahayshi, along with 
     numerous other Yemenis from across the country, illustrates 
     one of the more worrying facts about al-Qaeda's current 
     incarnation: it is the most representative organization in 
     the country. Al-Qaeda in Yemen transcends class, tribe, and 
     regional identity in a way that no other Yemeni group or 
     political party can match. Al-Wahayshi and others within the 
     organization have proven particularly talented at 
     articulating a narrative designed to appeal to a local 
     audience, using everything from Palestine to the plight of 
     Sheikh al-Muayad--a Yemeni cleric who ran a popular charity 
     and is currently in a U.S. prison for providing funds to 
     terrorists--to increase their rhetorical appeal to young 
     Yemenis. Both the U.S. and Yemeni governments have been 
     incapable of countering this approach and have effectively 
     ceded the field to al-Qaeda.
       In June 2007, al-Qaeda officially announced its presence in 
     the country with al-Wahayshi as its commander. It underscored 
     its intentions within days by a suicide attack on a convoy of 
     Spanish tourists. Since then, the organization has grown 
     stronger. In January 2008, it released the first issue of its 
     bimonthly journal, Sada al-Malahim (``The Echo of Battles''), 
     and that same month it launched a series of attacks, 
     culminating in the assault on the U.S. embassy in September 
     2008. Earlier this year, a pair of suicide bombers targeted 
     South Koreans, attacking first a group of tourists and then 
     the officials sent to investigate.
       Al-Qaeda has also capitalized on its recent successes, 
     attracting recruits from both Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In 
     January, two former Guantanamo Bay detainees joined the group 
     as commanders, spearheading the merger of local branches in 
     Saudi Arabia and Yemen into a single regional franchise. One 
     of the leaders, Muhammad al-Awfi, has since turned himself in 
     to Saudi authorities, but this gesture appears to be prompted 
     more from a desire to protect his family than from a change 
     of heart.
       This new regional organization, which calls itself al-Qaeda 
     in the Arabian Peninsula, is indicative of al-Wahayshi's 
     growing ambition. Throughout the first two years of his 
     leadership, he worked hard to create a durable infrastructure 
     that could survive the loss of key commanders. His success in 
     this regard is demonstrated by the fact that even though the 
     organization lost a particularly skilled local commander, 
     Hamza al-Quayti, in a shootout with Yemeni security forces in 
     August 2008, it was still able to launch an attack on the 
     U.S. embassy just one month later. Al-Wahayshi is now looking 
     to use the undergoverned regions of Yemen as a staging ground 
     for attacks not only in Yemen but also throughout the Arabian 
     peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

                            Lessons Learned

       Al-Qaeda's resurgence in Yemen does not stem from 
     displacement of U.S. successes elsewhere. Rather, the United 
     States and its allies need to understand that defeating one 
     generation of al-Qaeda does not eliminate the threat 
     completely. In conjunction with Yemen and Gulf Cooperation 
     Council allies, Washington must develop a two-track strategy 
     to eliminate al-Qaeda in Yemen. In the short term, the United 
     States must discretely partner with Yemen and Saudi Arabia 
     once again and target al-Qaeda's leadership and 
     infrastructure. Although successfully doing so will be much 
     harder the second time around, it can be accomplished with 
     careful and coordinated strikes.
       The long-term approach, however, is both more important and 
     more difficult to implement. The current incarnation of al-
     Qaeda in

[[Page S8860]]

     Yemen has more recruits--and younger recruits--than ever, due 
     to al-Wahayshi's powerful propaganda as well as the lack of 
     opportunity and an incipient breakdown in traditional social 
     authorities. Furthermore, Yemen is preoccupied, and its 
     security services overtaxed with the increasingly violent 
     calls for secession from the south, threats of renewed 
     fighting in the north, and, most importantly, a faltering 
     economy that makes traditional modes of patronage-style 
     governance nearly impossible. The United States and Yemen are 
     also facing an al-Qaeda group that is now more accepted as a 
     legitimate organization. Killing or arresting al-Qaeda 
     leaders in Yemen and dismantling its infrastructure will be 
     an important step forward, but will unlikely eliminate the 
     problem in the long term. Tackling the underlying issues, 
     although very difficult, will be key to ensuring that al-
     Qaeda does not reemerge in Yemen once again.