News / Middle East

    In Yemen, Presence of Elite Marine Unit Raises Ire

    "Anything but the messenger of God," reads a sign left in the shattered window of a U.S. compound after it was stormed by rioters in Sana'a, Yemen, Sept. 13, 2012. (C. Coombs for VOA)
    "Anything but the messenger of God," reads a sign left in the shattered window of a U.S. compound after it was stormed by rioters in Sana'a, Yemen, Sept. 13, 2012. (C. Coombs for VOA)
    The mid-September deployment of an elite team of 50 Marines to the U.S. embassy in Yemen has fueled growing opposition to Washington’s role in the small Arab nation, which remains mired in a fragile political transition after a tumultuous year of uprisings dethroned President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years of authoritarian rule.
     
    The increased security measures, a reaction to violent riots on September 13 that engulfed the heavily-guarded complex in Sana'a and left four dead, came on the heels of two suspected U.S. drone strikes that killed more than a dozen civilians.
     
    “Even though they’re trying to kill al-Qaeda, it’s not their responsibility,” tribal leader Al-Hasan Abkr of Al-Jawf governorate said about the American drones, which in June helped Yemeni troops reclaim territory seized by an offshoot of Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
     
    “Drones, Marines, anything, we refuse it,” Abkr shouted.
     
    Yemen's parliament voiced similar concerns about issues of sovereignty after Washington announced its decision to send the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) to bolster security at the embassy in Yemen's capital. "The Parliament of Yemen strongly rejects any foreign military presence on Yemeni soil, whether big or small ... under any pretext," a statement read.
     
    American ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, said in a statement that the “temporary assignment of additional personnel to assist U.S. missions facing security challenges is normal” and “in accordance with international laws.”
     
    “The [FAST] mission is strictly limited to assisting at our diplomatic facilities and protecting U.S. diplomatic personnel from violence” during the repair of structural damage from the riots, he wrote.
     
    Yet against the backdrop of heightened security precautions at U.S. missions across the Muslim world — particularly after last month's attack in Benghazi, in which heavily armed assailants killed U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens along with three other Americans — the White House, which did not immediately respond to inquiries about the recent deployment, appears reluctant to specify when the FAST unit will depart.
     
    With presidential elections a few weeks away, the additional Marines in Sana’a will likely remain on embassy grounds until at least November, when Yemen’s controversial National Dialogue Conference is scheduled to convene the country’s disparate power blocs in an attempt to lay foundations for unification.
     
    Controversial remarks by transitional President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi during his first trip to Washington in late September may have further complicated his domestic agenda. President Hadi, who was swept to power in February as part of a Gulf-brokered and U.N.-backed power-transfer deal, defended drone strikes as a critical tool in the ongoing battle against AQAP, which has attempted several attacks on the U.S. homeland since 2009, including the “underwear bomber” and the “toner bombs” plots.
     
    In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Hadi spoke to the superior technology of drones and argued that the U.S. and Yemen have taken “multiple measures to avoid mistakes of the past,” alluding to collateral damage
     
    He also announced that he gives prior consent for each American strike, 44 of which have taken place since last year, according to a tally by The Long War Journal. About three-fourths of those strikes have taken place under Hadi’s administration.
     
    The unofficial drone campaign is also open-ended, designed to apply pressure on AQAP while Hadi restructures the highly divided military and prepares it to address the threat itself.
     
    Despite two rounds of presidential decrees stripping the ex-president’s relatives and loyalists of top military posts, the two most powerful commanders — Saleh’s eldest son Ahmed of the Republican Guard, and the former president’s kinsman Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who last year defected from the Saleh regime to protect anti-government protestors with his First Armored Division — still control their respective divisions of the fractured army.
     
    Against this backdrop, Shaykh Abkr from Al Jawf said that regardless of how limited or temporary the Marine mission may actually be, “it gives a chance to al-Qaeda and other groups to make problems bigger and bigger.”
     
    “It was a really big mistake,” he said.
     
    "The rebellious Shi'ite Huthi movement, based in northern Yemen along the Saudi border, has in recent weeks flooded the capital city with its provocative slogan, 'Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.'" (C. Coombs for V"The rebellious Shi'ite Huthi movement, based in northern Yemen along the Saudi border, has in recent weeks flooded the capital city with its provocative slogan, 'Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.'" (C. Coombs for V
    x
    "The rebellious Shi'ite Huthi movement, based in northern Yemen along the Saudi border, has in recent weeks flooded the capital city with its provocative slogan, 'Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.'" (C. Coombs for V
    "The rebellious Shi'ite Huthi movement, based in northern Yemen along the Saudi border, has in recent weeks flooded the capital city with its provocative slogan, 'Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.'" (C. Coombs for V
    Since the embassy siege, the Zaydi Shi’ite Huthi movement has raised its profile in Sana’a, opening new offices, protesting U.S. involvement in the political transition and flooding the capital with signs bearing its anti-American slogan, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
     
    The Huthis, which since 2006 have fought in six battles with the central government in defense of their homeland in northern Saada governorate, represent a key political obstacle in President Hadi’s bid to unify Yemen ahead of multiparty elections in 2014.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yamani from: Yemen
    October 19, 2012 2:56 AM
    only Tribal of Yemen who are annoyed from Marines presence in yemen, educated youth are not, they already know that they are better than yemeni troops and security forces, they also admit that civil system in yemen can be consisted and achieved if Yemen is gone under foreign occupation.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.