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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid