Yemen: America’s Newest Proxy War

The Gulf State of Yemen has been in turmoil and plagued by civil war since the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh abdicated office in 2012. On one side is the Sunni-backed regime and on the other is the Shiite Houthi Militia.

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Recently in the news, the Houthis have been making advances, which threaten to undermine the existing status quo of a regime that has maintained power through corruption and power sharing. Their control of the nation’s capitol, Sana’a, have forced the sitting president (And Rabbu Mansour Hadi) to flee the nation. Their presence has been interpreted as a means for Iran to further its influence in the region. Given that this in the sphere of influence of the Saudis as well as the rest of the Gulf States, the Sunni regimes have decided to involve themselves, also. Furthermore, a threat to Saudi power is taken seriously by the United States have oil interests to protect in the region. Alternatively, any advance of Shi’a power is viewed as beneficiary to Iran, which both Israel and the United States consider the biggest threat to their power. y The result of elevating tensions caused by these events has resulted in several heavy airstrikes of Houthi military bases as well as the capitol. The Saudi defense minister has also vowed to continue the strikes in order to weaken the militants. While the Gulf Cooperation Council is entering this struggle, the United States is providing support and encouragement at a distance as Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that the White House plans to provide further logistical and intelligence support. If this was not a proxy war before, it certainly is becoming one now. A side effect of these bombings is the unlikely support that the Houthis have found within the country. Former President Saleh has pledged his support for their cause as areas still loyal to him were also struck. This partnership is a surprise given that Saleh fought the Houthis for a long duration throughout his presidency. Whether or not this partnership will be of any use to the militants is still to be decided, but it certainly lends the support of those loyal to Saleh. Ultimately, if this becomes a proxy war, then much more will be at stake than the control of the Yemeni government. The Islamic State declaring their involvement in causing further chaos through recent suicide bombings will not help the situation either.

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GUANTANAMO BAY AND THE TORTURE REPORT

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin
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These days, the name Guantanamo Bay appears in the news from time to time. Typically, the focus is on the false promises granted by the Obama Administration or the human rights abuses that are being committed every minute of every day. The prison is located on the island of Cuba, which is ironic given the United States’ shaky relations with the nation. It was established as a byproduct of the War on Terror in 2002. Given the fear instilled in the nation at the time by the media and the government, the American public was willing to look the other way. Gradually, society became indifferent to the reality of unlawful imprisonment for individual’s deemed extraordinarily dangerous. Refer back to the quote stated at the beginning of the piece. Given the origin of the quote, it would be difficult to argue against the fact that the actions of the American public violate the original beliefs on which the nation was created. This part of American history is most similar to the time period where Japanese internment camps were erected for similar reasons.

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Flash forward around ten years and the CIA is made to release a torture report that details there actions against individuals held illegally, actions which most likely continue to take place today. While many of the horrific actions carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency are known, such as force-feeding and water-boarding, the report reveals that the actions were far more severe than the agency made them out to be. Furthermore, the report reveals that the CIA acted independently of government authorization and no part of the government should have that much power. When confronted on the issue, former vice-president Dick Cheney answered it was “Full of Crap“. Given that there are individuals who would argue with the findings of a non-biased government investigation, it becomes evident that many politicians are continuing to work to mislead the American public. Referring back to the Benjamin Franklin’s timeless warning, there is truly a problem that must be faced and it must begin with a change in the attitude of the United States citizens.