Scratch the surface of any story and you’ll find rumors, hoaxes, and conspiracies. The conspiracy theory is the most intriguing of them all, for it combines total skepticism with total credulity. The same person will challenge every assertion made by the government or the mass media about Roswell or the Kennedy assassination, and then proceed to embrace the most cockamamie theory without even doing a minimum of legwork to test it.
Despite major demographic and infrastructural differences, the Yemeni people face with the same fundamental problems that the successful insurgents of the Arab world have sought to eradicate through collective action this year. The 32-year-old regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh has systematically denied basic political and economic rights to the country’s majority, controlling the population through a combination of “bribe-a-tribe” cronyism and outright political repression.
The Middle East faces a moment of truth as country after country rises up against its authoritarian leaders. No government is secure against the people-powered protest movements sweeping the region. These dramatic events will likely be the greatest U.S. foreign policy challenge over the next decade. The regional security framework — with new roles for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Israel, and the likely Palestinian state (or states) — is evolving, and Washington must reexamine how it defends its regional interests in a new way.
Since Obama came to office in January 2009, U.S. security assistance to the Yemeni regime has gone up 20-fold. Despite such large-scale unconditional support, however, the 32-year reign of autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh may finally be coming to an end. Yet the Obama administration has been ambivalent in its support for a democratic transition in this impoverished but strategically important country.
You might think that the poor critical reception he received for his book about tribal politics would make Robert Kaplan think twice before resurrecting the “warrior” leitmotif in relation to Gaddafi, Gbagbo, and Saleh.
It’s not just Libya that demonstrates hair-raising casualness about nuclear security, but Yemen.
The WikiLeaks documents are more significant for the Arab world than it is for the United States.
Dear President Obama,
You’re not the man I thought you were.
Most progressives have no problem finding flaws with your first years as President to criticize you about, whether it’s the whittling down of the healthcare bill, decision to ramp up military operations in Afghanistan, failure to close Guantanamo, or deal effectively with Climate Change at Copenhagen.
For me however, it is the moments in which you have an opportunity to make a clear decision, with profound moral implications, and yet choose to act in a way that makes me ashamed to call you my President…
Many Yemenis believe that al Qaeda’s presence in their country is a bogeyman conjured up by their government for its own agenda.
For decades, the Persian Gulf region – subsumed under a latent Sunni-Shia divide – was animated by a drama of Iraq-Iran rivalry; each power balanced the other. The elimination of Saddam Hussein, by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, introduced a new chapter in the regional affairs – Saudi Arabia and Iran as the twin pillars of the regional power-configuration. Historically, despite numerous efforts by each party to improve bilateral relations and deepen cooperation, Iran-Saudi relations have been fraught with intermittent rhetorical wars and grim strategic competition.