Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hamza Shargabi Video

Hamza Shargabi is a doctor (and freedom activist) in Yemen. I think anyone interested in Yemen will find value in this video. You may also follow his blog or subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Must See Yemeni Website

If anyone wants to understand the impact of the recent fighting in Yemen, they need only go to http://yemenrightsmonitor.blogspot.com/. Here you will find commentary as well as very graphic images of the needless damage wrought as a result of Saleh's unwillingness to leave.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Gulf News" Tells Saleh: Irhal!

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.

Incredibly Sad News out of Sana'a

It's well known that Yemen is the second-most highly armed nation in the world, trailing only the good ole USA. That is why this report out of Sana'a in today's NYT is so sad.

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

Obama Refers to Yemen in Presidential Address

I truly appreciate President Obama making the comment he made yesterday about Yemen (and, in particular, about President Ali Abdullah Saleh):

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

Will Saleh Fall Redux

The Atlantic Wire comments on Saleh's staying power in Yemen, publishing commentary from specialists on the nation.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

STRATFOR Comments on Anwar al-Awlaki

Al Qaeda's Leadership in Yemen is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Will Saleh Fall?

I’ve been watching the ongoings in Yemen over the last two weeks (since President Saleh refused to sign the GCC brokered agreement on the transfer of power) with uncharacteristic pessimism.

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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yemeni Activist Discusses Power Transfer Negotiations

A nice and quick breakdown of the GCC proposal, a proposal that looks to be scuttled.