October 17, 2021

Obama’s Foreign Policy in Yemen is a Failure

Yemen is an Arab country located in the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula with a population of almost 30 million. Yemen is the second largest country in the peninsula, with a territorial extension of 527,970 km2 (203,850 sq mi). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 km (1,200 mi). Yemen is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east. Its capital and largest city is Sanaa.

Yemen is a very unstable and poor nation that has had 11 civil wars. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was very corrupt and in January 2011, a series of street protests began against poverty, unemployment, and corruption against him. The street protests gradually resulted in the resignation of President Saleh in 2011.

America considers the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to be ” one of the most dangerous of all the franchises of al-Qaeda”. The United States sought a controlled transition that would enable Yemen counter-terrorism operations to continue. Saleh handed over power to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi, and he was granted immunity from prosecution.

In late September 2014, an anti-American Shiite rebel group known as the Houthis captured Sanaa. The Houthis rebels have taken control of all government buildings including the Defense Ministry, the airport, radio stations, and the central bank. The Houthis have plastered Sanaa with flyers stating: “Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory to Islam,” which is similar to an Iranian slogan frequently chanted by Shiite Islamic radicals in Iraq and the Hezbollah terrorists supported by Iran in Lebanon.

e423677e2d881b9206bdda64f4e1bf82.jpgHamza Hendawi, a reporter from the Associated Press, wrote an article entitled “Sanaa takeover brings fears of sectarian war” which was published in The Miami Herald on October 5, 2014. The reporter explained that the Houthis rebels have now become the top powerbrokers dominating Yemen. He thinks that their success in capturing the capital of the nation may bring a “violent backlash from hard-line Sunnis, creating a sectarian battle that would boost al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.” He pointed out that “The Obama administration has been battling for years the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in a drone campaign and in coordination with the Yemeni military.”

Hamza Hendawi stated that the U.S.-supported President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is helpless as he tries to form a new government that would be approved by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia is now worried over a potential pro-Iranian group controlling Yemen on its border.

Before President Obama went to war against Islamic State, he stated that he would use the successful strategy that he had pursued in Yemen and Somalia in fighting this genocidal and bloody Islamic State also known as ISIS and ISIL. What success is the president talking about? Obama’s foreign policy in Yemen has been a complete failure.

It is no wonder that generals in the Pentagon and many in the nation do not believe that President Obama is really serious in his desire to defeat the Islamic State. The Pentagon has told the president that, if he wants to defeat the Islamic State, he needs to put some boots on the ground such as special forces to direct successful air attacks and go after the leaders of the Islamic State.

It is also an irony that President Obama has enlisted Qatar as a member of his coalition to defeat the Islamic State, when Qatar has heavily financed not only the Islamic State, but Hamas and several terror groups throughout the world for several years. Qatar has always supported the Muslim Brotherhood and many of its leaders live in that nation.

Qatar brought one billion dollars in weapons through the Port of Benghazi with the consent of the Obama administration during the civil war in Libya in 2011. Those weapons were distributed under the supervision of special envoy, Chris Stevens, to the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and to al-Qaeda-affiliated terror groups. As explained Qatar has also provided millions to the terrorist group Hamas, which is a branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, in Gaza. Qatar has financed the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria. How is it possible that President Barack Obama has enlisted this nation that supports terrorists all over the world as an ally against the Islamic State?

Several rebels groups during the Arab Spring were supported by Qatar both financially and by its expanding media group, the Al Jazeera media network. Al Jazeera frequently criticized our military during the Iraqi war and encouraged terrorists to attack our soldiers in Iraq by publicizing alleged criminal behavior of our troops.

Who are the Houthis?

Most Houthis are followers of the Zaidi or Zaydi faith which is a branch of Shia Islam. Approximately 30% of Yemen’s population are followers of the Zaidi religion. The leaders of this religion have ruled much of northern Yemen for centuries.

