Juan Cole on Yemen

Juan is kind enough to write on this place and quote the SST article on Yemen.  Since I am not doing well in recovering from the flu I will return the favor.  When I was "out there" in the early 80s one of the best things about it was that people didn't take the place seriously unless they were actually stationed there.  It was a bit like living in an Evelyn Waugh novel, "Black Mischief" and "Scoop" come to mind.  There was the small diplomatic community which obsessed over dealing with each other.  There was the altitude which made me ill from time to time.  There was one big war and lots of little ones.  We lived in big, dusty, masonry houses, whitewashed to a false purity.  The Red Chinese intelligence boss from their embassy would come to my house once a week to tell me all about what the 2,000 odd Chinese construction workers had seen the Soviets doing the previouis week.  It was an interesting place.  pl


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15 Responses to Juan Cole on Yemen

  1. N. M. Salamon says:

    While I am happy to see the Colonel cited on other blog pages, I think the most important posting by Prof. Cole [today] is the Karachi bombings, etc.
    The USA’s so called war on terror has already made 3 failed states: Iraq, Afganistan and Somalia. Next we talk of Yemen, while Pakistan is on verge of political collapse.
    I do not dispute the fact that the USA Air Force could send all these countries [and Iran] into the stone age, but I question the foreign policy of the USA whose main objective seems to be the arouse 1.5 billion Muslims into a war of attrition, where the oil needs of the USA can only be procured from the same muslim countries [Mexico’s production/export is falling, Canada has no SPARE OIL -we import on the East what we export from the West; while Venezuela is not exactly a friend due to the USA foreign policy backlash].
    some brain dead person [Letters ot the Editor] at NYT proposed to blockade Iran – did not think that the USA can not blockade against China, nor did the idiot think what a loss of Iran’s production would do the Oil market, where the USA is the biggest user, biggest importer and is in the hock to China, Japan, et al to past her eyebrows.

  2. Sorry about the flu and hope you feel better soon.
    Yemen seems to attract certain types that have an interest in certain foreign cultures. Question? Any recent good books discussing Yemen and US interests there? reaqugin

  3. Bill Wade, NH says:

    I’m not worried, with the kind of intel we have been getting everything should be a-ok:
    As an added attraction, there are photos of nude women on this site – the pics are not too naughty though and if you click on a pic, you’ll be directed to another article.

  4. frank durkee says:

    Just a personal note to wish you a speedy recovery.

  5. Jose says:

    The War on Drugs also produce several failed states (Colombia, Mexico, and now Guatemala) so why are we surprised.
    People will grow up real soon, because we are almost broke…lol

  6. Fred Strack says:

    AQ loses 1 guy to faulty underwear bomb; politicians panic, world wide security changes ensue – because of course all future bombers will do exactly the same thing.
    Meanwhile China continues to expand military capabilities:
    Anybody at the top paying attention? How about a little perspective.

  7. Charles I says:

    Dope, oil & Chinese.
    All ahead full. Ramming speed!

  8. N. M. Salamon says:

    Off topic:
    Anyone interested in transport of parts and erection of a wind power generator will enjoy the approx 9 min video [3 parts] by Vesta [Netherland’s] at Aruba [Netherland colony]./

  9. N. M. Salamon says:

    A new way to influense hearts and minds in IRAQ: Federal Judge squashes persecution of the Blakwater 5 in the Iraq shooting spree:
    Happy New year to all!

  10. harper says:

    The valuable and insightful reports from Col. Lang and Juan Cole about Yemen prompted me to think back a few weeks to President Obama’s West Point address, announcing the 30,000 plus troop “surge” in Afghanistan. If the Afghan mission is centered on denying Al Qaeda a safe haven for future attacks against the U.S. and our allies, and it appears that Al Qaeda is pretty much defeated and pinned down in Afpak, but is establishing a new operational base in an equally desolate Yemen, then what is the story here? I can appreciate a residual counterterror presence in Afghanistan, and I can also appreciate the need to continue to press the Pak military and ISI to wage a serious war–with generous American military and economic assistance–against the alphabet soup of Jihadi groups there. But to continue to press on with some variation of the McChrystal Doctrine in Afghanistan, at the same time that attention has been shifted to the “new Afghanistan” at the foot of the Persian Gulf, is beyond my simple brain’s comprehension. Wouldn’t we be better off establishing a global counterterror program, working, as in the case of Yemen, with a cooperating government, albeit one with limited control over its territory?
    I read today in the Press Trust of India and in the Daily Telegraph that American intelligence is furious at their British “cousins” for providing such a recruiting ground for Jihadi organizations, right under the noses of MI5 and MI6. I wrote a memorandum to Madeleine Albright in January 2000, suggesting that the State Department might wish to consider whether Britian should be placed on the list of states sponsoring terrorism. I cited only government documentation, from nine separate governments, that had filed formal diplomatic protests, over the fact that terrorists were recruiting and fundraising on British soil. A move by the Tory Party in the House of Commons sought to block Britain from serving as such a safehaven for foreign terrorist groups, ranging from the PKK, to Sendero Luminoso, but it was blocked, at least up through the London subway bombing a few years ago.
    Now, we are also being told that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Gulf was behind the attempted bombing of the Northwest Airlines flight, and that two of its leaders had been released to Saudi custody from Guatmo. They went through “rehab” in Saudi Arabia and then went into Yemen from there.
    I don’t think our problem is a failure of intelligence. I think it is a failure to face reality, including the unpleasant reality that some of our so-called most loyal “allies” have their own foreign policy and national security interests, that don’t always coincide with ours. We can craft a coordinated international counterterror alliance, but it cannot be based on naive presumptions, or grandoise beliefs that we can rewrite the history of counterinsurgency.
    On that note, Happy New Year, all!

