Monday, March 11, 2013

With ‘Friends’ Like Yemen’s, No Enemies Needed

By James Gundun – Washington, D.C.
In early January 2011, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Sana’a to manage the autocratic habits of a useful ally in the war against al-Qaeda.
Having warned other allies (Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria) of a youth bulge prior to the Arab uprisings, the Secretary now found herself just above the surface of a ripe volcano as she mingled with Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. U.S. policy needed his approval to facilitate an expansion of military and counter-terrorism platforms in the country, but that need required less antagonistic leadership atop the government. For Clinton, this meant walking Saleh away from a parliamentary proposal that would eliminate term limits and allow him to run indefinitely, which he eventually agreed to in return for Washington’s political and military assistance.
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