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Obama might want to keep a low profile in Yemen, but the US military presence there is already huge. Yemen and Saudi Arabia have succeeded in dragging the United States into their sectarian violence.

Yemeni and Saudi Salafis presented their conflict with the Zaidi sect as a terrorist-related issue by trumpeting Zaidis’ ties to Al Qaeda. Never mind that the Salafis have similar ties, and indeed Salafist groups in Gaza are so tilted toward Al Qaeda that Hamas sees them as a political threat to its regime.

The fact that a handful of about 8 million of Yemeni Zaidis have acquired a terrorist franchise from Al Qaeda in no way justifies America acting as a Saudi mercenary in that conflict.

The warring parties signed a ceasefire, which was broken a few hours later.

Libya and Russia have agreed to sign an $1.8 billion contract which reportedly includes Su-35 long-range bombers and S-300PMU2 SAM batteries. Libya would loan the bombers to Lebanon in the event of a war with Israel.

The deal might take time to finalize and it is unlikely that Russia would deliver S-300 to Libya, which can transfer them to another country.

But if S-300 is so good and relatively inexpensive, why does Israel rely on Patriot, Arrow-2, and X-band instead of procuring the superior Russian systems?

Afghani president Karzai has appealed to the Taliban to start negotiations immediately. The Taliban insist on the withdrawal of US troops before negotiations, but Karzai has suggested that a negotiated agreement will speed up the withdrawal.

No way can Karzai make such a bold offer without American approval. Any agreement with the Taliban will bring them into the government, and soon after the American withdrawal they will castrate Karzai, just as the mojahedeen did to the Soviet puppet Najibullah.

January 2010
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