Skip to comments.Yemen: U.S. Deployment May Trigger Attacks
Posted on 03/08/2002 8:41:48 AM PST by Bad~Rodeo
The United States plans to deploy up to 100 soldiers to Yemen to train local security forces and assist in Yemen's hunt for al Qaeda. But strong opposition to the presence of U.S. forces in the country remains, and the mission may trigger a surge in attacks against U.S. assets and personnel.
Approximately 100 American soldiers soon will be deployed to Yemen to train local security forces, act as military advisers and assist in the government's hunt for al Qaeda, Yemeni government officials have confirmed to Reuters. The Wall Street Journal reported March 1 that Washington had approved the deployment.
Yemen, located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is considered a likely refuge for al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan, and the U.S. mission is designed to deny them sanctuary there. However, opposition to a U.S. military presence remains high, even among members of the government. President Ali Abdallah Salih's decision to permit greater U.S. involvement in domestic military operations may prompt opponents to resort to violence against U.S. assets and personnel in the coming months.
The deployment marks a significant expansion in military relations between Yemen and the United States. For years, Washington has conducted limited training missions for Yemeni troops, as part the International Military Education and Training assistance program.
However, the United States has several reasons to want to build on that relationship and expand its presence in Yemen. Beyond the immediate goal of denying al Qaeda a place to regroup, Washington also hopes to build a Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) facility on the Yemeni island of Socotra and secure access to strategic sea lanes in the Red and Arabian seas.
Yemen is more like the Wild West than a modern, industrial society. Firefights in the capital are common, much of the population carries weapons, arms smugglers and drug traffickers transit Yemen unmolested and the country serves as a networking base for militant groups from throughout the Middle East.
Moreover, complex tribal affiliations still shape national politics, and huge swathes of territory remain beyond the government's control. Until 1990, the country was divided into southern and northern Yemen, with rival governments and continual clashes between the two sides. After reunification, the northern political leadership gained dominance over the south, leaving southerners feeling marginalized and resentful.
The new U.S. deployment reportedly will focus primarily on security along Yemen's 1,500-mile coastline. They will train 2,000 Yemeni security personnel at a coast guard training center to be built in Aden, The Associated Press reported March 2. Washington also will provide at least 15 boats fitted with high-tech communications equipment.
Aden, however, is a stronghold for those who oppose Salih's administration, and the U.S. military presence may aggravate an already explosive situation. The October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden was an attempt by extremists to discourage the growing presence of U.S. military forces on the Arabian Peninsula.
Opponents of the government and radical groups fear that an established U.S. military presence will result in a situation similar to that in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Though U.S. forces may not intervene in the case of an actual coup attempt there, they provide the government and military with expertise, technology, weapons, intelligence and other assistance that act as added insurance against an overthrow of the government. Moreover, opposition forces in Yemen fear that Salih's administration may exploit U.S. military assistance to tighten Sanaa's control over southern Yemen and further marginalize political opponents.
This is why even some members of the government oppose the U.S. deployment. For instance, Islamist opposition party Islah is the junior partner in the coalition led by Salih's General People's Congress. Yet Islah leaders have repeatedly condemned the U.S. military's presence. Islah derives its support from the Wahabbi tribes in the north and has been linked to Osama bin Laden.
After the USS Cole bombing, Sanaa reportedly denied U.S. investigators access to Sheik Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani, the leader of Islah's armed wing, and Ali Mohsen, the commander of the northern region -- who, according to the Christian Science Monitor, is related by marriage to Salih. Though both are members of the government, they may have ties to factions opposed to cooperation with the U.S. military.
U.S. soldiers will face a serious dilemma in Yemen, since they cannot be certain of their security. Salih's administration will no doubt handpick the Yemeni forces to be trained -- but even that is no guarantee of safety, since hostile factions within the government may obtain information about training exercises.
Operating in a potentially hostile environment - as well as with possibly hostile members of the security forces, government and populace -- will constrain the effectiveness of the U.S. mission in every aspect. The situation is already volatile, and the expansion of a U.S. military presence could trigger another explosion.
Warning, water may be WET.
IIRC, doesn't the bin Mahfouz(sp?) family own a big stake in the oil pipelines there? I'm thinking one of them runs a Canadian oil company that either owns a big part of the oil pipeline or won the exploration rights in that "untamed" territory, though I can't find it in my notes anywhere.
I did come across this old info in repy #27 by Betty Jo.
Anyway, in researching all of this I found that Vernon Jordan, of Monica fame , represented one Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi, who headed the National Commercial Bank of Saudi, having taken over for Khalid bin Mahfouz.This Khalid and his son,Abdul Rahman used this bank to get millions of $$$ to bin Laden.Guess what the bin Mahfouzs also do? They own Yemen Holdings Limited,which along with PSA Mid-East Private Limited make up Yeminvest which is the big developer of the Port of Aden. Whats my point? Vernon Jordan,friend of Bill, represents two Sheihks who funnel $$$ to bin Laden, who are biggies in the Port of Aden development
And this is an excellent review thread COLE BOMBING:DID YEMEN & ADEN PORT AUTHORITIES COOPERATE w/ISLAMIC TERRORISTS? from October of 2000. I'd forgotten about Helms. I may have to change my assessment of why some republican senators are retiring.
I believe it was Tony Snow who referred to Yemen as "...a Club Med for terrorists." IMO it is Chechnya with an ocean view. Real nightmare for our troops. Imagine getting orders assigning you to Yemen as one of one-hundred US troops!
I whole-heartedly agree. Puting troops into Yemen as a base would be suicidal. Pakistan is bad--Yemen looks ten times worse to me. I remember the reports of the whole town of Aden gathering to watch the attack on the Cole.
If some US soldiers are going to be sent, why not an army into Yemen and another into Saudi Arabia? We're going to fight these lunatics sooner or later or become their servants. All of this idiotic blather being printed as though these maniacs are our allies is getting on my nerves.