Under the pretext of fighting al-Qaida, Obama is planning to transform Yemen into another Afghanistan. U.S. Special forces are reportedly in the country, as are British commandos. Expect the “war on terrorism” rhetoric to escalate as America moves more resources into the country to “stabilize” it. A planned international meeting on Yemen hosted by Britain has received the blessing of the UN, offering a political fig leaf that was unavailable to the imperialists until after they had occupied Afghanistan.
There’s no question that Yemen suffers from a lack of stability. But the conflict in the country is not the result of a “growing al-Qaida threat.” Yemenis have not gotten along with each other for a long time. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s dictator since 1978, has, for decades, been combating a rebellion from the secessionist south and an al-Houthi Zaydi Shi’ite rebellion in the north.
Estimates of al-Qaida strength vary between 100 – 300, but whatever their numbers, they are small and politically insignificant. After they were conveniently linked to the crotch bomber’s flubbed attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day, their presence offered the Americans their opening. In a recent post at Global Research, Tom Burghardt draws together enough threads to argue convincingly that the “intelligence failure” that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board the flight with high explosives stitched into his undies was no accident.
Voila! The US had it’s “smoking crotch” and the stage was set for more blatant intervention in Yemen.
For the Americans, it’s all about real estate, and, as in real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.”
Just prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, the Americans were negotiating with the Taliban government for the rights to construct the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline to move Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India, by-passing Russia.
In the case of Yemen, it’s all about oil reserves and oil transportation.
According to F. William Engdahl, in a recent Global Research article, Yemen sits on a oil patch that contains “enough undeveloped oil to fill the oil demand of the entire world for the next fifty years.” Moreover, the “Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean” which, if blocked, “could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa.”
In 2006, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an estimated 3.3 million per day barrels flowed through this waterway toward Europe, the United States, and Asia. The majority of traffic, around 2.1 million barrels per day, flows northbound through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex.
So, don’t be taken in by all the public hand wringing about “intelligence failures” and the “al-Qaida threat.” Follow da money.