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Obama’s War On Yemen
Jan 5 2010
Besides waging direct or proxy wars on multiple fronts in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Sudan, Eastern Congo, elsewhere in
Africa, and likely to erupt almost anywhere at any time, Yemen is now a
new front in America's "war on terror" under a president, who as a
candidate, promised diplomacy, not conflict, if elected.
In 2008, he told the Boston Globe that:
President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally
authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve
stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
None exists, yet he's done the opposite and much more. He:
-- reinvented a "Cold War" with Russia;
encircling it and China with military bases, and proceeding with
provocative plans to install interceptor missiles in Poland (for
offense, not defense) and advanced tracking radar in the Czech Republic;
-- escalated war in Afghanistan;
appointed a hired gun assassin to lead it, General Stanley McChrystal,
infamous for committing war crime atrocities as former head of the
Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC);
authorized death squad assaults to pursue it, including extrajudicial
assassinations, torture, and indiscriminate bombing of Afghan
communities without regard for civilian lives;
-- expanded the war into Pakistan and now to Yemen;
militarizing Latin America using Colombia and the Dutch islands of
Aruba and Curazao to fly unmanned surveillance/attack drones over
Venezuela and perhaps elsewhere in the region;
plans to use Colombian insurgents to commit "false positive" border
incidents blaming Venezuela as a pretext for a retaliatory attack,
supported, of course, by Washington as a way to target and perhaps
remove Hugo Chavez;
failed to subvert Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection;
continues destabilization tactics for regime change; and may,
preemptively without cause, attack Iran's nuclear facilities;
-- ousted the democratically elected Honduran president, installing a fascist regime to replace him;
-- supports the worst of Israeli war crimes and oppression against Palestinians;
governs America under police state laws to resist unrest if it arises
in the wake of outlandish administration policies; and according to some
plans a major false flag US attack to enlist popular support, divert
attention from the deepening economic crisis, and provide a pretext for
new fronts in the "war on terror" with unlimited funding to pursue them
at the expense of neglected homeland needs.
Journalist Patrick Cockburn calls Yemen:
dangerous place. Wonderfully beautiful, the mountainous north of the
country is guerrilla paradise. The Yemenis are exceptionally
hospitable....humorous, sociable and democratic, infinitely preferable
as company to the arrogant ignorant playboys of the (rich regional) oil
is the capital, home to the central government and largest city, an
ancient one dating back to the 6th century BC Sabaean dynasty. However,
it's power is limited, given the strength of tribes, clans, and
influential families in a society very much a gun culture and prone to
average, Yemenis own three guns per person in a nation of 21 million
people, including one or more automatic weapons, like an AK-47 as well
as heavier arms. Yemeni Professor Ahmed al-Kibsi once told a British
reporter: "Just as you have your tie, the Yemeni will carry his gun,"
and isn't at all shy about using it.
result, Cockburn says "Yemen has all the explosive ingredients of
Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan," so entanglement there may
become another quagmire, besides the others in the region already. "It
is extraordinary to see the US begin to make the same mistakes in Yemen
as it previously made in Afghanistan and Iraq" - overextending and
getting too involved to exit.
Hartung, Arms and Security Initiative director at the New York-based
New America Foundation, calls the Yemeni government one of the most
unstable in the world, so weapons, training, and direct intervention
may backfire if an anti-Washington regime replaces it.
says America doesn't "learn from past mistakes and instead....repeats
them by fresh interventions in countries like Yemen." Perhaps not,
however, since part of Washington's scheme is to keep fighting, divert
people from more pressing issues at home, and enrich thousands of war
profiteers with public money, leaving future generations with the bill.
says poverty in Yemen is widespread with about 45% of the population
living on less than two dollars a day. The New York Times calls Yemen
one of the world's oldest civilizations and poorest Middle East country
(ignoring Occupied Palestine), "as well as a haven for Islamic
jihadists:" to wit, the ubiquitous Al Qaeda, a 1980s CIA creation
always trotted out whenever "war on terror" efforts need stoking and a
convenient enemy to be blamed.
According to The Times:
gained new attention in 2009 from American military officials, who are
concerned about Al Qaeda's efforts to set up a regional base there."
December, US officials claimed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian
citizen, traveled to Yemen, was trained by Al Qaeda, obtained explosive
chemicals (PETN), and tried using them to blow up an
Amsterdam-Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.
to Webster Tarpley in a December 29 Russia Today interview,
Abdulmutallab is a CIA "protected patsy (for the) provocation designed
to facilitate US meddling in (Yemen's) civil war (pitting) the
Saudi-backed central government against the Iranian-backed Shiite
Houthi rebels," being bombed by US and Saudi air strikes.
denied a UK entrance visa, wasn't on a No Fly List, paid cash for a
one-way ticket to Detroit, checked no luggage, had a US visa but no
passport, and was helped on board by a "well-dressed Indian" to
facilitate what appears to be a Washington false flag plot using
Abdulmutallab as a convenient dupe.
