Tag Archives: Yemen

Does Every American President Deserve A War?

In 1953, newly elected Dwight Eisenhower decided to arrange a truce with Chinese Communists in order to put the Korean War on hold. In 1954 when urged by the French government to intervene and save its trapped soldiers at Dienbienphu, the president politely informed the French, sorry, you are on your own. Shortly before his death, President Kennedy had made the decision to cease heavy American involvement in Vietnam. Fast forward to 2001 and President George Bush decided on an invasion of Afghanistan. One could argue the invasion made sense, but the aftermath is still with us. Instead of pushing for an honest, effective coalition government, and quickly training an Afghanistan army, Bush set his mind elsewhere on Iraq. Nine years have passed since the heady days of victory in Afghanistan and President Obama still has yet to develop a strategy of what to do. Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a warning to the president that Yemen lurks behind the corner. “If George Bush is remembered as the president who got America involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s looking like Obama wants to be remembered as the president who got America stuck in Yemen.”

The Zawahiri video is rhetoric, but, sometimes rhetoric can contain accurate descriptions of reality. Does Obama have any strategy in Yemen? Or, it is a replay of the catastrophe looming in Afghanistan?

Good News In Yemen?

This has not been a fun filled six months for President Obama in terms of events in the Middle East, given an arrogant Israel government bound to prevent peace with Palestinians, and growing conflict in the southern portion of the Arabian peninsula. However, Yemen President Abdullah Saleh announced he was able to negotiate a cease fire with rebel forces in the north of the country who have created chaos including forcing over 175,000 people to flee their homes. It is believed part of the arrangement calls for removal of road blocks and land mines in northern areas of the nation. The Shiite Houthis rebels have resorted to mines, rockets and bombs in order to challenge the Sunni government.

The Yemen government still has to deal with al-Qaeda militants who have used the civil war as a means to establish bases in the country. Hopefully, if Houthi forces cooperate with the government this group can be destroyed.

Yemen–The Real New Vietnam??

American presidents have a weakness for finding a remote area of the world in which to plunge our troops in the name of fighting communism or terrorists or for peace. The bungled suicide attack by a Nigerian students on a plane whose underwear failed to explode has resulted in demands for American action in Yemen. This country of 22 million has, at best, about 300 al-Qaeda agents, but it does have an infinite number of clans and groups which are fighting the government which they charge is corrupt and unable to address their needs. Al-Qaeda has done what any intelligent revolutionary group would do–ally itself with rebels and claim the goals of rebels match their own. South Yemen(formerly Aden) has been seething with rebellion for years and groups like the Zaydi Shia near the border of Saudi Arabia are fighting for their rights.

A recent article in the UK Independent noted that Yemen has an effective program of airport security which X-Rays baggage and people. However, once people and their baggage get through security they enter a lounge area where they can purchase goods like knives and swords and thus board the plane well armed. This story is symbolic of the problem. Yemen has to fight with its own dissident groups and the USA cannot help resolve these problems. It is best to distance America from this struggle. If we enter as we did in Iraq, the end result will be fighting in Yemen for years.

Admiral Mullen– No Troops To Yemen! At Least Now

Admiral Mike Mullen told students at the Naval War College there were no plans to dispatch troops to Yemen because it is a sovereign nation and the United States doesn’t send troops into other countries because it feels like doing so. I am glad to learn the United States of America does not send troops into sovereign nations without being invited. Of course, Iraq was a sovereign nation and shortly discovered the presence of over a 100,000 Americans in their countryside and they were shooting guns and dropping bombs. Perhaps, there is now a Mullen Doctrine which is based on the proposition that American troops will never enter another nation without a formal invitation.

It might have even been better news for the naval students to learn the United States was not dispatching any troops to the sovereign nation of Afghanistan. How about expanding the Mullen Doctrine to include no US troops except in the United States?

THE WAR NOBODY KNOWS BUT WILL SOON KNOW

There is a war in process within Yemen that already has spilled over into Saudi Arabia and poses a great threat to peace in the area. A war within Yemen poses Shiites fighting against the Sunni Yemen government and its allies in Saudi Arabia. Rebels claim they are fighting against a government that has marginalized Shiites and has failed to develop the nation’s resources. Yemen’s army presently is engaged in extensive fighting with the rebels and there are reports al-Qaeda may soon become part of the mess that is Yemen. Across the Gulf of Aden lies Ethiopia and a short distance away in Somalia where there is also an intense civil war. Americans fail to realize the Yemen war can spill over into Saudi Arabia and some day witness bombers blowing themselves up as they damage oil facilities.

The mess now includes possible Iran influence by supplying rebels with arms, a fight between the Yemen government and rebels, a fight between rebels and Saudi Arabia, an attempt by rebels to destroy their nation’s tourist industry by kidnapping foreigners, and the list goes on and on.

