sophia_sadek (sophia_sadek) wrote in talk_politics,

The War in Yemen Heats Up

Some members of this community prefer to steer clear of anything that doesn't portray their government in the best possible light. Those people might want to avoid this discussion.

Yemen fascinates me for a number of reasons. It was once the center of a vibrant civilization. Ancient literature refers to it as Arabia Felix because of its hospitable climate. It was a trade center between India and Africa for centuries. It is where the bin Laden patriarch was born. It hosted the phone hub that the CIA tapped into for a plethora of information on Al Qaeda before 9/11. It was the location of an attack on the US military by Al Qaeda in the final weeks of the Clinton presidency.

Glenn Greenwald points to a blog page on the Wikileaks cable about Yemen that made a big splash in the past few days. Here's a sample excerpt from that page:

¶7. (S/NF) Pointing to the ROYG’s problems in combating
rampant drug and arms smuggling, Saleh told General Petraeus
that U.S. maritime security assistance was insufficient to
cover Yemen’s nearly 2,000 km of coastline. “Why not have
Italy, Germany, Holland, Japan, Saudi, and the UAE each
provide two patrol boats?” Saleh suggested. The General told
Saleh that two fully-equipped 87-foot patrol boats destined
for the Yemeni Coast Guard were under construction and would
arrive in Yemen within a year. Saleh singled out smuggling
from Djibouti as particularly troublesome, claiming that the
ROYG had recently intercepted four containers of
Djibouti-origin TNT. “Tell (Djiboutian President) Ismail
Guelleh that I don’t care if he smuggles whiskey into Yemen
– provided it’s good whiskey ) but not drugs or weapons,”
Saleh joked. Saleh said that smugglers of all stripes are
bribing both Saudi and Yemeni border officials.
This reminds me of the smuggling of arms to the Vietcong during Eisenhower and Kennedy's administrations.

Here's an interesting KCRW public radio podcast with Greenwald and some of the other people with whom he has an argument. One of his detractors, James Rubin, claims that the US government doesn't deceive their populace the way that the Yemenis do. He then goes on to describe how the US government keeps silent and allows the Yemeni lies to go uncorrected in order "not to mislead" the American public. Instead, the US government leaves the misleading up to Yemen.

Rubin's statement starts about 42 minutes into the podcast.

My take on the Yemen deception is that the Yemeni government doesn't want to take flak for being a flunky of the Evil Empire from the other side of the planet.
Tags: middle east
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