The Wayne Madsen Report
adds more calling the airliner incident a false flag operation "carried
out by (the) intelligence tripartite grouping of CIA, Mossad, and
India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)." Earlier they "worked
together along with former Afghan KHAD intelligence agents to
assassinate former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto....to
destabilize Pakistan" for planned balkanization, the same scheme
planned for Afghanistan.
added that Abdulmutallab's PETN "was weak (exploding like a fire
cracker), technically deficient (and failed to go off properly)."
at stake? At most, Yemen has four billion proved barrels of oil
reserves and modest amounts of natural gas, hardly a reason for war.
More important is its strategic location near the Horn of Africa on
Saudi Arabia's southern border, the Red Sea, its Bab el- Mandeb strait
(a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea through which three
million barrels of oil pass daily), and the Gulf of Aden connection to
the Indian Ocean.
Tarpley believes Washington is:
Iran against Saudi Arabia so as to weaken both the pro-Moscow
Ahmadinejad government in Iran, and also those Saudi forces that are
fed up with their status as a US protectorate. The US is openly now
sponsoring a regroupment of Al Qaeda in Yemen, including by sending
fighters direct from Guantanamo. The new CIA-promoted synthetic entity
is Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsule (AQAP), a gaggle of US patsies,
dupes, and fanatics which is claiming credit for the (Abdulmutallab)
Washington's usual tactics are at work:
-- create a false flag incident;
-- heighten fear through the complicit media;
-- ride to the rescue with popular support;
-- keep oil prices high;
-- boost market opportunities for security equipment manufacturers;
-- weaken civil liberties through new police state measures;
-- erode Iranian and Russian influence; and
-- gain greater control over the region's southern portion, the entire Middle East and all of Eurasia.
next may be another enlisted or unwitting stooge to take down an
airliner, blame it on Iran, Yemeni rebels, or Al Qaeda and provide an
excuse for greater intervention, mass slaughter and destruction in
another country, then on to the next one as part of an offensive to
expand regional war and destabilization toward the ultimate goal of
global "full spectrum dominance.
Washington's behest, the Saudis began bombing and using tanks against
Yemen in early November. So far, hundreds have been killed or wounded
and thousands displaced. In addition, a rebel group called the Young
Believers claims US jets launched multiple attacks in Yemen's northwest
Sa'ada Province. Britain's Daily Telegraph also reports that US Special
Forces (meaning death squads like in Afghanistan) are training Yemen's
army, and likely operating covertly on their own.
December 29, Iran accused Washington, the UK, and other western
countries of fomenting the week's anti-government protests. Foreign
Ministry spokesperson Ramin Hahmanparast claimed a complicit minority
in the country was involved with outside support, saying:
is intervention in our internal affairs. We strongly condemn it," after
president Obama praised "the courage and the conviction of the Iranian
people (and condemned the government's) iron fist of brutality."
have long memories of US meddling. In 1953, CIA operative Kermit
Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin's cousin,
engineered a successful coup ousting democratically elected Prime
Minister Mohammad Mossadeq (the country's most popular politician)
after he nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company following a dispute
about revenue sharing. Now it's all about terrorism, Islamic
extremists, and the ubiquitous Al Qaeda as convenient excuses
Washington uses to threaten or attack anywhere.
no wonder that legitimate commentaries accuse America of fanning the
flames of war with rhetoric, new troop deployments to Afghanistan, and
General McChrystal naming the country's major insurgent group threats
as the Qjetta Shura Taliban, the Haqqani Network (closely aligned with
the Taliban), and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG, linked to
Afghanistan's Hezbi Islami Party) - the latter two former CIA assets in
the 1980s, and the Taliban an ally before 9/11.
now claimed to be active in Pakistan and mortal enemies in America's
"war on terror," about to consume Yemen in Washington's fury, helped by
headlines like the December 29 Times Online saying:
of al-Qaeda militants planning attacks from Yemen," according to its
Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, appealing for help to equip
course there are....al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their
leaders," he said. "We realize the danger. They may actually plan
attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit."
December 30, The New York Times published a Reuters report headlining,
"US Seeks to Boost Yemen For Expanded Al Qaeda Fight," saying America
expand military and intelligence cooperation with the government of
Yemen to step up a crackdown on al Qaeda militants believed to be
behind a failed plot to blow up a US passenger jet," according to
unnamed US officials.
