"If you think Afghanistan is a sinkhole, you will love Yemen." - Mark Lynch
"But it is also an exceedingly complex country gripped by grinding poverty, facing an imminent water crisis, in which the central government is as weak as tribal confederations are strong, and it is wracked by two separatist insurgencies unrelated to al Qa’eda." - Tony Karon
The conservative attack monkeys have revved up into full swing, grabbing at the terrorist vines from Yemen, and throwing their feces his way. Obama is being labeled a wimp and naive on terrorism, and certainly not hawkish enough. Excerpting from the headlines of opinion pieces nationally, I find: We lack the Will to Fight Terror, ... Pretends to Get Tough, Vulnerable on Terror, Naive Approach to Terror, and Time Passed Obama By. I have read them all, and they make arguments that any sixth grader learning how to debate could easily rebut. I was hoping for some good criticism that would open up a debate on how we handle national security and all I get are attacks on Janet Napolitano's original speech and how unwise it is to shut down Guantanamo.
Unfortunately, both the US and the UK have closed their embassies in Yemen, due to intercepted threats from the al Qaeda group: "Hakim al-Masmari, the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post newspaper, told Al Jazeera that the closure can only mean "that they believe al-Qaeda threat is very serious". "If you look at the recent video tapes from al-Qaeda, they clearly mention they have no enemy in Yemen except the US interests in Yemen. They warned the Yemeni soldiers against helping the Americans in any such way," al-Masmari said.
"We really expect attacks on the US interests in the next month by al-Qaeda."
The US is going to double its support to bolster up a government that makes Hamid Karzai look honest and organized, and, as I had warned in an earlier post, the situation in Yemen could easily spark World War 111. This is not the change I wanted to believe in...
3 day run for the border...
Egypt has opened its border at the Rafah crossing: "Egypt had announced last week it would be opening Rafah - the only border crossing into Gaza not controlled by Israel - from January 3 to 6.
Although opened sporadically, the Rafah border crossing has largely remained shut - as have the Israeli-controlled crossings into Gaza - since Hamas gained full control of the territory through violent Palestinian infighting in June 2007."
It's a token, of course, to the recent international groups of protesters that gathered in Cairo and Tel Aviv in support of the Palestinian plight in Gaza: "These things are really unprecedented in Egypt I think," she said. "I don't think there's ever been this type of international demonstrations here."
However, Wright said that to Egypt's credit, and despite heavy-handed use of force by police at times, the government did allow them to hold demonstrations outside the UN, Israeli, US and French embassies, contrary to what some expected." 210 trucks filled with medical supplies will arrive tomorrow, having come from Britain to give humanitarian aid. Here's hoping that this will become a more permanent solution.
Also, the Hamas - Fatah feud is about to end with continued talks in Cairo. Next, they can have a united front to go into talks with Israel. This has been a major stumbling block, and with the token exchange of prisoners, the talks over a Palestinian state will finally begin. Much credit to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel for their patient work towards this goal, despite the many side-trackings reported by the press...
free the Ashura seven, then free the Tehran 300, then free...
put on trial and sentenced seven people it says were part of the recent protests during Ashura. And, in typical Iranian fashion, nobody knows who is being tried or what the charges are. Doesn't really matter, since we know they will be sentenced to death or life in prison for being terrorists... whoa, do I detect some parallels between American justice here? "But virtually no information about the trials has been released to the media.
Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, said that although there had been a request from lawyers to hold the trials as an open session, that request had not been granted.
"It seems that the judiciary has not reacted very well to that [proposal]. We haven't got any information as to how the trial has gone on, what the charges are or even who has actually being put on trial," he said.