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The geopolitical aspects of the Yemeni revolt
Material posted: -Publication date: 05-03-2011

That in Yemen, there have been resurgences of extremist elements, it has been reported many times. The main terrorist group orientation is considered to be al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which seeks to overthrow Pro-Western governments of Yemen and neighboring Saudi Arabia. Its activities increasingly worries Washington, forcing him to pay more attention to problem regions in the Arabian Peninsula and the horn of Africa.

Prior to this, the number of CIA agents in Yemen was at times less than, for example, in Pakistan. But "Yemeni lull" was deceptive, and the country is gradually slipping into the abyss of radicalization. This contributes not only to the weakness of the Central government, but a tribal contradictions in Yemeni society, which are often solved with weapons in hand.

Meanwhile, citizens took to the streets with demands of social change. In some cities the number of demonstrators reached 5 000 or more. Authorities are trying to consolidate the society, but so far without success. In February 2011, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, announced his intention to form a government of national unity, which should include representatives of all opposition parties. But the opposition rejected this idea, than raised its credibility in the eyes of the citizens. In this situation, Saleh hopes to remain in power at least until the next presidential election in 2013, and has already stated that it would defend the Republic "until the last drop of blood". If a compromise is reached, tribal contradictions will become aggravated to a limit, and the country plunge into the chaos of civil war, divided by the border settlement of different tribes.

The President seeks the support of the military class, which had been generally loyal to the current government. As only a small part of the military joined protesters in Taiz and Sadak, Saleh ordered to repay before the entire military wage arrears. Most of the generals belong to the same tribe that President Saleh. The command of the Republican guard, the most professional and equipped with the formation of the Yemeni army, given to the son of the President and the secret service in charge of his nephew. On the tribal principle is formed by middle and younger officers. Not surprising that the army remains loyal to the President.

Despite Saleh's willingness to make concessions, the opposition remains adamant. A priority strategy of the official authorities is the so-called "tribal politics" - warring clans skillfully pit with each other, and to Sana'a from the province hastily dumped hundreds of representatives of tribes of Northern Yemen, the stronghold of the incumbent President. The main rival of Saleh is the family al-Ahmar is one of the most rich and powerful, standing at the head of the tribal Union of hashadow. Although chasidy not so numerous as their opponents – the tribal Union of bacila, first conducted a more targeted policy. In February this year, Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar had left the ranks of the General people's Congress – the ruling party of President Saleh. Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar and his brother Hamid al-Ahmar, in sharp tones, called on Saleh to leave his post.

This confrontation of the two most powerful clans adds a new facet to Yemeni riots. Haredi attract to its side a growing number of supporters, including representatives of the tribe bakil. But the main ally of the family of al-Ahmar tribe is Kaplan. Cavlan tribe occupies the land East of Sana'a and is the most well armed and powerful tribe in all of Yemen. For the tribe cavlan to the family of al-Ahmar joined several tribes in the province Marib. The Marib province is the main battlefield of the official authorities with the Islamic terrorists, but the local tribes believe that the fight against AQAP – the only reason for Saleh to take control of the oil-rich province. There is every reason to believe that the clan of al-Ahmar will attempt to hijack protests in Yemen, to this wave to overthrow the current President.

Until recently, Saleh had his trump card – the support of Americans and control over the Yemeni capital. Strategic and psychological importance of Sana'a is difficult to overestimate. The Yemenis say that the one who controls Sana'a, controls the whole country. Now on the streets of crowds of people chanting anti-government slogans, and the Saleh clan and the clan of al-Ahmar are making every effort to win over the largest possible number of tribes living in the vicinity of the capital and controlling transportation routes linking Sana'a with the rest of the country. If Yemen will plunge into chaos tribal hatred, Sana'a will be the epicenter of this struggle. It is clear that Saleh is confident in his allies, mainly from the Northern tribes. But the South, where separatist tendencies are gaining momentum, gradually floats away from the control of the authorities.

With American support, too not all is smooth. Saleh has been accused of organizing riots Washington and tel Aviv. For many years the White house really sponsored Yemeni gerontocracy that fought with AQAP cells and followed in the footsteps of Washington's policy. But Yemen is a statue with feet of clay. Americans realize that Saleh's regime hated by the majority of Yemenis, but willing to sacrifice that for the sake of his strategic control of Yemen.

The weakness of the regime of Saleh are concerned not only with the United States and neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is an ally of Sana'a, and not without the consent of the latter, the Saudis had bombed positions of the Yemeni Shia, who make up 46% minority in the background of 52% of the Sunni majority. The Saudis fear that the example of the Shiites of Yemen will inspire the protests of the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, especially since Saudi and Yemeni Shiites see their spiritual support in Iran. The piquancy of the situation is that Saudi Shiites inhabit one of the most oil-rich areas of the country – the Najd. The activation of the Shiite rebels could trigger unrest in neighboring Oman, where the Shia relegated to the sidelines of political life. The conflict of this scale threatened to destabilize the entire Arabian Peninsula and will lead to a weakening of U.S. domination and the growing influence of Iran. Americans don't want to give control over the Gulf of Aden to Tehran, which has already acquired its own naval base on the opposite shore of the red sea in Eritrea, and supported the Shia speech in Bahrain that hosts the base of the U.S. Navy Central command and 5th fleet of the United States . In Djibouti, which has a common border with Eritrea, already deployed by American and French soldiers.

But Iran is not the only headache for Washington in the region. There is still China. Americans want to maintain control over the Yemeni port of Aden, from where you can easily shut off access to the Bab El-Mandeb, the gateway to the Red sea are found along the major Chinese trade and communication. Considering that the Malacca Strait has long been controlled by the U.S. Navy's control over Yemen will allow the White house to "clog" the Chinese entry and exit from the Indian ocean, cutting them off from resources in Africa. Thus, Washington will have military superiority in the Indian ocean, and particularly on its West coast. Beijing this will cause a lot of problems, because the growing Chinese economy desperately needs oil imported from the Persian Gulf and shipped to China through the Indian ocean. The stakes are high and the American political elite is increasingly in favour of military intervention in the situation in Yemen. "Iraq is yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't play preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war," said Congressman Joseph Lieberman. And Washington played the lead. In Yemen were assigned to operatives of U.S. intelligence and military instructors, and the American pilots under the guise of the Yemeni air force bombed Shiite. In Yemen, Djibouti and Kenya deployed new unmanned aerial vehicles and technicians to service them.

"In Yemen, so many problems that you get stuck, barely holding them," says former U.S. Ambassador in that country, Edmund hull. About 40% of Yemenis live below the poverty line, there is a shortage of drinking water, the economy relies solely on oil exports. In 2002, Yemen produced 460 thousand tons of oil per year in 2007, according to various estimates, from 300 to 350 thousand tons a year in 2009 — less than 286 thousand tons, and in 2017 production will be equal to zero. The unemployment rate is almost 40%, and the population greatly increased and within 20 years will reach $ 40 million Allocated by the Americans money goes to the modernization of the army, loyal to the President, and to "feed" the President and his clan. Experts of the Center for strategic and international studies (Strategic and International Studies) is recommended to invest in social services to raise living standards of ordinary Yemenis, and deprive terrorist groups of sympathy from the population.

But President Saleh, it seems, for Americans already – used material. Even if they manage to stay in power until elections in 2013, his political future after this date is still very questionable.


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