If you happen to be trapped in the war-torn country Barack Obama described as one of his big foreign-policy “success stories” just months ago, and you’re feeling a bit nervous that the State Department has no plans to evacuate you, why not try clicking on StuckInYemen.com?
It is a website created by Arab-American groups who say that while “all Americans are entitled to protection from from their government,” “the United States government and embassies abandoned Yemeni-Americans in February 2015.”
This accusation is supported by this amazing citation from the State Department website regarding the Yemen crisis:
There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available. Keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice. The airports are currently closed, but may open unexpectedly; other unforeseen opportunities to depart may also suddenly arise.
NPR adds a promise from State Department spokesperson Marie Harf that her agency will try to send out alerts when there is a boat or plane departing from Yemen. She did not know if any U.S. citizens actually managed to avail themselves of the most recent “maritime opportunity.” Probably not many, since the ship Harf refers to was not actually able to dock.
Jamal al-Labani certainly was not. He flew to Yemen from his home in California to rescue his pregnant wife and 2-year-old daughter, only to be killed in a mortar strike during the battle for the port city of Aden, becoming the first American fatality of the conflict. He complained about the uselessness of the U.S. State Department during his final messages home, and talked about trying to slip across the border into Oman.
That does not make sense to the founders of the StuckInYemen.com website, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Asian Americans advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. The groups pointed out that American military ships are in the area but not helping to evacuate American citizens from Yemen, while it is believed that other countries, including China, India, and Russia, have been taking steps to get their people out.
The Indian Express published an article Tuesday morning about the success of Chinese and Indian evacuation efforts. The Diplomat adds that the Chinese military claims to have evacuated 225 people from other countries, including Italy, Germany, Britain, and Canada. “For a rising China eager to portray its military modernization in non-aggressive terms, successful operations such as this one highlight the PLA’s ability to become a net provider of humanitarian aid in times of crisis,” the Diplomat observes.
But Yemeni-Americans have to fill out web forms for both the State Department and a private rescue website, and hope somebody gets them out of the country. Is this all part of Obama’s plan to sunset American power and hand off global leadership to China, Russia, and nuclear Iran? It is too bad our multi-trillion-dollar government is caught totally flat-footed by every single foreign-policy development (and most domestic news, too) or else they might have put some emergency measures in place for the disintegration of Yemen.