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Posted on May 12, 2015 in Elections-Non-U.S., Foreign Policy Issues, Israel, Middle East, President Obama, Yemen | 0 comments

Cease fire in Yemen: false alarm or the beginning of a choppy road to peace (for a while)

  Yemen III In our April13 post, we noted that the Houthis were considerably more than just an Iranian surrogate in Yemen. Indeed, we pointed out, the Houthis, as part of the minority Shia were basically concerned with fairness for their people in a Sunni dominated country. About forty percent of Yemen’s population is Shia. In fact, since their formation in 2004, they had been fighting the al Qaeda Sunni militant jihadists in the North (practically they were behind the group Believing Youth, formed in Sana’a in the early to mid 90’s). And, recall, the Yemen version of Al Qaeda had just seen their numbers and power increased due to a merger with Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia forming Al Qaeda for the entire Arabian Peninsula, but based in Yemen. Most of this activity took place in North Yemen. Under an Arab League sponsored armistice, and with more forceful pressure from Saudi Arabia, the two non-Houthi key figures contending for power were named head of the new government, namely...

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Posted on Apr 29, 2015 in Elections-Non-U.S., Foreign Policy Issues, Middle East | 0 comments

In Yemen crisis: Houthis not just Iranian surrogates. Likely to come to the negotiating table.

    In a previous post, I warned against assuming that the Houthis in Yemen were just a terrorist surrogate for Iran a la Hezbollah. True, they .get supplies from Iran, and are Zaidi Shia, as is Iran. But they are not religious fundamentalists. They are not just surrogates for Iran. They are not like Hezbollah. Their identity is Yemeni and have had no difficulty allying with the Sunni former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis also differ from many of the militant Sunni and Shia groups that have dominated the Mideast scene of late. In fact, part of Houthis raison d’etre was to militarily oppose the Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen. Unlike the Islamic terrorist groups in the region, they reject the jihadist Salafi and Wahhabi philosophies that posit that aggressive and violent terrorist acts against the West and others whom they feel are opposed to their brand of Islamic fundamentalism are justified by Islam. Yemen is an amalgamation of North Yemen and South Yemen created on May...

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Posted on Apr 13, 2015 in Elections-Non-U.S., Foreign Policy Issues, Middle East | 0 comments

Yemen Crisis explained. Part II-More than just another Middle East sectarian battle.

  In our last¬† post we went through the history of Yemen, through 1962. This week we shall move on to the contemporary crisis and attempt to demonstrate that it is more than just an Iranian attempt to exert hegemony over Yemen. As we left off last week, apart from their own regional civil wars, North Yemen and the PDR were fighting a Greater Yemen War. With pressure from the Arab League,¬† peace or more specifically an armistice, was brokered. Under its terms a new unified government formed that had Ali Abdullah Saleh as president, and the then President of South Yemen, Ali Salim al Beidh, as its vice-president. Saleh won re-election with 93 per cent of the vote. His administration, however, was marked by an amazing amount of corruption. An economic downturn in 1992, and the ensuing food riots, led to yet another civil war. During which time, Vice-president Ali Salim al Beidh walked out of the government, protesting among other items, the attacks in the north upon...

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Posted on Apr 8, 2015 in Foreign Policy Issues, Middle East | 0 comments

Yemen Crisis explained. Part I-Historical background

  In our last post we learned of the dangers of oversimplification when we use highly abstract terms such as Iranian Proxy, Communism, Terrorist, and Free World. This week and next we shall examine the background to the explosive contemporary situation in Yemen. In our next post we shall attempt to clarify the current situation there. (and how the use of such abstract terms has oversimplified its problems and led to our failures there). Yemen has about 24 million souls and occupies both the southwest and southern portions of the Arabian peninsula.. From this locale, Yemen borders the Red Sea to the west, the Arabian Sea, with the Gulf of Aden to the south and it has a shoreline of about 1200 miles. As one would expect, Yemen has a long history as a sea trading nation. The tip of Yemen lies at the closest point to Ethiopia and Somalia of any of the other Red Sea bordered countries. Indeed, most scholars believe Yemen was the biblical Sheba, and...

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