News / Middle East

US Government Pressed Over Yemen Uncertainty

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Nico Colombant

While the political and security situation in Yemen spirals into uncertainty, U.S.-based pressure groups and analysts are pressing the U.S. government for more helpful action.

Amitabh Pal is one of many U.S.-based analysts disappointed that the U.S. government has not been more effective in helping move Yemen toward a peaceful, democratic solution.

Pal recently wrote a book about nonviolent movements in the Muslim world called Islam Means Peace. "The reason is that the Obama administration like every other U.S. administration has to balance its strategic and geopolitical interests with its concerns over human rights and democracy.  So it is trying to play on two fronts at once and the result is this very muddled, very inconsistent approach," he said.

Pal says the Yemen situation is potentially the most difficult and dangerous of all the so-called "Arab spring" protest movements to deal with. "There are arms afloat in Yemen to a very large extent much larger than in other Arab countries and there has been a presence of al-Qaida in Yemen again much larger than in pretty much any other Arab country, and I knew that it would probably devolve and degenerate soon and I am surprised in some sense that it took this long," he said.

Faris Almatrahi, a human rights activist with the Yemeni Youth Abroad for Change group, says the United States, for years, picked the wrong security ally in three-decade President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He has refused to step down, despite the mounting non-violent youth driven protests and Friday's rocket attack on the presidential compound which injured him.  

"The president of Yemen due to his lack of leadership and the situation that he has placed Yemen in is providing the ideal recruiting environment for extremism in Yemen.  You have these recruiting mechanisms that take all that poverty and environment and situation and directs it to the Yemeni government and links it to the United States and builds up that hatred toward the Yemeni government and toward the United States for allying itself with such a corrupt government," he said.

Almatrahi is also calling for U.S. sanctions against Yemen's government.

A former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Edmund J. Hull, has also appealed for targeted sanctions, as well as forceful demands for President Saleh's immediate resignation, and the endorsement of early elections.

Aliya Naim, a co-director for a group called Yemen Peace Project, says the situation is getting very alarming, and she fears military defectors could soon join tribal clans in escalating armed pressure against the ailing president.

"One thing that we have not seen that could potentially make the situation a lot worse if it happened concerns Ali Mohsen, who is the leader of the part of the army that defected back in March after the first massacre of protesters. We have not seen them getting involved on a full-blown scale in the conflict.  I believe it is 40 percent of the army that Ali Mohsen controls. If he got fully involved in this military conflict that would just really throw Yemen into civil war, with no going back," she said.

Her group is trying to raise medical funds to help injured protesters in Yemen.

It is also organizing a letter writing campaign to elected U.S representatives to put more pressure on the U.S. government.

For his part, President Barack Obama sent counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan to discuss the Yemen situation with officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week. On Friday the White House called for restraint, a peaceful transfer of power, and an end to what it called "senseless" violence in Yemen.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid