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.
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. 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.
The Islamic State is what makes the headlines, but Boko Haram is no less of a threat to peace. The unfortunate truth is that the already neglected population within Nigeria and its surrounding nations are victims of political circumstances. The government has a history of neglecting its population and continually is listed as one of the most corrupt in the world. In the most recent 2014 polling, it was placed in the 16th percentile. Much of this can be attributed to the country’s vast oil wealth. More than likely, the country falls under the category of corrupt oil regimes, similar to many of the Gulf Nations such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the lack of attention given by the government to the people creates an environment in which organizations may emerge as “protectors of the people”. Historically, this can be seen through the rise of the Bolsheviks under Lenin against the corrupt regime of Tsar Nicholas II. More recently, this can be seen in the rise and support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has been able to transition into the dominant political party in the country. Therefore, in learning from the past, this organization may very well evolve to become a threat throughout much more of Africa and the world.
Boko Haram and the Islamic State are both share in the same hypocrisy. Both have declared goals of establishing caliphates. When watching Fox or CNN, this theme continuously is brought up and is made to be the main objective for both groups. The truth, however, may be that these organizations exist in order to rebel against the powers that have created a system that oppresses their populations. Another possible explanation is that they are seeking to redraw the largely unrepresentative boundaries that were drawn by colonial powers. The reason for questioning the stated intentions of expanding the influence of Islam is that both Boko Haram and ISIS have deliberately fought against largely Islamic governments. When examined, this is illogical, which points to other motives. In conclusion, critical examination of the circumstances surrounding Boko Haram’s presence reveals they are more similar to the more well known Islamic State than not. Their continued presence reveals that the existing systems cannot continue to operate on the same fashion and significant change is necessary.
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
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.
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.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a complete disaster period.
The reasons for making such an assertion can be found on all sides of the equation. In regards to Americans, 4,488 servicemen were killed directly and 32,223 troops were injured. In addition, 1.7 trillion dollars have been spent by the U.S. Treasury Department on this invasion until 2013, which could have been spent improving American Infrastructure. The numbers are frustrating when examined carefully as one can further dig into how such a large amount of taxpayer’s money that was wasted. Perhaps the most ridiculous factor regarding the war is the conclusion and findings in regards to the purpose of the mission. After all the money and suffering of the war, it turned out that their were indeed no weapons of mass destruction found. Basically, the claims based on supposed intelligence that validated the invasion ended up being false and nothing more than speculation.
It is also necessary to examine the war from the other angles, mainly that of the invaded peoples. The removal of Saddam Hussein was a plus for much of the population as he was guilty of committing significant atrocities and debatably genocide against some of Iraq’s minorities. What came after, however, was even more devastating. It is important to note the country was still recovering from the devastating Iran-Iraq War in the 80’s and the invasion of Kuwait. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that another war only halted any rebuilding of the infrastructure that was taking place. Other important issues include the continued corruption of the government and sectarian violence. Fast forward to today and we have a new player in the game, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. This is an organization characterized by a hate for Western Influence and brutality towards its enemies that is unrivaled in the 21st century.
That brings us to the question of whether or not the United States should return to Iraq in order to deal with the problem of ISIS. While the nation is undoubtedly somewhat responsible for the creation and growth of this organization, is it worth it? ISIS has grown so rapidly as a result of strong anti-West sentiment that stems from colonialism and an interventionist attitude. If the United States were to adopt an isolationist policy, if only to deal with its domestic issues such as the economy, it may be in their interest. This is a difficult topic of discussion, but it must be confronted in order to deal with rationally and responsibly.
What do you think? Feel free to comment your opinions.