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Archive for the ‘Yemen’ Category

U.S. Airstrikes in Yemen

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 9, 2011

Yemen, located on the southern border of Saudi Arabia, is in turmoil that is approaching a civil war.  It’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has a tenuous hold on power after months of Yemeni protests.  In addition, the country’s tribal makeup is fracturing.

The New York Times today reported on the not so secret American military action in Yemen.  The Obama administration has been increasing airstrikes in recent weeks.  On Friday al Qaeda operative Abu Ali al-Harithi was killed in a strike.  Last month American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was the target of a failed mission.

It is ironic the President Obama who ran for office on a peace platform has become so aggressive on the use of American military force.  American troops remain in Iraq.  He has accelerated Afghan War, entered a war in Libya, uses Predator drone strikes at will in Pakistan, and most recently is conducting clandestine air raids in Yemen.  The world is learning that Chicago politics can be really nasty.


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Yemeni Passenger Yells “Allahu Akbar” As he Attempts to Storm Plan Cockpit

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 10, 2011

A few days ago a passenger aboard American Airlines flight 1561 attempted to break into the plane’s cockpit.  This story did not make much news nor did the fact that the Yemeni citizen was yelling “Allahu Akbar”, a favorite cry of Jihadist theorists.  These facts do not fit in with the Leftist media’s view of politically correct reporting.

Jim, who sent in this story, asks: “I wonder what the lead story would have been if a conservative Christian did the same thing while shouting ‘Praise Jesus’.”

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Obama Changes Position on Yemen

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 3, 2011

The protest have been ongoing for weeks in Yemen, the Arab country on the southern border of Saudi Arabia.  Since the start of the unrest, the United States has been a strong supporter of its president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.  The New York Times just reported that America’s position has changed with the U.S. now using diplomatic pressure to remove Yemen’s president.

It is difficult to comprehend President Obama’s Middle East strategy.  During the Egyptian uprising, Obama abandoned longtime ally, Hosni Mubarak.  In Libya, Obama decided that America’s military might should come down on the side of the rebels of unknown makeup.  Now, the President has turned on another ally, Yemen’s Saleh.  That raises questions as to why Obama has not called for the ouster of more dangerous despots, like those ruling Iran and Syria,

In the “old days”, presidents determined the value of a country’s leader by whether they were friendly or unfriendly to the United States.  While not perfect, the world at least understood which direction the United States would take on an international matter.  Today, America’s strategy seems to change with the mood of our President.  This helter-skelter approach makes it more likely that a country will misread America’s intentions making the world a bit more dangerous.

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Yemeni President Preparing to Exit

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 24, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reported that Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is preparing to step down.  Yemen, a poor and nearly dysfunctional Arab country on the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, has been in the midst of violent protests for weeks.  Last week the protests reached a crescendo with 50 killed by government forces.  That led to Yemen’s second most powerful figure, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and some army units, joining the dissenters

The Yemen problem is playing out throughout the Arab Middle East.  Populations that have told by their leaders for years that the West and Israel are the sources of the Middle East’s problems are waking up to a cold reality.  They are realizing that the false narrative has been used merely to keep the despots that control them in power.

Now, protests in Syria are growing with protestors being killed by its government forces.  It is unlikely that Syrian’s dictator, Assad, will be able to stop the protests from growing out of control.  Then, Syria will follow in the footsteps of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Saudi Arabia is also at risk of catching the spreading Tunisian flu.  With Yemen at its southern border, Arab protests are getting closer to the Royal Family.  Given the Saudi’s importance in the oil markets, instability in this country would have worldwide ramifications.

Strangely quiet to his point is Iran.  Given Iran’s strategic relationship with the Syrian dictator Assad, should the Syrian protests get out of control, the Iranian people will likely be the next to once again fill the street with protests.  Hopefully this time President Obama will not ignore their plight as he did during their last uprising.

The modern Middle East is made up of countries cobbled together by Europe after World War I, and to a smaller extent by the United Nations.  Many Middle East Arab countries are dominated by tribal clans.  However, the Europeans gave little consideration to the importance of these clans and thus created dysfunctional countries that have no nationalist identity to hold them together.  Understanding this, European governments and the United States were happy to see dictators who they could deal with take control of the countries.  This Progessive view of the Middle East is what is now disintegrating.

Given the dominance of the tribal clans in countries like Yemen and Libya, it is unlikely that the West will be able to once again impose its will on these countries.  It is therefore unlikely that the West’s intervention in Libya, no matter how noble, will be able stop the bloodshed.

The United Nations and Progressives in general have spent decades debating the legitimacy of only one Middle East country; Israel.  These Progressives may have focused on Israel as a convenient way of ignoring the mess that they created in the formation of many modern borders in the Middle East.  The growing violence in the Arab world will no longer allow for this cover-up.

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Yemen Crisis Deteriorating

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 21, 2011

It is remarkable how the world’s view of problems has changed in just a few weeks.  The media’s attention is focused on the catastrophes in Japan and the Libyan war.  However, significant problems continue in other areas that up until recently would have gained more attention.  Such is the case in the Arab country of Yemen on the southern border of Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately there are respected sources of information for these other trouble spots including startfor.comStratfor has published a piece titled “Yemen in Crisis: A Special Report” that not only reviews the current tactical issues in Yemen, but also the more strategic issues that this situation portends for the greater Middle East.

In brief, the Yemen crisis is reaching a boiling that culminated on the March 18 in its capital, Sanaa, with a clash between tens of thousands of protesters trying to depose President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the government‘s security forces.  Before it was over, 46 protesters were dead and hundreds wounded.  It is reported that the government used snipers to take out protesters.

The protests in Yemen has reached new level of violence.  With Yemeni society dominated by strong clan/familial ties, it now risks a civil war, much the same as Libya seems to be entering into.  These wars point to a new phase in the battle for Arab Middle East.  The first phase was relatively peaceful resulting in the overthrow of the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators with the military seen as a stabilizing force.  Now however, in other countries the dictators are taking a more aggressive role in combating protestors. Such high levels of violence tend to take on a dynamic of their own with outcomes being unpredictable.

As significant as the changes that have already occurred in the Middle East are, this Blog has proffered the view that they are but a precursor of the real tests yet to come that will affect the big three: Syrian, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Already there are signs of forces aligning themselves.  Saudi Arabia has sent assistance to Bahrain to quell protests.  There are reports that similar Saudi efforts are headed for Yemen.  It is also reported that riots have erupted in Syria with seven protesters being killed.  Iran remains quiet, but the mullahs must be hearing footsteps and will likely react harshly at the first sign of protests.

It is difficult to predict what the Middle East will look like in the coming months, other than it will be significantly different than it is today.  It has become evident that the U.S. State Department and Progressives in general had no clue as to what was brewing in the Middle East.  Allowing this same group to shape our policies going forward is fruitless.  Just a few months ago the most pressing problem President Obama commented relating to the Middle East was a few Israeli settlements.  It is evident that he missed the big picture.


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