Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 23, 2014

Haykal Bafana on Yemen, Three Years On

Some recent tweets, storified here, by Haykal Bafana, a Yemeni lawyer in Sanaa:

Way too quiet in #Yemen's political, news, rhetoric, propaganda & social media circles for the last 5-6 days. I'm not sure if that's good.
Key danger points in #Yemen now : Draft constitution, GPC internal strife, Houthi expansion to Marib, 3 year mark of 23 Nov 2011 GCC Deal.
We have a president, ministers, all that state-like jazz. But there is no government in power right now in the republic of #Yemen.
23 Nov 2011 3 years ago, the UN-managed GCC Deal suspended #Yemen's constitution, granted immunity to Saleh & began fucking up Yemeni lives.
For 3 years, #Yemen has had to put with diplomats talking rubbish, doing nonsense & lurching cluelessly from one disaster to another.
Diplomats who suspended #Yemen's Constitution & threw a 1-candidate election now draft a new constitution for Yemenis. In Abu Dhabi.
The same cabal of diplomats witlessly restructured #Yemen's armed forces while not realizing they were causing its disintegration.
Then the very same diplomats were surprised when Houthi militia and AQAP started to rampage all over #Yemen & the disintegrated Army.
3 years ago today, on 23 November 2011, the problems were much simpler in #Yemen.
3 years after 23 November 2011, the GCC Deal has made #Yemen into an unmitigated disastrous diplomatic fiasco.
In #Yemen capital Sanaa, one can get away with anything right now, all the way down to murder. I am not shitting you.
The worst that will happen is that the President will set up a committee to investigate, if the murdered man is reasonably important. #Yemen
But even then, the committee meets a few times over qat, and will always decide that they can't find out fug all about who murdered the chap
#Yemen | No govt news (hell, no govt actually) but Marib power lines to capital Sanaa repeatedly attacked today. 9 power cuts in 24 hours.
There are many ways to make #Yemen better faster. None of them are being pursued at the moment. Signing out : stay in one piece, people.

We wrote about the 1-candidate election "ballot":

Despite the demand in the Yemeni constitution that there must be, at least formally, several candidates, the sole candidate is Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who has for 17 years served as vice-president under President Saleh. There isn't even a Yes and No vote to gauge his support. The only candidate is Hadi, the only vote is a Yes and there is no way that he will not win by a 100% majority.

We predicted:

In a letter to Hadi Obama said that Yemen has become a model for peaceful transition in the Middle East. He did not mention the thousands of people maimed and killed during the last year up to this fake change no one can believe in.

The southern separatist, who were betrayed by the southerner Hadi when he joined Saleh to be made vice-president, the defected general Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar and his tribe, the Salafist and AlQaeda groups in the south and the Houthi tribes in the north boycotted the election. Some polling stations were attacked and at least 4 people were killed today.

The U.S. missed the chance to use the movement against Saleh for some real transition in Yemen. This will come back to bite it.

Obama recently called Yemen a "model" for the fight against the Islamic State. He is right in one sense. The state of Yemen was destroyed by the clueless U.S. sponsored interventions. The Islamic State might get destroyed the same way. But the outcome will not be a new order but, like in Yemen, utter chaos and bloody anarchy.

Posted by b on November 23, 2014 at 12:30 UTC | Permalink


I guess this means no middle east state is allowed to have a government anymore. Chaos reigns or else.

Posted by: Crest | Nov 23 2014 15:37 utc | 1

"US sponsored interventions". Mmmm, getting a bit redundant, eh?

Posted by: ben | Nov 23 2014 15:51 utc | 2

I am not sure that the full story is being told here. The reason that there is no effective government in San'a is that the Houthi Shi'a took it over in September (?), an event which happened almost without being noticed in Western media. But once having taken over the capital, or most of it, without a shot being fired, for some reason the Houthis didn't want to set up a government, as most coup leaders would. A bit like Hizbullah really. Maybe they don't have confidence, and prefer to stay out of the limelight. Or prefer not to be shot at. But this means there is no effective government. And meantime al-Qa'ida is attacking the Houthis outside of San'a - complicated, isn't it?

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 23 2014 18:17 utc | 3

@3 laguerre. thanks for more info. sounds to me like a reversal back to previous times where the usa was installing dictators with gov'ts.. maybe now they figure it is better to just help in a dictator but make it more chaotic for everyone so if needed they can get ISIS in on the action to create more mayhem. it is hard to conceive of the usa having any agenda other then pillaging resources..i don't know what resources yemen has.. maybe it has some strategic value..

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2014 20:06 utc | 4

Really, does any foreign nation, ethnic group, or even small band of kids trust anything Obama says anymore?
And is that so much different than his supposed constituency?

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 24 2014 0:33 utc | 5

In Yemen, President Hadi worked faithfully through the political transition plan mandated by the 2011 GCC-brokered agreement. The successful conclusion of the National Dialogue was a major achievement. However, it represents one of many steps required to establish a more representative government. While Hadi continues to exhibit sound leadership and a strong commitment to reform, he is facing an increasingly fragile security situation impacted by secessionists in the south, a growing AQAP threat and escalating violence between proxy-funded Houthis and Salafists. We are working closely with the Yemeni Ministry of Defense to restructure the military and security apparatus to effectively deal with these national security threats. We will persist in our efforts to strengthen our relationship in the face of the very serious threat posed by terrorists groups operating out of ungoverned spaces. We also will continue to provide support to the national unity government and to the Yemeni Special Forces focused on reducing those opportunities that enable violent extremists groups to hold terrain, challenge the elected government and prepare to conduct operations elsewhere in the region and against the U.S. homeland.--- STATEMENT OF GENERAL LLOYD J. AUSTIN III COMMANDER U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND BEFORE THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES 5 MARCH 2014

Where is the money coming from that arms the Houthis and Salafists?

Posted by: ess emm | Nov 24 2014 3:16 utc | 6

Where is the money coming from that arms the Houthis and Salafists?

Where is the money coming from that arms (ex-) president Hadi? After all, being unelected, he has the same legitimacy as the tribal movements. And it's not as though Hadi is able to collect much in the way of taxes. Fortunately we have the statement of General Lloyd J. Austin III to reassure us that the CIA is doing its best through its under-the-table sources.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 24 2014 8:08 utc | 7

Fisk is now the sole journalist reporting from the frontline
It says it all if you read between the lines. Was IS the "B plan" of Bandar, who was "officially" removed out of the picture to please the politically correct Western allies although he keeps acting behind the curtain?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 24 2014 10:54 utc | 8

I've recently listened to this podcast interview with Yemen expert Adam Baron and felt quite informed after having known next to nothing about the country at all before. Like in this written statement he sees the Houthis as a quite positive force with broad support in the not only Shia population, while the Hadi "government" is widely seen as a US puppet laughing stock without any real power. It seems at the moment everyone is waiting for the elite to admit to the bluff and restart a process of political legitimization.

Posted by: CE | Nov 24 2014 16:31 utc | 9

yemen happens to be another oil transit choke point !
funny innit , every time uncle sham wants control of some place, something would happen to provide the carte blanche for an intervention, whether its aq, boko haram, isis, tsunami, earthquaeke...or pirates , hehehe.

*As if on cue, at the same time CNN headlines broadcast new terror threats from Yemen, the long-running Somalia pirate attacks on commercial shipping in the same Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea across from southern Yemen escalated dramatically after having been reduced by multinational ship patrols. *

Posted by: denk | Nov 28 2014 3:11 utc | 10

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