Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Cited as “Model,” Yemen Becomes Latest Obama-Neocon Tragedy

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After years of both secret and overt war unconstitutionally waged by the Obama administration in Yemen, the strategically important Arab nation is in the process of violently imploding once again — even as the White House applauds its strategy there as a “model.”

For the second time in recent years, a self-styled Yemeni “president” backed by the U.S. government, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has been forced to flee the country. As the civil war escalates and Shia Houthi rebels gain more territory, an Obama-backed coalition of Sunni Arab rulers led by the Saudi Arabian regime is fighting to keep “President” Hadi in power and crush the Houthi uprising. In typical fashion, intervention by the U.S. government in the country has poured fuel and weapons on the conflict. But despite Obama’s efforts to prop up the Yemeni regime in exile, some analysts say Yemen may be heading toward a break up into smaller states — and that the chaos in that nation could ignite a regional war across the broader Middle East.

The civil war raging across the Arab nation is being painted in the establishment press as a sort of “proxy war” between a U.S.-backed coalition led by the Sunni Muslim dictatorship ruling Saudi Arabia on one side and the Shia Muslim dictatorship ruling Iran and its Houthi allies on the ground on the other. Ironically, the Houthi militias now being bombarded with Obama’s support by Saudi war planes are reportedly fighting back with at least half of a billion dollars’ worth of captured U.S. military equipment originally provided to Yemen’s previous dictators.

The Shia Houthis, who have been fighting against what they view as government oppression for over a decade, began launching well-coordinated attacks against the capital city Sanaa last year. Last week, the rebels ran the Obama-backed dictator out of the country after seizing control of Sanaa, government ministries, and more swaths of territory across the poverty-stricken nation.

Now, with support from some military units apparently loyal to Yemen’s previous Obama-backed dictator, “President” Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthi militias are working to seize control of the important port city Aden. The Obama administration, the Saudi regime, and their ally Hadi, whose forces have been almost completely overrun by Houthis, are determined to stop it. So, last week, citing the United Nations charter, the Saudi dictatorship launched “Operation Decisive Storm” to bomb the Houthis into submission. A ground invasion to subdue the Shia militias is also being considered, according to news reports. In response, Houthi forces are threatening attacks inside Saudi Arabia. As if all of that chaos and confusion was not enough, al-Qaeda and ISIS — two Sunni Islamist terrorist groups opposed to Shia Houthis and oftentimes backed by the Sunni coalition — have also been rampaging through Yemen.

The Obama-Saudi-Sunni Arab coalition’s latest military assaults, underway for less than a week so far, have already come under fire from critics. On March 30, a Saudi air strike reportedly hit a refugee camp for displaced civilians in the North, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” said Yemen Operational Manager Pablo Marco with the group Doctors Without Borders, adding that at least 29 people — including women and children — had been killed in the attack. Military officials with the Saudi regime would not confirm the attack but argued that Houthi rebels had set up positions within civilian areas requiring a “decisive” response.

Almost unbelievably, just days after U.S. forces were forced to evacuate Yemen in a frenzied panic — and the day before Obama-backed “President” Hadi had to flee the nation to Saudi Arabia — the Obama administration was touting the alleged success of its supposed “strategy” in Yemen. “The White House does continue to believe that a successful counter-terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on March 25, referring to Obama’s backing of dictator Hadi. “That is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in places like Yemen.” Since those comments, the nation has descended further into the abyss.

Ironically, perhaps, it was hardly the first time that the Obama administration celebrated its unconstitutional interventionism in Yemen — essentially a combination of propping up ruthless dictators and assassinating “suspected militants,” including U.S. citizens and countless innocent civilians, using missiles fired from drones. In late 2012, for example, Obama’s terror czar John Brennan celebrated the administration’s brutal and unconstitutional secret war there as a “model” of success. “There are aspects of the Yemen program that I think are a true model of what I think the U.S. counterterrorism community should be doing,” Brennan was quoted as saying by the Washington Post, saying the strategy — now being ridiculed and blasted around the world — should be used in other nations as well.

The irony did not go completely unnoticed. “Throughout this process of Yemen's collapse, current and former administration officials, including President Obama himself, have repeatedly held up Yemen as a model for U.S. counterterrorism,” observed Amanda Taub in Vox.com, adding that a slight variant of the strategy employed to overthrow Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi also ended “very” poorly. “Last June, for instance, Obama singled out Yemen as a model of the approach he hoped would work in Syria. In September, he cited it as a successful example of the strategy he would use to degrade and destroy ISIS. Daniel Benjamin, a former administration counterterrorism official who now teaches at Dartmouth, told the LA Times in June that Yemen is a ‘basic template for how we do counterterrorism’ around the world.”

Backed by the unconstitutional war-loving neo-conservative wing of the GOP, the Obama administration has been meddling in Yemen and seeking to prop up its dictators almost since taking power. As The New American reported in 2010, the Obama Pentagon that year more than doubled the military-assistance budget for Yemen’s brutal dictator. The next year, the Obama administration took it a step further, unleashing secret bombing campaigns against the Saleh regime’s enemies under the guise of killing "militants" that resulted in multiple massacres of civilians. Obama’s lawless support was not enough, however, and the dictator, who ruled with an iron fist for decades, was ousted. His “vice president” ended up becoming the “transitional” dictator until being forced to flee Yemen with his regime for Saudi Arabia last week. In 2012, Obama issued an “executive order” purporting to make it a criminal offense to interfere — even “indirectly” — with the transition between Yemeni dictators he supported.  

So far, then, the fruit of Obama’s interventionism in Yemen has involved mass death, wanton destruction, violent instability, civil war, the spread of terrorism, and a further fueling of dangerous sectarian tensions. Unless such tragedies represent the Obama administration’s definition of “success,” the Yemen “strategy” — and unconstitutional foreign military interventionism more broadly; any war without a congressional declaration of war — have once again proven to be a spectacular and deadly failure. In Libya, where the Obama administration “switched sides” in the terror war with UN approval and backed self-declared al-Qaeda rebels with weapons and air power (without any semblance of legitimate authority to do so), brutal civil war is raging, too. And the lies are falling apart. Syria is suffering a similar fate thanks largely to the Obama administration and the globalist establishment. The blowback from all of those disasters will undoubtedly come back to haunt the United States and the world in the years and decades to come. Now, more than a few analysts have argued that a regional war that will spread across the Middle East may be brewing in Yemen.

An unnamed Obama official quoted by Reuters claimed the “objective” of the ongoing military machinations in Yemen was “to get to a point where the Houthis halt their destabilizing actions and come back to the table.” In recent comments about the escalating chaos in Yemen, though, former Congressman Ron Paul suggested it was unwise for the U.S. government to pick sides in the conflict. In the same “Liberty Report” discussion, arguing strongly against more U.S. government involvement, non-interventionist geopolitical analyst Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, suggested that secession might be a reasonable solution to the conflict raging in Yemen. Either way, the Obama administration and its neocon allies have helped sink yet another nation into a bloodbath by defying the Constitution. With the U.S. government already $17 trillion in debt, it is time for Congress to rein in Obama and put an end to the disastrous meddling not just in Yemen, but everywhere.

Photo showing the rubble of houses in Yemen: AP Images

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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