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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Should Netanyahu Have Addressed the U.S. Congress?

Short Answer: After objectively examining the the Prime Minister of Israel’s visit to Congress, the answer is no.

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The first problem is the context of his visit. The United State’s government is significantly divided and polarized. This rift has negatively impacted the country and its population who are more than likely not benefitting from a relationship with Israel. The party that is most benefitting from that relationship is Israel themselves, but given their socioeconomic conditions, they do not need the United States. Israel is a developed nation with a democracy and a thriving and extremely entrepreneurial private sector. Therefore, they are innovative and can survive on their own. In understanding this, it becomes somewhat confusing as to why much of the American population welcome this individual at the expense of disrespecting their president.

Any individual who has followed Middle Eastern politics to some degree has a general understanding of how the current Israeli government has an unwavering disdain towards Iran. This can be attributed to many reasons such as their support of Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militia. In the speech given by “Bibi”, in which he warned that in establishing an agreement with Iran would only aid their efforts in creating nuclear weapons. President Obama’s did not make the effort to watch, but read the script later. His response to the Prime Minister is that he proposed no reasonable alternatives and is not entirely wrong.

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The only evidence necessary in this particular situation is history itself. President Obama’s assertion that no valuable suggestions were made is not without truth as the Prime Minister only insisted that the United States continue their efforts to restrict Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In looking to historical instances where sanctions and similar practices were unsuccessful, a couple significant instances can be examined. One of these instances includes sanctions against Japan in the pre-WWII period, which resulted in the bombing of Peal Harbor. The second instance, which is significantly more relevant as it is a more current example is that of North Korea. This is the perfect comparison as it has sanctions imposed on it by many nations, including the United States, yet it has been able to acquire nuclear arms. Therefore, it becomes evident that placing restrictions on Iran, is not a reliable option for ending or postponing their nuclear ambitions.

In conclusion, the long answer to the question is also no. Benjamin Netanyahu should not have been invited or accepted the invitation to address the United States congress. The speech will probably not change how Obama Administration will proceed and it should not, as the United States is a nation that should act in the manner it perceives will be the most effective. Furthermore, it may be within reason for the international community to question why other nations have nuclear arms, such as Israel itself.