Obama vowed "to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to
dismantle, and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us - whether
they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere
where they are plotting attacks against the US homeland."
elaborating, Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said "We are going to
work with allies and partners to seek out terrorist activity, al
Qaeda....This is not new."
US-Saudi attacks and military aid are part of the effort - up from $4.6
million in FY 2006 to $67 million in FY 2009, and according to the Wall
Street Journal, citing an unnamed senior Pentagon official, to as much
as $190 million in FY 2010. Included also are unknown black budget
amounts, greater numbers of US Special Forces on the ground for
training and covert death squad activities, and stepped up air attacks.
explained that Yemen is now America's second largest recipient of overt
counterterrorism aid, after Pakistan, a sign of the area's importance
to Washington. US Special Forces operated there in 2002, and according
to The New York Times, the CIA sent in many counterterrorism operatives
in 2008 along with other US forces for overt and covert purposes.
in the US and foreign media suggest larger scale US-backed Yemeni
attacks are imminent, and according to CNN, citing two unnamed senior
US and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets for a potential
retaliation strike. The effort is to see whether targets can be
specifically linked to the airline incident and its planning....the
agreement would allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets or
unmanned armed drones against targets in Yemen with the consent of that
government," that's, of course, gotten and will proceed with or without
US media reports and commentaries now promote war by portraying Yemen
as a hotbed of terrorism, citing ubiquitous Al Qaeda forces creating
chaos throughout the country, and saying unless America acts,
conditions will worsen and spread.
According to The New York Times on December 27:
"has quietly opened (a) largely covert front against Al Qaeda in
Yemen," using CIA operatives and Special Operations commandos,
according to an unnamed Agency official. Writers Eric Schmitt and
Robert Worth call the country:
refuge for jihadists, in part because (the) government welcomed
returning Islamist fighters who had fought in Afghanistan during the
1980s. (These) militants have made much more focused efforts to build a
base in Yemen in recent years, drawing recruits from throughout the
region and mounting attacks more frequently on foreign embassies and
has close relations with Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's
ruling despot. From 1978 - 1990, he was president of the Yemen Arab
Republic, and since then headed the united Republic of Yemen. During
the Cold War, America backed the Islamist regime in the North against
southern secular nationalists aligned with the Soviets. In the
country's 1994 civil war, former Yemeni Afghan fighters helped Saleh
secure the power he still holds.
recruited him for its expanded regional wars. They cause great loss of
lives, wider instability, an unsustainable expense, and leave vital
homeland needs unmet, but are a bonanza for the war profiteers fueling
them and others to follow for a sure-fire stream of blood money.
ante in Afghanistan and Pakistan, entanglement in Yemen, then perhaps
confront Iran with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs saying on
patience and that of the international community is limited, and time
is running out. If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will
be responsible for its own growing isolation and consequences."
Apparently a "package of consequences" are planned, according to
another unnamed official.
attacks may be one of them with New York Times support. On January 10,
chief diplomatic correspondent, David Sanger, reported on US - Israeli
talks over the past year about possibly striking Iran's nuclear sites
as well covert sabotage efforts "to undermine electrical systems,
computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies."
Judith Miller's press agent role for the Pentagon in the run to the
Iraq war, Sanger is a notorious Pentagon and State Department conduit,
so his reports read more official propaganda than legitimate journalism
- a longstanding Times pro-war, pro-business, anti-labor bias going
back decades, and very evident now.
December 23, The Times gave Alan Kuperman, Nuclear Proliferation
Prevention Program director at the University of Texas, op-ed space to
headline, "There's Only One Way to Stop Iran," and he doesn't suggest
says Obama should welcome Iran's rejection of his nuclear deal because
it "did not require Iran to halt its enrichment program," even though
it's in full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
giving Washington and other nations no right to stop it.
Kuperman insists Iran will likely divert its surplus higher-enriched
fuel to weapons, and President Ahmadinejad "initially embraced the deal
because he realized it aided Iran's bomb program."
"peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be
foolhardy, (so Washington) faces a stark choice: military air strikes
against Iran's nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran's acquisition
of nuclear weapons."
inspections show no proof of a secret nuclear weapons program, and
former IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said in February 2009
said "many other countries are enriching uranium without the world
making any fuss about it."
Five days before he retired on November 27, he told Reuters:
have no indication that there are other undeclared facilities in Iran.
