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Debacle in Yemen
It seems like a fairy tale, that President Obama's declaration of how his policy and efforts in Yemen were stabilizing the capital and the war against Al-Qaeda there worked. That was just a year ago or so. But, the policy of just giving millions in aid and training and having a small drone base there without American troops in meaningful numbers has proven to fail, not always, but there have been enough times. Supporting a government that was always at risk of being overthrown because of its own corruption is a recipe for disaster eventually. I mean, we did have proof before the recent collapse of Yemen: Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan (just give it more time), Libya. Yet, the reluctance to station US troops to support the policy, even in token numbers, certainly did not enhance the chance the policy would succeed. Money and training can help only so much.
Now, Yemen is added to the list of U.S. failures in the Middle East. Yeah, President Obama is to blame. Diplomacy does not always work in corrupt governments, no matter how bad we need them to work. Of course, neither does a military occupation. It is a question of balance and the lack of real U.S. military presence there made the situation weak. The collapse of Yemeni government friendly to U.S. government is gone. It no longer exists. The Houthis are now in control and are Shiite. Any US presence now in Yemen is gone. Some 12 countries closed their embassies friendly to U.S. interests.
The Houthis makeup of 30% of the Yemen's 26 million people. They are Shiite, while the remaining are Sunni and others. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni tribes support the exiled government now in Aden. Iran has been supporting the Houthis because they are also Shiite. In effect, it is yet another proxy war between Sunni and Shiite factions of this crazy religion called Islam. America tends to be on the Sunni side, even though, they try not to take sides in a religious war Americans cannot comprehend nor understand. It simply is stupid to allow religion to dictate to government, Yet, under Islam, that is all that matters, whether it is in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, or Afghanistan. Islam forces many bad decisions in government. Government abuses Islamic teachings by stating it is support by the teachings of the Quran, however, stupid it may sound. For instance, in Iran, skateboarding is not allowed in public. To support this, the government uses the Quran to support it so its citizens comply. The same thing occurs not allowing women to go to soccer matches there. Only men can. They use the Quran to justify this because men and women should not mingle at such events. Such bullshit.
Now, in Yemen, the Houthis are turning to Russia, China, and Iran for support of their new government. They are doing so to offset the American support of the Sunni nations who oppose Iran. They want Russian investments and ties, China sees Yemen as a future site for a possible naval base or more. Iran has been providing money, weapons, training, for sometime and now they are providing gasoline since Saudi Arabia has cut it off. Iranian support will now improve their infrastructure and electric grid. Iranian airlines now will be one of a few nations flying to that country. The Houthis have invited Iran to conduct energy exploration near the Saudi border. But, let's not forget that al-Qaeda is based there also, a Sunni militant faction. Iran considers them a terrorist group as well. So, what will happen in the future is anyone's guess. A nuclear armed Iran would just escalate all this Sunni-Shiite war so much, a nuclear exchange could occur because neither is afraid of dying, unlike the Cold War between the US and USSR. Iran's influence is expanding. Would the US-Iran ever have a joint operation to destroy al-Qaeda, and then, just turn on each other later?
Iran, China and Russia will provide Yemen with many needs, but all with strings attached, making the Middle East a much more dangerous and unpredictable mess.