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Monday, March 9, 2015

YEMEN - UNLIKELY NEMESIS

From Reader's Digest, "Wide World Atlas" 1984 {People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, also called South Yemen, perhaps because sliver under "North" Yemen has important port of Aden}

Yemen became a country we were conscious of on the international scene, with the bombing of our naval destroyer, U.S.S. Cole in the year 2000.  This became a precursor to our ongoing War on Terror, and for years now in Yemen, little noticed by our media, to persistent drone attacks and chaos.

Why is a place like Yemen important to us?  In our strategic interests, it’s the lower third of the Arabian Peninsula, right below Saudi Arabia, and forms the seacoast border of the Suez Canal / Red Sea outlet [right across from the Somali pirates], a major shipping channel.   Oil is the area’s major export.   In the days of the Cold War this nation was divided between a Soviet favoring South Yemen, and a U.S. favoring North Yemen.   Tribal and religious allegiances have always predominated in Yemen, but the various factions have gone from communist-capitalist, through warlord, and now terrorist designations in the minds of our political leaders, to keep the battle-lines properly drawn.
  Yemenis gathered around a car after it was targeted by a drone strike that killed three Qaeda militants in Marib, Yemen. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 1-27-2015
Currently our previous North vs South favoritism is reversed, now supporting in the South the deposed leader, Hadi, [who favors our drone war against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula {AQAP}on his soil] retrenched in the southern-most port of Aden, and the Shiite Houthi tribal factions in control of the capitol of San'a and most of the North.


Paradoxically al Qaeda fights on Hadi's and “our side” against the Houthis.   And AQAP has been cast as a more serious threat to our country, three highly trumpeted cases of bombs aimed at us--Times Square bomber, Christmas Day underwear bomber, UPS cargo package bombs--have all fizzled. There is reasonable doubt as to whether they were more designed for damage, or to cause fear.  A U.S. citizen Muslim cleric, Anwar al Awlaki, who supported his country immediately after 911, then opposed us moving to Yemen when we invaded Iraq, is now dead by order of U.S. drones.  He was the supposed mastermind of these half-hearted attacks, and inspirer of the military psychiatrist who did kill 9 U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas.  [See below for history of this long-distance mini-theater of war.]


Our embassy and mission in San'a has closed leaving many vehicles and weapons in the hands of these current Houthi Shiite partial enemies-du-joure.   The Houthis biggest problem for us is that they are allied with Iran [enemy of the Saudis, and Israelis--made strange bedfellows once again].
Our only ambassador in Yemen?

Our playbook in the Middle East is in shambles.  Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, West Bank, Yemen …  We’ve made weaponry the linchpin of all our power-plays, and knowledge of the field, and respect of peoples with whom we deal is trivialized.  We keep hitting with the military cudgel [which we misname a surgical strike or covert action, or support only--no boots on the ground] and overlook the lethal damage to hearts and minds--ours as well as theirs.
“No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing, and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war."  -- Pope John Paul II,   Centesimus annus, 1991







Litany of this millennium's U.S. Strife with Yemen

2000 - USS Cole Bombing Fast Facts - CNN -- timeline--17 U.S. sailors killed, then includes rendition, torture, Guantanamo etc.

2009 - Christmas Day Underwear Bomber

5-2-2010 NYT – Times Square Bomber

5-13-2010 NYT - U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease

10-30-2010 WSJ - Yemeni [UPS cargo] Bombs Target U.S.
 UPS airline cargo bombs -- “Contraptions” “weren’t rigged to explode”

11-20-2010 NYT - Qaeda Branch Aimed for Broad Damage at Low Cost
They bank on our collective fear.

11-16-2010 WSJ - U.S. Pursues Wider Role in Yemen
Yemen's government in San'a has urged Washington to provide more helicopters and other supplies such as night-vision goggles to aid missions against militants in remote areas.
The Yemeni president [the previous undemocratic ruler, Salih] has created counterterrorism units— commanded by his sons and nephews—that get training from U.S. Special Operations teams. The Yemenis also use intelligence, planning and equipment from U.S. military and spy agencies to conduct many of their counterterrorism operations.
The Yemenis have had limited success in fighting al Qaeda. In two major offenses launched this summer in Yemen's southern tribal areas, the Yemeni military failed to capture its top targets and lost more than 150 of its own men, according to people in the Yemeni military.


2-14-2015 - Shiite Rebels Expand Territory in Yemeni Capital - NYTimes
2-20-2015 - U.S. Fears Chaos as Government of Yemen Falls - NYTimes


DIFFERENT VIEWS OF U.S. DRONE ASSASINATION OF U.S. CITIZEN ANWAR AL AWLAKI, AND HIS 15 YEAR OLD SON TWO WEEKS LATER, IN 2011

Miller Statement on the Killing of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki   -  9-30-2011
Harrison Township, MI – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), member of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today made the following statement on the reported killing of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki is linked to terrorists, such as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted Christmas Day bomber aboard Detroit bound Northwest Airlines Flight 253; Maj. Hasan, who killed 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas; Faisal Shahzad, attempted Times Square bomber; and a group of men who planned an attack in Fort Dix, N.J.

“The killing of Awlaki is justice served. This terrorist has met a fitting end in our fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. For the past several years, Awlaki has proven he will stop at nothing to wage war against the United States and our Allies. Today, his death serves as proof that our collective resolve against terrorism will not waiver. I thank the men and women of our military and intelligence community. We must continue to remain vigilant in defending our nation and the world against these threats.”



Transcript of and video of Jeremy Scahill’s report on Anwar al Awlaki
For the whole story in Scahill’s documentary --
or


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