Yemen’s Saleh Narrowly Avoids Death, Civil war Looms

Yemeni president for life Ali Abdullah Saleh nearly reached the end of his term on Friday, when rockets slammed into the mosque where he was praying in congregation. His prime minister was wounded and 4 others were killed, and he suffered some flesh wounds, later coming on t.v. to deny rumors that he had been killed. The rockets may have been fired by members of the Hashed tribe loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, whose compound has itself come under government attack. Friday’s events may have been retaliation. There are fears that those tribes loyal to Saleh and those loyal to al-Ahmar are increasingly falling into civil war.

Tim Lister at CNN explains why Yemen’s fate matters to Americans.

Here’s a simpler way to do it. Google around and find out what comes to Europe and the US through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Then imagine trying to live without it, or with 10% less of it.

Eurovision reports on Saleh’s near death experience.

Aljazeera English also reports:

And here for an interview with a Yemeni opposition leaders:

Posted in Yemen | 8 Responses | Print |

8 Responses

  1. Prof Cole you are a huge hero of mine. Still the idea that a hostile Yemen could close down oil shipments through the Red Sea is fanciful. Shipping companies may not be able to hire security teams or escorts for every cargo ship that sails within 1000 miles of Somalia, but the idea that the West can’t protect oil supertankers sailing past the coast of Yemen seems doubtful in the extreme. We are not talking Iran and the Straits of Hormuz, a much more advanced country with armament out of the imagination of Yemen plus a much narrow channel. At best Yemen could threaten some fishing boats pirating Somali fisheries. It is not like Saleh has a huge store of Silkworms or whatever the modern equivalent is.

    A security cordon past Aden just wouldn’t require much naval resources at all. Quite apart from the retaliatory component. To repeat Yemen ain’t Iran.

  2. The Yemeni tribes appear to have quite a cache of modernized weaponry but I doubt it has anywhere near the air power that the Soviets, Czechs, and US have bestowed on Saleh’s government. How likely is Saleh to now order air strikes tribal controlled parts of Sanaa?

  3. The fate of Yemen may affect me, but I’m willing to leave it in the hands of Yemenis, and hope that the likes of this opposition leader can bring freedom to their country. I don’t want American taxes being used to train the forces of autocrats how to crush dissent. Is instability and uncertainty really worse than the fruits of Western think tanks and huge intervention?

  4. On that “10 percent less, or do without” point: I forget the term in economics, where people who can’t afford or don’t have access to something tangible figure out ways to cope and substitute other stuff. Does one get points for discovering that oil in large ships goes through the Bab el Mandeb? Do we have a global problem with human survival that results from all this consumption, and protection of consumption, of petroleum?

    If this is all just about keeping the rich folk well-oiled, well maybe it’s time to change out the game board and try a different way of life?

    Implicit in the bit about “choke points,” of which there seem to be many, including the Suez Canal itself (easily blocked by a few sunken ships,) the whole Red Sea gauntlet, the already “troublesome” bit of piracy a little east of that “we’ve got to hold it whatever the cost, just like Khe Sanh, it’s the key to the whole position” little point of land, which a brigade of Marines and “our” wonderful new “:littoral combat” Navy could presumably “pacify” if the need was really critical.

    And it’s not like “we” are doing such a good job of the spreading-democracy pretext stuff “we” all feel justifies propping up dictators for “convenience” against revolutions of revulsion and rising aspirations, at “securing” the West’s immutable “right” to lines of supply for the stuff “we” are too freakin’ stupid to start finding substitutes for just because the Oiligopoly and its kleptocratic pet governments want us to continue our addiction.

    I live pretty simply myself, not like the average Yemeni of course, but my solar panels provide much of my domestic electric needs and a couple more could cover all of it, and I can cut even further into my personal use of gasoline, plastics and such. The Great Game/Game of Risk! tm problem is the greedy sickness that some are coming to call MOREism, a refusal by too many of the overprivileged to “give up” any of their “consumer rights,” their G_d-given “natural rights” to as much of the planet’s natural resources as they can dig, beg, borrow or steal, refusing to do what is honorable and necessary as a way of keeping their species and even their families alive.

    “We” are all about pleasing OURSELVES, for the span of our puny little destructive lives, and then hey, as the Wall Streeters are fond of saying, to their partners in crimes that they have paid legislatures to render “no longer illegal,” as they steal all the wealth, “IBG_YBG:” “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.” So no consequences to them at least, on the path to the land of Soylent Green, and you can bet more than one of these paragons of the Gordon Gekko Mantra of Success is already planning to open the national and eventually international chain of suicide parlors, for those who finally give in to the despair that greed inevitably creates.

    I for one would happily do without the loads of woe that go ’round that little southwest point of Yemenland and between it and all that other potentially hostile terrain. And without the whole apparatus of sorrow that goes along with that. Ten whole percent? Wow. Gee, maybe if the concentration was on moving FOOD where it is needed, and farm machinery, and PEOPLE dislocated by the geo-hypertrophic changes that are already under way, it might be an important issue that some bandito tried to plug up the flow. Oil? Even small amounts are poisonous, y’know…

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