I want to be very clear about that." He also urged patience because
Iran posed no imminent threat, and said "people should stop threatening
the use of force because that simply....creates a justification or
pretext for countries....to go underground because (they're)
stressed that the IAEA found no evidence that Iranians had technology
needed to assemble a nuclear warhead or that they're even trying.
isn't convinced and accuses Iran of "suppl(ying) terrorist groups in
violation of international embargoes. (So, if it) acquire(s) a nuclear
arsenal, the risks would simply to too great that it could become a
neighborhood bully or provide terrorists with the ultimate weapon, an
mind that America's 2002 and 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS) and
2001 Nuclear Policy Review authorize the development of new type
nuclear weapons, and the right to use them in first-strike preventive
wars under the doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense."
threatens no one, but Kuperman recommends military strikes anyway,
regardless of the law, whether they'll succeed, and no matter the
potentially horrific consequences, including inflaming the whole
region, disrupting oil supplies, harming world economies when they're
most vulnerable, and making America more hated than ever.
Still he says:
military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and
harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United
States takes action, the better."
other words, two fronts aren't enough so add Yemen. Then make it a
foursome with Iran, the sooner America does it the better, and The New
York Times promotes this view after expressing caution in its January 3
editorial headlined, "No delusion of bombing Iran" and saying:
President-elect Barack Obama says his approach to Iran will include 'a
new emphasis on respect and a new emphasis on being willing to
This approach "may or may not work," says The Times. "But it is a road
that (should be tried and) should have been taken years ago."
now apparently or earlier, in fact, as Times writers play an
indispensable role feeding misinformation to the world and supporting
imperial wars with the rest of the dominant media. They'll have plenty
to say as a new Yemen front unfolds and maybe an Iran one to follow.
Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on
Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning
by James Petras
Asian capitalism, notably China and South Korea are competing with the US for global power. Asian global power is driven by dynamic economic growth, while the US pursues a strategy of military-driven empire building.
One Day?s Read of the Financial Times
Even a cursory read of a single issue of the Financial Times (December 28, 2009) illustrates the divergent strategies toward empire building. On page one, the lead article on the US is on its expanding military conflicts and its ?war on terror?, entitled ?Obama Demands Review of Terror List?. In contrast, there are two page-one articles on China, which describe China?s launching of the world?s fastest long-distance passenger train service and China?s decision to maintain its currency pegged to the US dollar as a mechanism to promote its robust export sector. While Obama turns the US focus on a fourth battle front (Yemen) in the ?war on terror? (after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), the Financial Times reports on the same page that a South Korean consortium has won a $20.4 billion dollar contract to develop civilian nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emirates, beating its US and European competitors.
On page two of the FT there is a longer article elaborating on the new Chinese rail system, highlighting its superiority over the US rail service: The Chinese ultra-modern train takes passengers between two major cities, 1,100 kilometers, in less than 3 hours whereas the US Amtrack ?Express? takes 3 ½ hours to cover 300 kilometers between Boston and New York. While the US passenger rail system deteriorates from lack of investment and maintenance, China has spent $17 billion dollars constructing its express line. China plans to construct 18,000 kilometers of new track for its ultra-modern system by 2012, while the US will spend an equivalent amount in financing its ?military surge? in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as opening a new war front in Yemen.
China builds a transport system linking producers and labor markets from the interior provinces with the manufacturing centers and ports on the coast, while on page 4 the Financial Times describes how the US is welded to its policy of confronting the ?Islamist threat? with an endless ?war on terror?. The decades-long wars and occupations of Moslem countries have diverted hundreds of billions of dollars of public funds to a militarist policy with no benefit to the US, while China modernizes its civilian economy. While the White House and Congress subsidize and pander to the militarist-colonial state of Israel with its insignificant resource base and market, alienating 1.5 billion Moslems (Financial Times ? page 7), China?s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10 fold over the past 26 years (FT ? page 9). While the US allocated over $1.4 trillion dollars to Wall Street and the military, increasing the fiscal and current account deficits, doubling unemployment and perpetuating the recession (FT ? page 12), the Chinese government releases a stimulus package directed at its domestic manufacturing and construction sectors, leading to an 8% growth in GDP, a significant reduction of unemployment and ?re-igniting linked economies? in Asia, Latin America and Africa (also on page 12).
While the US was spending time, resources and personnel in running ?elections? for its corrupt clients in Afghanistan and Iraq, and participating in pointless mediations between its intransigent Israeli partner and its impotent Palestinian client, the South Korean government backed a consortium headed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in its successful bid on the $20.4 billion dollar nuclear power deal, opening the way for other billion-dollar contracts in the region (FT ? page 13).