Who knows, perhaps in 2015, American soldiers will be fighting in the hills of Yemen. A problem is no one will have the slightest idea why US forces are in Yemen anymore than anyone has any idea what the US presently seeks to accomplish in Afghanistan.

The Brides Of Death In Yemen

She was an eleven year old girl from a poor family in Yemen whose father was suffering from kidney failure and there was scant food in the house. Fawziya Abdullah Youssef was compelled by the family to drop out of school and become the bride of an older man. Within a year she had become pregnant since in Yemen there are no laws banning marriages of young girls who have not even reached a secondary school level of education. As the world remembered the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a “minor death” occurred in Yemen when the twelve year old died as she tried giving birth to a baby. The baby also died.

The Organization for Childhood Protection (Seya) in Yemen noted, “the case of Fawziya illustrates the t ragedy of those whom we call ‘the brides of death’ who are little girls less than 15 years old, forced into marriage, mostly due to financial reasons.”

It was just another death in the afternoon in Yemen.

The Making Of A Murderer

He was a college student in Tennessee who became interested in the Middle East. The young man decided he wanted to help people in Yemen and left to pursue volunteer work teaching Yemen children the English language. His visa expired, he was arrested and placed in jail. An FBI agent from his home town visited Abdulhakim Muhammad in jail and the young man asked for help to get out because he was being beaten up and tortured. The only concern of the FBI agent was to find out if the young man had connections to terrorists. When in doubt in America, 2009, just pursue the terrorist link and ignore human considerations. The young man eventually fell under the sway of Islamic jihadists, converted to the Muslim religion and returned to the United States as a different man. He had become radicalized.

One day, he grabbed a weapon and went out to shoot soldiers. He found himself in front of a recruiting center and killed a soldier who was on duty. Police claim he also went by the name of Carlos Bledsoe and had been arrested in Knoxville on weapon charges. Does anyone know what happened to Carlos Bledsoe to make him convert and assume a new name?

Yemen Frees al-Qaida Suspects

There is always a thin line between seeking to be careful as to which suspected al-Qaida followers are put in jail and trusting them to embark on a new road of peace. The Yemen government has decided to rely on the word of honor of 170 al-Qaida suspects as well as pledges from local tribal chieftains that the men will behave themselves and cease working with terrorist organizations. The announcement came weeks after al-Qaida openly said its goal was to establish a base in Yemen which is open to such endeavors due to a weak armed force and terrain that favors guerrilla activities. The Yemen strategy is to enlist local authorities to control young men who are bent on terror to end such behavior.

For those of us not part of Yemen society, we can only wonder if such an approach will work. There is considerable merit in attempting to enlist local chieftains in the effort to reform terrorists. Frankly, this approach makes as much sense as the American belief that torturing men will turn them against supporting terrorism.

Yemen Youth Fight For Democracy

A new generation is being born in Yemen of young people who wish to put an end to historic inertia and government corruption in order to move their nation into the 21st century. About thirty students from three universities released a document urging young people to unite and fight to end corruption in their nation. The Human Rights Information and Training Center(HRITC) worked with young college students in order to help them develop programs to reform Yemen society. The goal of the training center is to create a new generation of youth. “When we create such youth, they themselves will spread awareness among people in their districts and the environments they live in.”

The document focuses on political, social, and police corruption in Yemen. Young people intend to spread out in their nation offering workshops to all segments of the population.

Yemen, The Prototype Of Why Terrorism Emerges

The editorial staff of the Yemen Times examined reasons why their nation has been home to so many terrorists in the world. They point out forty years ago, three issues dominated their nation– poverty, illiteracy, and disease, but the ensuing decades did not witness any of them being addressed by the government. Although, oil was discovered, nothing was ever done to stimulate other industries or to transform farms into modern successful enterprises. Infrastructure needs such as roads, electricity and water were ignored even though efforts to develop these aspects of society would have created jobs and stimulated education. Of the 23 million people, only about one-fourth live in cities and the remainder are in small villages and rural areas.

“Most Yemenis are not educated, particularly the women. Their daily life rotates around the field, their children and local social activities. They have no means to education, especially beyond the basic level” and women have scant opportunities to escape the vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance. There is only a mediocre healthcare system so most people rely on traditional medical care approaches that date back hundreds of years.

The editors raise the issue as to what has happened to the oil money. Why hasn’t it been channelled back into society or addressing needs for economic development? Failure to develop a sound education system and economic opportunities result in young men who have no prospects and thus become attracted to voice of violence. Yemen is not rule, not the exception. How many hundreds of millions of Saudi Arabia money has gone into developing religious schools which don’t even teach modern science? When will Saudis awake to the reality their failure to work with nations such as Yemen is the reason why terrorism is found in the world.