Yemen

March 21st, 2011

Dramatic events in Libya have overshadowed the murder, by government snipers, of unarmed demonstrators in Yemen on Friday. This crime is as bad as any of those for which Gaddafi has been condemned, but has so far not produced a comparable response from the US and other Western governments. To be fair, there was a similarly cautious response to the initial reports of government repression in Libya and Egypt, so it’s a bit early to be convicting Obama and others of hypocrisy on this.

However, with government ministers resigning or being sacked, and a state of emergency announced, the familiar script seems to be playing out a bit faster. The Saleh regime clearly can’t survive without at least tacit support from the US, so it’s time for Obama to announce the withdrawal of that support, and tell Saleh to leave in the same terms as with Gaddafi.

On the face of it, there should be no problem for the US Administration here. Saleh has been a useful ally, but far less important than Mubarak, whom they dumped without too much concern. The big problem is that after Yemen comes Bahrain. With the Saudis having sent troops to suppress the revolt there, a democratic revolution in Bahrain will threaten their regime as well.

Posted via email from John’s posterous

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  1. Scott
    March 23rd, 2011 at 08:52 | #1

    I was just curious so I did a bit of googling. Yemen’s oil production is 288,400 barrels a day (CIA Yearbook) (compared to 1,800,000 barrels a day for Libya.

    Do the Saudis have irons in the Yemeni fires that we don’t know about?

  2. Jill Rush
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:34 | #2

    The ferment in the Middle East is probably causing a lot of concern in Washington as stable regimes are put under pressure which is unexpected and unwanted. Repression has long been the modus operandi with no real concern for the population. One of the big changes with modern communications is that people see that they are poor in comparison to other parts of the world and in comparison to those at the top of their own country. The wheels of government move slowly and in that regard we have seen considerable change in a short time. The Obama Administration has also shown that it is good at the diplomacy level at achieving goals which would have been impossible with a more confrontational style. Congress is yet another section that needs to be placated. The Obama administration no doubt hopes that these smaller nations can work their own problems out without the ugliness of too many deaths and will be working their diplomats hard to achieve this.

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