Special Operations in Yemen


Yemenis and Americans who once imagined that Barack Obama’s administration would pressure the country’s longtime ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to respect freedom of the press, stick to a regular elections schedule, respect human rights, and abide by the rules of war have had their hopes dashed. Washington has seemingly rewarded arbitrary arrests of journalists reporting from two domestic war zones, indefinite postponement of elections, brutal tactics against protesters as well as armed rebels, and a wave of heightened repression during the past 12 months in the name of counterterrorism. The United States seems to be backing the Saleh government with military assistance not only in its war against a few hundred al Qaeda militants, but also in its suppression of the popular uprising in the former South Yemen as well as the al-Huthi rebellion in the North. This short-term approach will only harm U.S. interests and values in the long run.

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Copyright © May 13, 2010 The/Slate Group, LLC. This article first appeared in Foreign Policy (2010), 1.