  11. curious says:

    I don’t know how Yemen situation can be improved from DC point of view. The damage from Bush era is quite big. (abrupt change in monetary policy direction after first wave of al qaeda bombing plus breaking secrecy agreement.) I would say we can expect to see a whole lot more Bush era policy time bomb exploding.
    In the meantime, US relationship with main international partners tied to Yemen issue is not going well. (China, Russia, Saudi, Iran…maybe Egypt)
    Yemen also traditionally seems to be a spot to drive a dagger into Saudi from.
    It has all the ingredient al qaeda needs a) massive young/unemployed/impressionable population. b)civil war/ethnic strife c)government that is not functioning/easily delegitimized d)cold war conflict zone/big power skirmish area e)Change of guard in the traditional islamic establishment f)major trade route during medieval Islamic time. people can move in and out across border using effective and low tech transport.
    Observe all Al qaeda hallmark activity
    1. attack on tourist site, blowing up planes (economic terrorism)
    2. old ethnic/religious/civil war strife flaring up again.
    3. regional area demand oil revenue or else independent
    4. drug (money for guns)
    5. afghanistan, pakistan militants
    6. new religious militant group. (al qaeda franchise)
    7. attack on US embassy. (usually also rioting in front of US military base)
    double whamy:
    IMF did their handy work on Yemen macro economy. (austerity program, privatization, cutting social program, new bigger debt, turning status quo politics up side down, etc) Basically, making semi functioning corrupt authoritarian government into weak and non functioning mess in a hurry. (anybody notice IMF and regime change handy works do amazing job providing Al qaeda fertile ground? One can almost conclude neocon and Al qaeda are both needed to create big blow up.)
    If I have to guess Al qaeda plan:
    – radicalize segment of population. (migrant from somalia, disaffected youth, expats from Saudi, old guerillas, oppressed minority, etc.)
    – bring in more af-pak guerillas
    – massive dose of political rally and speeches (deligitamizing central government, kill local leaders, neutralize incompatible religious groups, etc)
    – strange assassination, rumor, killing, etc. (aim at polarisation)
    – ignite ethnic civil strife
    – international terrorism, and make sure al qaeda name is attached for purpose to bring in military intervention and raising US domestic rethoric.
    – crash the already weak economy. (usually things that have very small bottle neck. Oil pipeline, tourism, stock market, national symbols, etc)
    – All Yemen rivals, sugar daddies, supporters, enemies, allies, etc suddenly pulling strings all at once. Putting massive stress in already weak government.
    It’s classic regime change kung-fu right out of cia/isi manual from the 80’s.
    Ideally, there should be a secret pact between US, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi:
    a) not using Yemen as conflict zone. A general agreement for arabian sea/persian gulf security. (make sure only adult is in charge of Yemen policy, not neocons or n00bs/interns crews)
    b) no weapons supply to anybody except government
    c) everybody using their leverage to end civil war
    d) unify in one policy to shore up central government
    e) settle all border conflict.
    f) probably has to start killing a lot of bad guys (stalinist style elemination)
    g) post oil economic reform and international trade
    h) massive birth control & population growth reduction program. (one child only)
    i) exert soft control on all religious groups. (assasination, state aid/punishment, access to government facilities, access to power, etc)
    j) cheap light armored division. (there goes human right)
    But we know that’s not going to happen
    so most probably:
    1. Yemen economy sliding fast as oil revenue collapses and conflict deter foreign investment.
    2. unemployment explode
    3. All previous yemen conflict re-igniate (Saudi, Iran, cold war era fight)
    4. Israel using this as an opportunity to fsck Saudi and iran. Draws tangled US further in middle east affair.
    5. US foreign policy circle freaks out and start shooting every which way
    6. US-China foreign policy tension ove control of Yemeni port/sea route.
    7. high level assassination. Yemen government collapse. civil war.
    The newest Al qaeda disneyland is established, with bonus of future US-China naval skirmish in the gulf.

  12. Charles I says:

    Re establishing a global counterterror program.
    Gordon Brown calls international summit on Yemen
    and the bonus of future US-China naval skirmish in the gulf. . .
    “China may build Middle East naval base
    . . .In a sign of the growing confidence of the Chinese military, Admiral Yin Zhuo said that the country may set up a base in the Gulf of Aden in order to support missions against Somali pirates.”

  13. N. M. Salamon says:

    A most interesting and most unexpected analysis of Israel/Gaza relations by one of the most Zionist papers in the world, the Jerusalem Post
    Analyse it, and you come to the conclusion that the author is AN ADULT, of whom there are few in USA and Isrel.
    Enjoy, and weep that the same3 could not appear in USA MSM.

  14. different clue says:

    I don’t yet have any useful thoughts to offer about Yemen.
    About the flu…there is anecdotal evidence that vitamin D supplements from mid-fall through mid-spring can raise immune-resistance to getting flu. Either this computer is too primitive or I am too unskilled to easily re-find links I have found on the faster stronger workplace computers. But vitamin D flu resistance can be googled.
    The logic, which makes intuitive sense to me, is that during the weak-sunlight cold season our exposure to sunlight and its ultraviolet component goes way down. Since much of the vitamin D we get is made in our own bodies by exposing blood-borne vitamin
    D precursors in the subsurface capillary networks of the head and neck to ultraviolet exposure from sunlight; shortage of UV-driven vitamin D would lead to flu-inviting immune weakening. The fact that flu season somewhat matches the sunlight-deprivation season makes this seasonal vitamin-D defficiency theory seem even more sensible.
    Next year I might be diligent enough to begin taking vitamin D supplements
    from early fall through late spring. And on the few sunny winter days I may stand in the sunlight with exposed head and neck to drive in-body production of vitamin D.

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