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Yemen

The car bombs left 16 dead, including six terrorists. Predictably, not a single American was wounded as the bombs went off near the embassy’s gate.

After police arrested a Muslim who gunned down a rabbi in Raydah, Yemen, other Muslims went on rampage and threw firebombs and grenades into Jewish shops and houses. Less than 400 Jews remain in Yemen; 50,000 left that country after living there for 2,800 years.

The Saudi peace initiative offers Israel peace with Yemeni Jew-haters, among other Arab Jew-hating nations.

The Jews, expelled from all Arab countries, still hesitate to expel their Arabs.

A Yemeni court declared the murderer insane. The “insane” killer is a  former pilot in the Yemeni air force.

US State Department’s 2008 report praises their relations with Yemen as steadily improving.

Anti-Zionist Satmar Jews arranged visas and spent $800,000 to bring 110 Yemeni Jews to the United States after a Yemeni court acquitted a rabbi’s murderer. The emigration leaves fewer than 200 Jews in Yemen; their 2,800-year-old community has been extinguished.

On the surface, the Satmars appear to be wrong: Jews must move to Israel, not from one Diaspora to another. But the Satmar movement has a point: the Israeli government committed atrocities on the Yemeni immigrants. Children were torn from their parents and forcibly educated in socialist atheism. The noble, highly religious, law-abiding Yemeni community has been turned into a criminal class of slum dwellers. Rabbi Uzi Meshulam was jailed when he demanded that the government open the graves of the allegedly dead Yemeni children who, according to many accounts, were sold to childless Ashkenazi families.

Satmar Jews brought many Yemeni Jewish children to America, and are nurturing them carefully in Jewish religious traditions.

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.

A new wave of riots has rocked Yemen. Protesters want to oust the president, a US ally in the fight against Al Qaeda in Yemen. The opposition is aligned with Iran, and a new president would likely be anti-American and allow A Qaeda safe heaven in Yemen.
Meanwhile, the White House has extended no help to the Yemeni president and thwarts Saudi plans to assist him.

In Bahrain, anti-government protests have turned into sectarian clashes, with Iran overtly taking the side of the Shiites. Instead of helping the Bahraini monarch, who hosts a US Navy base in his country, the White House told the opposition leaders that the government’s concessions, which they had already agreed to, are insufficient.

Yemen's president Ali SalehBy telling the Yemeni president that he must leave office, Obama lost his last shred of credibility in the Middle East. His campaign to oust Mubarak could be attributed to a personal vendetta against a wise ruler who scorned White House policies. His Libyan involvement can be explained by misplaced humanitarian concerns. But the Yemeni case is different because president Saleh supports the US in its fight against Al Qaeda. With his departure, pro-Iranian elements will take over, Al Qaeda will gain a major presence in Yemen, and the country will again become the terrorist haven it used to be. A similar result will occur if Saleh stays in power but abandons his alliance with the United States: he will fight the opposition with Iran’s help, but he will tolerate Al Qaeda.

Obama concurrently undermines loyal Middle East regimes by supporting revolutionary movements there, and hopes that their rulers will maintain their allegiance to the White House until they are toppled.

When government forces tried to disperse an improvised roadblock set up by rebels near Sanaa University, the insurgents returned fire and battled the government troops for an hour, forcing them to retreat. That’s the kind of democratic opposition Obama praised days ago.

Saudi Arabia and the GCC states offered to mediate a transfer of power from Yemen’s president to the rebels. That means that Saudi Arabia is no longer backing the president, as it did for two months, and only needs assurances from the opposition that Yemen won’t fell under the spell of Iran. Presumably an Al Qaeda presence in Yemen would be okay.

Saudi Arabia has accepted the Yemeni opposition’s demand for president Saleh to step down. In a last-minute attempt to prevent Yemen from falling into anarchy, the Saudis proposed that Saleh be replaced by his vice president. The opposition has agreed, perhaps calculating that it would be easier for them to oust the VP.

When the opposition wins, pro-Iranian groups and Al Qaeda will enjoy unrestricted freedom in Yemen.

Ali Abdullah Saleh

In a curious development, Yemeni government forces are fighting against the president’s own tribal federation, which has sided with the pro-Iranian opposition. Likewise, in Syria riots have spread to the Alawite villages, which are the backbone of Assad’s regime.

Arab societies are slowly breaking out of their old paternalist structure and becoming more like the lumpen nineteenth-century European states.

Ali SalehDespite a flurry of reports suggesting that the Saudis had come to an understanding with the Yemeni opposition and would allow it to prevail either in the entire country or in South Yemen, the royal house appears to firmly support President Saleh.

