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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid