World View: U.S. Prepares Yemen Evacuation as Houthis Apparently Complete Coup

AP Photo/Hani Mohammed
AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

This morning’s key headlines from

  • U.S. prepares Yemen evacuation as Houthis apparently complete coup
  • Obama calls for Congressional approval of military action

U.S. prepares Yemen evacuation as Houthis apparently complete coup

Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi giving a televised State of the Yemen speech on Tuesday
Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi giving a televised State of the Yemen speech on Tuesday

The U.S. military on Monday night has moved two amphibious ships, the USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry, from the Gulf of Aden to the southern Red Sea, in preparation to evacuate the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, if it becomes necessary.

Iran-backed Shia al-Houthi militants stormed the presidential palace in Sanaa, and are reported to be approaching the private residence of president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, where he is believed to be. The Prime Minister’s residence is also under attack. One government minister called the actions “the completion of a coup.”

Shortly afterwards, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the head of the al-Houthis, went on nationwide television and gave a sort of rambling State of the Yemen address, which was full of threats and accusations:

  • Al-Houthi appeared to threaten Sunni warlords and tribes who he said have been fighting alongside Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
  • He also accused president Hadi of aiding AQAP, and of being a tool of foreign powers, including the United States.
  • He accused Hadi of violating last year’s power-sharing agreement. However, he failed to mention his own commitment in that agreement, that Houthi troops would be withdrawn from Sanaa, which he has failed to keep.
  • He accused Hadi’s son of corruption, and of stealing “billions.”

As we reported yesterday, analysts were hoping that the al-Houthis would stop short of taking complete control of Yemen’s government, because of the consequences that would result. But after today’s events, including the harsh personal criticisms of Hadi, it appears very likely that the existing government is about to collapse. The al-Houthis are already in de facto control, and today’s events seem close to formalizing that control. CS Monitor and AP

Obama calls for Congressional approval of military action

Last year in June, President Obama announced that the U.S. would send 300 American advisors to train, advise and support the Iraqi securities forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL). Since then, this number has been increased, one step at at time, from 300 to 800 to 1500 to 3100. He said that this was “not mission creep.” He insisted that the “U.S. will not be putting boots on the ground.” The goal is “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.” ( “8-Nov-14 World View — Obama sharply escalates U.S. involvement in Iraq war”) All of this was in addition to air force strikes against ISIS.

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Obama said:

In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL. We need that authority.

I thought that airstrikes against ISIL were already “the use of force.” So it is not clear whether this is a further escalation, or whether it is simply requesting the legal authority to take the military action that is already taking place. (The phrase “We need that authority” was added to the prepared text.)

I have not yet heard any military analyst claim that Obama’s strategy will succeed in its goal “to degrade and destroy ISIS.” Every analyst I have heard says that American “boots on the ground” will be required.

In fact, as I have been reporting repeated in the last few weeks, there is a growing Muslim versus Muslim war in the Mideast, South Asia and North Africa, with tens of thousands of Muslims slaughtered every year. Generational Dynamics predicts this will spiral into a full scale regional war, and after that into a world war.

In the speech, Obama did not brag about Afghanistan, except to say, “Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who’ve now taken the lead.” Obama was burned after withdrawing from Iraq without leaving a residual force, and today it is far from clear how the withdrawal from Afghanistan will fare. Washington Post and Guardian (London)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Yemen, Houthis, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, Syria, Iraq
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