After Western terrorists—reportedly British special forces—tried to assassinate Saleh in his palace with a missile strike, the Saudis took him in for treatment and saved his life. If the Saudis had accepted Saleh’s departure in favor of the opposition, it would have been all too easy for them to let the 69-year-old die in the ER, with shrapnel near his heart and burns on 40% his body. Instead, they brought Saleh back to life, and he promises to be back in Sanaa within days.

Arguably, the Saudis were enraged by the Western terrorist tactic of targeting unfriendly rulers for assassination. After months of hunting Gadhafi, the NATO turned on Saleh—idiotically, since he was a reasonably staunch ally against Al Qaeda, and is now expected to make an attempt on Assad. It was not lost on the Saudi royals that one day they may become the next target.

Political assassinations are not bad per se. They are an economical way of pursuing Western objectives. The problem is that they are applied in pursuit of extremely wrong objectives. And if we are targeting Gadhafi, why not assassinate Ahmadinejad or Meshaal as well?

Despite a stern warning from the Saudi king who saved him from death to step down and not return home, Yemeni president Ali Saleh staged an unexpected comeback, which duly prompted a fresh round of bloodshed. Not that he had much choice: after the US employed unity government talks as a ruse before capturing Tripoli, Saleh did not trust US-Saudi promises that his sons would head the Yemeni government.

The unsustainability of a unity government in Sanaa is even more clear than in Tripoli because the Yemeni opposition detests Saleh’s sons much more than it hates Saleh himself.

Ali Saleh

Obama is touting Anwar al Awkali, a US-born Yemeni cleric killed by a Hellfire missile attack, as a “leader of external operations.” That is nonsense. Al Awkali was a maverick preacher, to be sure, but not an operative commander.

Anwar al Awkali

Under the command of the elusive Ayman Zuwahiri, Al Qaeda troops in Yemen have taken control of several districts in the port city of Aden. This brings Al Qaeda to the shores of the Red Sea, which also borders Israel.

Ousting the terrorist group from urban areas would be far more difficult than targeting its camps in Waziristan. The media have reasonable access to Aden, and unrestrained drone attacks such as the US conducts in Pakistan, with the massive civilian casualties they cause, are not an option there. And there are no indigenous troops to displace the terrorists. On the other hand, an Al Qaeda foothold on the Red Sea will send the Saudis into high gear, and they are able to field a force for urban combat in Aden.

For almost a year, the US and Saudis have been unable to decide what do they want to do with Yemen. President Saleh has promised to resign several times and rescinded his resignation every time. The US hesitates to be firm with Saleh, its longtime ally against terrorism, and along with the Brits maintains contacts with the Yemeni opposition. In the resulting stalemate, neither side can win, and Yemen creeps toward civil war.

Forget the US, even the Saudis cannot make up their minds about Yemen. They sometimes seem intent on partitioning it in order to create a peaceful zone along the Saudi/Yemeni border, abandoning the rest of the country to anarchy. At other times they seem to recognize that terrorist violence would likely overflow into the peaceful area.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is taking advantage of the power vacuum to make major inroads into Yemen, establishing itself in town after town. By positioning themselves as the most efficient opposition force, the terrorists win the political loyalty of the inhabitants.

Despite his pledge in Riyadh to step down before February’s elections, Yemeni president Saleh has returned to his country. He has already reneged several times on his promises to abandon the office he has held for thirty-three years.

Despite an apparent agreement with the opposition, Yemen is convulsing under terrorist attacks staged by Shiite insurgents, obviously supported by Iran. Whether under Saleh or his VP, the central government is losing control of large areas to Shiites and Al Qaeda.

Instead of strengthening Saleh to destroy the insurgents by whatever means necessary, the US adopted the Saudi plan. The Saudis, however, have a completely different objective in Yemen: carving out a stable mini-state along the Saudi border—and to hell with the rest of the country, which will inevitably fall to terrorists.

Latest: Yemen
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16.12 Jewish pogroms in Yemen
02.03 A rabbi's murderer acquitted in Yemen
19.03 Satmar saved Yemeni Jews
31.01 Lull in the US war in Yemen
14.03 America watches on as its friends are ousted
09.04 Yemen: Obama's hypocrisy
13.04 Well-armed lambs in Yemen
24.04 The last trick in Yemen
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13.06 Saudi plans for Yemen unchanged
27.09 Saleh defies Saudi plans
03.10 Awkali's death over-celebrated
03.10 Al Qaeda bursts into the open
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27.11 Yemeni Saleh is less than straightforward