While the US was spending over $60 billion dollars on internal policing and multiplying the number and size of its ?homeland? security agencies in pursuit of potential ?terrorists?, China was investing $25 billion dollars in ?cementing its energy trading relations? with Russia (FT ? page 3).
The story told by the articles and headlines in a single day?s issue of the Financial Times reflects a deeper reality, one that illustrates the great divide in the world today. The Asian countries, led by China, are reaching world power status on the basis of their massive domestic and foreign investments in manufacturing, transportation, technology and mining and mineral processing. In contrast, the US is a declining world power with a deteriorating society resulting from its military-driven empire building and its financial-speculative centered economy:
1. Washington pursues minor military clients in Asia; while China expands its trading and investment agreements with major economic partners ? Russia, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere.
2. Washington drains the domestic economy to finance overseas wars. China extracts minerals and energy resources to create its domestic job market in manufacturing.
3. The US invests in military technology to target local insurgents challenging US client regimes; China invests in civilian technology to create competitive exports.
4. China begins to restructure its economy toward developing the country?s interior and allocates greater social spending to redress its gross imbalances and inequalities while the US rescues and reinforces the parasitical financial sector, which plundered industries (strips assets via mergers and acquisitions) and speculates on financial objectives with no impact on employment, productivity or competitiveness.
5. The US multiplies wars and troop build-ups in the Middle East, South Asia, the Horn of Africa and Caribbean; China provides investments and loans of over $25 billion dollars in building infrastructure, mineral extraction, energy production and assembly plants in Africa.
6. China signs multi-billion dollar trade and investment agreements with Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, securing access to strategic energy, mineral and agricultural resources; Washington provides $6 billion in military aid to Colombia, secures seven military bases from President Uribe (to threaten Venezuela), backs a military coup in tiny Honduras and denounces Brazil and Bolivia for diversifying its economic ties with Iran.
7. China increases economic relations with dynamic Latin American economies, incorporating over 80% of the continent?s population; the US partners with the failed state of Mexico, which has the worst economic performance in the hemisphere and where powerful drug cartels control wide regions and penetrate deep into the state apparatus.
China is not an exceptional capitalist country. Under Chinese capitalism, labor is exploited; inequalities in wealth and access to services are rampant; peasant-farmers are displaced by mega-dam projects and Chinese companies recklessly extract minerals and other natural resources in the Third World. However, China has created scores of millions of manufacturing jobs, reduced poverty faster and for more people in the shortest time span in history. Its banks mostly finance production. China doesn?t bomb, invade or ravage other countries. In contrast, US capitalism has been harnessed to a monstrous global military machine that drains the domestic economy and lowers the domestic standard of living in order to fund its never-ending foreign wars. Finance, real estate and commercial capital undermine the manufacturing sector, drawing profits from speculation and cheap imports.
China invests in petroleum-rich countries; the US attacks them. China sells plates and bowls for Afghan wedding feasts; US drone aircraft bomb the celebrations. China invests in extractive industries, but, unlike European colonialists, it builds railroads, ports, airfields and provides easy credit. China does not finance and arm ethnic wars and ?color rebellions? like the US CIA. China self-finances its own growth, trade and transportation system; the US sinks under a multi trillion dollar debt to finance its endless wars, bail out its Wall Street banks and prop up other non-productive sectors while many millions remain without jobs.
China will grow and exercise power through the market; the US will engage in endless wars on its road to bankruptcy and internal decay. China?s diversified growth is linked to dynamic economic partners; US militarism has tied itself to narco-states, warlord regimes, the overseers of banana republics and the last and worst bona fide racist colonial regime, Israel.
China entices the world?s consumers. US global wars provoke terrorists here and abroad.
China may encounter crises and even workers rebellions, but it has the economic resources to accommodate them. The US is in crisis and may face domestic rebellion, but it has depleted its credit and its factories are all abroad and its overseas bases and military installations are liabilities, not assets. There are fewer factories in the US to re-employ its desperate workers: A social upheaval could see the American workers occupying the empty shells of its former factories.
To become a ?normal state? we have to start all over: Close all investment banks and military bases abroad and return to America. We have to begin the long march toward rebuilding industry to serve our domestic needs, to living within our own natural environment and forsake empire building in favor of constructing a democratic socialist republic.
When will we pick up the Financial Times or any other daily and read about our own high-speed rail line carrying American passengers from New York to Boston in less than one hour? When will our own factories supply our hardware stores? When will we build wind, solar and ocean-based energy generators? When will we abandon our military bases and let the world?s warlords, drug traffickers and terrorists face the justice of their own people?
Will we ever read about these in the Financial Times?
In China, it all started with a revolution...