YEMEN

Yemenis exchange greetings after Eid al-Adha prayers attended by supporters Houthis Shiite rebels in the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in Sanaa, Yemen.
The Associated Press explained the following regarding the Zaydi faith:

“The Zaydis are a small branch of Shiite Islam, and the community is almost entirely located in Yemen. It is distinct from the “Twelvers,” Shiite Islam’s largest branch, predominant in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Zaydis are estimated to make up at least 30 percent of Yemen’s population of nearly 30 million people, and around 8 percent of the 70 million Shiites around the world.

The Zaydis are considered to be the closest Shiite branch in doctrine to Sunni Islam. It is named after Zayd, the great-grandson of Imam Ali, whose descendants Shiites believe were the true leaders of Islam, or “imams,” after the Prophet Muhammad.

Twelver Shiites, for example, trace a line of 12 imams, including Ali and his descendants. They believe the 12th imam vanished and one day will return as the messiah-like figure the Mahdi. Zaydis reject this doctrine and believe that anyone descending from the house of Ali is eligible for the Imamate.

The Houthis are named after the Houthi family from the northern Yemeni region of Saada which claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad. But not all Zaydis support them. The highest Zaydi religious authorities have so far kept silent on the latest events. The Houthis lost a young and innovative religious scholar when their leader Hussein al-Houthi was killed in 2004. They are now led by 33-year-old Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.”

According to Wikipedia, the Houthis are a Zaidi Shia insurgent group operating in Yemen. The group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, their former commander, who was reportedly killed by Yemeni Armed Forces in September 2004. Several other commanders have also been killed by Yemeni forces. Membership of the group was estimated by The Yemen Post to be over 100,000 fighters.

The Houthis have said that they fight for the defense of their community from discrimination, whereas the government of Yemen has accused the rebels of wanting to overthrow the government to implement Zaidi Shia religious law and stirring anti-American sentiment. The Houthis have told people they are “praying in the wrong way” by raising their arms, as is the custom among Sunnis in Yemen.

The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having ties the Iranian government, as Iran is a Shia-majority country. The Houthis have stated that the Yemeni government is being supported by al-Qaida and the anti-Shia and monarchy of Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion

6c6b45a5af09f1f996ac33d06bc556b9.jpgYemen is on its way of becoming a failed state. The Houthi insurgents are the new masters of Yemen. The Houthis takeover will probably bring a sectarian war involving Sunni and Shiite. The conflict may also involved the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Shia nation of Iran. Yemen may become another battleground of the religious fight between Shia and Sunni which will involve al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It is obvious that all of these groups hate the United States and the West.

While the ancient quarrels in the Middle East cannot be blamed on any American president, President Obama’s foreign policy in Yemen and in other parts of the Middle East has failed. Obama drew a red line in Syria by saying that if the Syrian dictator Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels, he would not tolerate it. When Assad used chemicals weapons and Obama did nothing that made the United States look like a “paper tiger.” Obama then said that if was not him, but the international community that had drawn the red line, making him a liar.

As I have stated in many other articles, President Obama secretly and illegally sent weapons from Libya to Turkey to Syria and most of these weapons ended in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and the al Nusra Front.

First, the president supported Islamic State with weapons and called them a “junior varsity team” saying that it did not present a threat to our national security. Obama later stated that he had no strategy dealing with the Islamic State. After two beheadings of American journalists, a series of atrocities committed by the jihadists of the Islamic State in conquered territories and mass shooting of captured Shiite soldiers from Iraq, Obama reluctantly was forced to go to war against them. Many believe that he has no successful strategy to defeat these genocidal and bloody jihadists.
President Obama has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate his government and he sends, in violation of federal law, $400 million a year to the Palestinian Authority, which has now formed a unity government with terror group Hamas. The president’s erratic and confusing foreign policy has made the United States a superpower in retreat. Our allies do not trust Barack Obama and our enemies do not fear him.

Now Americans have to be concerned with the national security threat coming from Sunni and Shia jihadists in Yemen, in addition to the threat posed by the Islamic State, as well as, al-Qaida in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

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