Climate Change and Yemen’s Agony

By Juan Cole | (The Nation) —

From “Why Is Yemen So Violent? Because It Is So Poor and Thirsty” .


“Yemen’s troubles are only beginning, and one worries that much of the population will end up displaced, as has already happened to Syria. That vast further social disruption would not exactly tamp down the problems of extremism and terrorism. Sanaa could be the first world capital to simply run out of water, as its aquifers are drained. Its undependable and small oil and gas industry accounts for 87 percent of the value of its exports, with the rest accounted for by fish and agricultural produce. Some complain that among the latter products is the crop of qat, a mild narcotic that virtually everyone chews on social occasions, and which is lucrative for farmers. But the real problem is lack of water, not that people shouldn’t be able to have the equivalent of their beer.

If Yemen had had a growing economy . . . Some of the tribal unrest to which the Houthis and Al Qaeda have played would never have arisen. Rural Yemenis would not have been forced off their farms by water shortages. In the Gulf, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have already turned to desalinization plants for most of their drinking water, but despite vague plans to build such plants in Yemen, none has yet materialized. The United States and Europe are mainly interested in Yemen because they fear that the Houthis are cat’s paws of Iran (there is not likely much of a connection—it is a completely different style of Shiism) or because the Houthis might threaten the security of the Bab al-Mandab, the opening to the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean, through which some 10 percent of world trade flows.

Models of global development that leave half the the children of a country such as Yemen malnourished are broken beyond repair.”

Read my full column at The Nation


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Middle East Eye: “Members of Yemen’s Parliament call on government to restore security”

5 Responses

  1. One can bet that our Great Imperial Thingie is, on the one hand, indifferent to the miseries of which what’s highlighted in Dr. Cole’s post is a present manifestation and also harbinger, and on the other, preparing to take full financial and klepto-capitalist advantage of same. The planning and practice for our Grand Global Interoperable Network-Centric Battlespace Juggernaut to have its “I’m in charge here” moment is well advanced. link to The thinkers note that these changes will most likely happen “fairly suddenly,” and anyone familiar with Pentagram Practices care to share how agile-ly the Juggernaucracy can “respond,” through its processes and massively top-heavy and self-interested “chains of command?”

    And should the rest of us gloat that Murphy is indubitably on the case, ensuring more endless FUBARs in the Big End-Game Operation? Or sorrow that all that wealth and effort and actual intelligence of the IQ kind that could avert or at least ameliorate so much of what’s coming, by “conservation” and renewable-ization and such silliness, will instead go to “better weapons” and more integrated stripping of the planet, starting with the Pentagon’s vastly hypocritical “wish” that privatizing and combusting and extracting “Arctic resources” will be “conflict-free,” link to, while “of course” preparing to assert Imperial sovereignty over pretty much all of it (Harper’s Canada being much of a muchness with “Imperial interests”): link to As to the Inuit, “How many (military) divisions do they have?” link to

    “Restore security?” Reminds me of something I learned in another life, decades ago: “RE-habilitation” is a meaningless buzz term in the area of criminal corrections — most of the bad ones were never “habilitated” in the first instance…

    As to ordinary people in places like Yemen and Iraq and Syria and Bangladesh and the Far Arctic and those disappearing Pacific Islands: Like the alien, that Imperial trooper that’s so much like us in our eat-it-all collective behaviors that we rightly fear it, said to the President, in that little scene in “Independence Day,” in response to the Prez’s question, “What is it you want us to do?”: “We want you to die… die…” link to

  2. I predict:

    Global warming will make ArctiCanada and Siberia warm and ice-free enough to find all kinds of more coal, gas, and oil up there. Which will all be sold, burned, and skydumped.

    Global Heating will then melt all the ice off of
    Greenland, Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, etc. So much coal, gas, and oil will be found there that . . .

    Global Steaming will melt all the ice off of Antarctica. So much coal, gas and oil will be found on the newly ice-freed Antarctica that . . .

    Global Autoclaving will turn the Earth into a sterile dessicated Venusian hell-planet.

    • Apparently if we run through all the hydrocarbons we just have a tropical, sweltering, no-ice, high-frequency-bad hurricanes planet for 1000,000 years until the carbon sinks wash our sh*t out of the atmosphere. Not Venus.

    • What a wonderful word, “corruption.” Covers so many many behaviors and defects. A diagnosis that pretty much applies to the whole “developed” part of the humanosphere too… The disease processes and prognosis are well known and understood. Too bad that, as with the increasing numbers of pathogens and parasites that have wised up to how to defeat, ignore and avoid antibiotics and pesticides, what passes for homeostasis and the normal functioning of the social immune system, that chimaerical “rule of law” thingie and its parts, is overwhelmed by the proliferation of self-created “niches” and metabolic pathways for the worst of us to eat and get ever fatter on the lives and futures of the rest of us… No wonder that the theme of the “Alien” franchise draws so much attention. Poor old Ripley, resurrected again and again to bear yet another murderous, ravenous, “potentially profitable” child… link to And since the money economy and “consumptive capitalism” are mostly about predation and parasitism, a little educational tale about the virtues of symbiosis and comity is free for the reading at link to (originally titled “A Sense of Obligation,” a title that wold sell fewer books than “Planet of the Damned.” Medvirk and umedvirk — interesting concepts…)

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