Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The president of Yemen has made a serious mistake in rejecting the GCC's plan for a transition government to take over that troubled country. Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign the plan two days ago, throwing the whole process into doubt. His actions raise the prospect of serious violence engulfing the country within days.
Not only did pro-Saleh protesters put the lives of foreign diplomats at risk on Sunday, but they've engaged tribesmen of the Al-Ahmar clan in clashes in the capitol using tanks and RPG's. This is not what the average Yemeni deserves, and it is Saleh who history will declare the central cause of what looks like an impending civil war:
The protesters also have insisted that their movement is a nonviolent one. But as tensions grow between Mr. Saleh’s supporters and the tribesmen allied with the political opposition, the prospects of a nonviolent transfer of power grow dimmer... tensions have grown so bad that fighting could break out even without government provocation.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Now, our opposition to Iran's intolerance and Iran's repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known. But if America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that at times our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for consistent change -- with change that's consistent with the principles that I've outlined today. That's true in Yemen, where President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power.
However, I found the speech to be pretty vanilla, and the idea that we are going to engage the Middle East in a different way moving forward a bit specious. President Obama said within the speech that
It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia... both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections, a vibrant civil society, accountable and effective democratic institutions, and responsible regional leadership. But our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place."
Love him or not, it was our past president, George W. Bush, who heralded this new age in American foreign policy with a speech he gave at the NED in 2003. He said:
Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
While academics (with far more wisdom on the situation) may still believe that Saleh will ultimately go, I’m no longer so sure.
Fresh from his success in killing Osama, President Obama seems to be walking a slippery slope by okaying a failed targeted assasination of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. The United States government - as directed by President Obama - is sending the absolutely wrong message to Yemeni protesters with this move. Only six days later, Salih had another dozen protesters killed (most in Sana'a).
Everyone knows that previous to the Arab uprisings Saleh only had a tenuous grip on the country. It was widely reported that, apart from oil and LNG facilities, the regime was only capable of governing a few cities. With so many people focused on AQAP and the security implications for the "western world," the question has yet to be asked as to whether the internal security situation relative to governance has changed to any significant degree?
Regardless of the defection of top generals, I don't think it has much. And from the looks of things, I think Saleh might agree.