The WaPo picks up where they left off yesterday with their ‘Exporting Democracy’ series with a fine piece by David Finkel. While the whole thing is worth a read, this stuck out:
Just as there are no police here, or courts or government or law, there are also no roads, only smoothed tracks in the dirt and sand, which Rabea and his armed guards drove along until they arrived at a village called Aal Shinnon. It has no electricity, no functioning school, no functioning anything, only an angry man who, when the subject of the United States came up, said, “We’re ready for the Americans. If they come, we will kill them.”
Next stop: a village called Al Muhtoon, where a man said of the United States, “It’s the biggest country in the world, and it doesn’t do much good for the world.” Why, he asked bitterly, doesn’t American money come here? He was standing outside the health clinic, which had bullet holes in the front gate, trash in the courtyard, a padlock on the door and nothing visible inside except a broken scale, a rusted bed frame and a dust-coated sink. A year ago, there was a doctor here, the man said. He stayed for two months, waiting for the government to send equipment and medicine, and when nothing showed up he went away.
How much of the hatred, as witnessed in the Aal Shinnon, is caused by the perception of indifference as witnessed in Al Muhtoon?
Again, the entire series is worth a read (yesterday’s installment is here). Jane at Armies of Liberation, who has some experience with Yemen, comments.
Hi, just in case your readers are interested in more about Yemen, these are my last two articles in the Yemen Times:
Yemen’s Criminal Enterprise which discusses the goverments involvement in drug smuggling, gun running, and a variety of crinimal enterprises.
Journalism in Yemen which discussed how the govt uses the media to attack its critics, and the pressures indepenedent journalists face.
I don’t know if they are interested (I suspect some will be), but I am. Thanks, Jane.
Just as a side note, the President of Yemen is always stirring up anti-Americanism. He recently said that the US was going to invade Yemen after the Cole but only his strength saved the people. Also at the time top officials said the US blew it up ourselves as an excuse to invade. The official government papers (of our ally President Saleh) continually trash the US and when they want to damage some ones reputation they call him an American stooge. Since I was on al-Jazeera last month (exposing them), they have written numerous (more than 20) articles in the govt papers targeting me by name and calling me a variety of things notably stooge, Zionist, paid operative, ect. (heh)
Thank you John.
I would ask this: How important is Yemen? Should the US be shifting focus to Yemen? What is the strategic context that would bring Yemen to the forefront of discussion and interesting for Americans like myself?
I’m still trying to digest everything Juan Cole throws at me about Iraq, all the intracacies that existed before we invaded and all the stuff bubbling just below the surface.
I’ll read your articles, now that I know where to look, but I really need some angle by which I can get really interested and start doing my own research into Yemen.
Yemen is critically important. Its geographically located along a strategic shipping route and controls some straights I forget the name.
Two its on the verge of state failure: Transparency International, the World Bank, The Meillenium Challenge account, and the Fund for Peace have all analysed Yemen as moving backwards, regressing from transparency, democracy, ect. Its near the top of the list of failing states. (I cover this in my new article which should be up by the end of the week.)
There’s a consensus in Yemen for democracy, a multiparty system, and equal rights- this was the basis of the unification of North Yemen (15 million people) wiht formerly Marxist South Yemen (3 million people). Currently the regime (President Saleh was President of the North since 1978) is crushing the Southern people in organizaed discrimination, and every one else (seriously) who poses a threat. He is actively opposing democratization and power is centralized in his family which controls all the military and security forces, and the ruling party, the GPC which (like Saddams Baath party) is the only way to be enfranchised.
The regime is a master of propaganda for the West. Also as one of the articles covers, the al-Qaeda supporters are in the Yemeni military.
Those who are working for democracy are enemies of the state, and this includes some of the most heroic journalists you could imagine.
The regime is buddying up to Syria, Iran, and has good trade relations with North Korea, so I think the US is afraid to push too hard and too openly.
Saleh just got re-nominated for his next 7 year term, which will make him the longest serving dictator in the ME. Theres elections in 2006 but the laws and finances are seriously skewed in favor of the ruling party.
I wonder if these articles will talk about Qatar or UAE, some of the other nations in that region which are doing well economically, and how governance is different or similar there.
I dont mean to take advantage of another RINOs hospitality but I just got this email, and Ive gotten hundreds from Yemenis;
hi dear jane…. thanks for accept my massege hope to continou with ur web site and al member untill romval of terrorism from yemen ….. and removal ali saleh and his family from head of goverment in yemen because tjis family supply terrors with many and weapons to go to saudia , aferica, iraq ….ect since in 1991 transfer osama bin laden to sudan across yemen ..and other criminal works in yemen … hope to give facts to all world especialy usa about this criminal family in goverment of yemen……
So I think the Yemeni people are not scary, the Yemeni government is. But even more so, 56% of the children in Yemen are physically stunted from malnutrition, theres 2 doctors for every 10,000 yemenis, little clean water or electricity, and few schools.
And the new budget cuts all development and services funds and….raises the military budget by 50% when it was already consuming 25% of total public expenditures. But they promise, really promise, they are going to stop smuggling weapons to the jihaddi side of every conflict in the region.
Sorry John, but to answer your reader, I really think Yemen is important.
Jane, I’m not trying to challenge your ideas on Yemen’s importance. Its that most of us have never really paid that much attention to it. Other than the Cole bombing (like most of his attempts at humor), Yemen is just another part of the black hole of the Middle East. I’m always open to learn more, especially from people that take the time to do accurate research.
It is an open comments section, and you can post whatever you like, as much as you like.
Lines, No Im sorry. I didnt mean to imply you were. I just get over excited whenever I find anybody interested in Yemen.
What, like France can’t build a hospital in Yemen? Why is it our fault? Anyway, what kind of credit are the America-haters around the world giving us for building hospitals in Iraq?
How about a mare apt analogy?
Maybe if we build a large wooden badger……
The hatred seems to be going away.
Let me let you in on a little hint. Quoting the WSJ opinion page is about as reliable a source as Pravda. Actually Pravda may have less ideological bias. Seriously it’s that bad.
That being said, if the poll results are valid it’s good news.
However, it shouldn’t be used as justification to continue randomly killing people and locking their families up in the Gulag for complaining.
Zogby had an interesting poll that showed people in the ME are identifying more with their own country, and are more concerned with economics and less with the Palestinians.
YES! I cannot believe that we didn’t pour vastly more money into earthquake relief for northern Pakistan and Afghanistan — morality aside, if ever there was a God-given (or Satan-given) opportunity to acquire otherwise totally unattainable good will in a region where we desperately need it, that was it.
Moreoverabout yemen, the Yemeni regime is spreading what may be labeled as ‘conspiracy theory’ especially in the educational curricula in a subject called “nationalism” which glorifies the regime and blames the economic, political and social backwardness on a Zionist-American conspiracy theory. One which the president quiet often refers to in his public speeches, including the latest incident where he mentioned the US has plans to invade the Yemeni port of Aden.
Additionally, the government has a new scheme for “rehabilitation” of imprisoned suspects of terrorism as a part of an anti-terror scheme; however, rumours indicate that the government is recruiting these suspects to operate as intelligence officers and to use them as potential ‘hidden hands’ in a similar manner how it used ex-Afghanistan veterans in the 1994 civil war.
In short, a time-bomb is in the making.
Rehabilitation scheme: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4328894.stm