Two weeks ago during his ISIS “strategy” speech, President Obama told us that this wouldn’t be like Iraq or Afghanistan and that his plan would resemble a more successful strategy as played out in Somalia and Yemen. Well, Obama may just want to use a golf term with which he’s probably familiar — a mulligan. I don’t think Obama wants to replicate anything that’s happening in Yemen — unless, like Libya, having Islamists overrun a country is what he prefers.
As reported by Gulfnews.com “Al Houthi rebels seized the Yemeni government headquarters yesterday and the premier resigned as violence raged despite a UN announcement of a power-sharing deal to end days of fighting, officials said. Prime Minister Mohammad Basindwa stepped aside, accusing President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi of being “autocratic”, senior officials said. The official Saba news agency announced Basindwa’s departure, but without saying why. Mohammad Abdul Salam, an Al Houthi spokesman, confirmed on his Facebook page that the seat of government had been taken.”
Gulfnews.com says “insecurity and political turmoil have grown since Saleh was ousted by Arab Spring protests. The Houthi insurrection is one of several threats to the stability of Yemen, which borders oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is struggling with a secessionist movement in the south and a spreading al-Qaida insurgency. The Houthi insurrection is one of several threats to the stability of Yemen, which borders oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is struggling with a secessionist movement in the south and a spreading al-Qaida insurgency. The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect of Shia Islam, have been struggling for a decade against the Sunni-dominated government for more territory and autonomy in the north. And we all know who is backing the Shiite Al Houthi rebels.”
This situation resembles Iraq a lot more than Obama may want to admit.
For those of you who may not know, Yemen is the home of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and is the base of operations for the Islamo-fascists’ most renowned bomb maker. We’ve reported here that AQAP has made intonations of joining in alliance with ISIS – truly a marriage made in hell.
Yemen is a Sunni-dominated country. AQAP is a Sunni group and the Al Houthi rebels are Shiite, so Yemen is hardly a place the Obama administration should be touting as a paradigm of his effectiveness since the ousting of veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, forced to step down in 2012. A drone strike to kill Anwar al Awlaki can’t be seen as a magnificent strategic achievement — AQAP is still an effective Islamist terrorist organization.
But over the weekend the situation changed. According to the UK Guardian, “The Yemeni government and armed Shia Houthi rebels reached an agreement on Saturday to end the worst violence for years in the capital Sanaa, UN special envoy Jamal Benomar said. This agreement shall be a national document that will advance the path of peaceful change, and will lay the foundations for national partnership and for security and stability,” Benomar said in a statement, adding that preparations were being made for the signing.”
However, the story of this current conflict really began 100 years ago, with the Sykes-Picot Agreement, when the French and British agreed to effectively slice up the Middle East into new countries in order to prevent a unified empire. As Glenn Beck presented recently, ISIS has a far greater understanding of history than most of us, and simply wants to reconstitute the caliphate that existed before.
In fact, here’s a propaganda video they’ve been circulating on that very subject. About seven or eight minutes in, the “host” comments on how much money America is spending — which ends up in their pockets. At the end, one of his colleagues asks if Obama has prepared enough diapers for his soldiers.
So here’s my recommendation, if my address were 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Let’s just stop worrying about Middle Eastern nation-states. There is hardly a chance that the US can resolve the failures of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The only group for whom I would advocate a new nation-state would be the Kurdish people. Our focus has to be on defeating Islamo-fascism and states sponsoring Islamic terrorism. We can work with some Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but most others receive my skepticism.
We must be clear in sending a message that we shall recognize no border when it comes to denying sanctuary for Islamic jihadists — we must become enemy focused and oriented — no more nation-building. We can use economic and diplomatic means to isolate jihadist state sponsors and interdict their resourcing.
Those would be my strategic imperatives — and our boots would go on any ground where there are Islamic terrorists to kill them and warn others to steer clear.