Yemen Chaos – WH “Model,” Saudis Attack, Iran Condemns

Editor’s Note – As the White continues to insist that Yemen is a “model for successful counterterrorism“, the President of Yemen flees the country by boat.

Like many of the aspects of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and “overseas contingency” operations, failure is obvious but they just will not admit failure and continue to cover for a failed President. One has to suspend all disbelief to swallow their statements.

Saudi jets roar over Yemen
Saudi jets roar over Yemen

Meanwhile, the Saudis have amassed military assets numbering over 150,000 on their border with Yemen and are now attacking the Houthis; the Iranians puppets and Iran is none-to-pleased. USA Today is reporting:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said airstrikes in Yemen are a “dangerous step” Thursday, after Saudi Arabia launched the strikes against Shiite rebel positions in the crisis-hit country.

The Saudi offensive begun Wednesday and supported by nine regional allies came as the country pledged to protect its neighbor from Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

In a statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said the country “condemns the airstrikes against Yemen this morning that left some innocent Yemenis wounded and dead and considers this action a dangerous step” the Associated Press reported. “This invasion will bear no result but expansion of terrorism and extremism throughout the whole region.”

Yemeni loyalists are fighting back but the Houthis are advancing despite air strikes. Yemen is in a state of total anarchy with many opposing forces, and the US has exited.

Despite these facts, the White persists through Josh Earnest, the White House Spokesperson:

QUESTION: Josh, just quickly first on Yemen. I know you’re asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But — but now that we have, you know, essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for counterterrorism strategy?

EARNEST: Jon, the White House does continue to believe that a successful counterterrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country. And the United States can serve both to diplomatically offer up some political support to central governments. We can offer very tangible support to local security forces in the form of training and equipping. (Read much more at ABC News)

Then, over at the State Department, Spokesperson Jen Psaki was in typical ‘protect the White House” mode about Yemen as well and she responded to news of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi:

“We were in touch with him earlier today,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing in Washington. “He is no longer at his residence. I’m not in position to confirm any additional details from here about his location.”

State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki and Josh Earnest respond separately to questions on Yemen and the White House's stubborn stance of "success."
State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki and Josh Earnest respond separately to questions on Yemen and the White House’s stubborn stance of “success.”

See a stunning summary video of the chaos here. Please read on and do not let your ‘lying eyes’ deceive you:

Gulf states launch air strikes in Yemen

By Simeon Kerr in Dubai and Reuters in Washington – Financial Times

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters tightening their grip on Aden, where the country’s president had taken refuge, the Saudi envoy to Washington said on Wednesday.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador, said a 10-country coalition had joined the military campaign “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of President Abd Rabbuh Hadi.

News of the strikes triggered a surge in the price of crude oil. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, was up 5.3 per cent at $51.80 in early London trade, while Brent crude, rose 4.5 per cent to $59.02.YemenMap3.26.15AmerEnterprise

Mr Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had consulted the US but that Washington was not participating. The White House confirmed that President Barack Obama had authorised US logistical and intelligence support.

Gulf Arab states had been considering military intervention against Iran-backed Houthi rebels advancing on Aden, Yemen’s southern port city, in what threatens to turn a rumbling Sunni-Shia cold war into a more direct conflict.

In a dramatic day of events — that saw reports of President Hadi fleeing the city by sea denied by his advisers, after Houthi forces stormed an air base near Aden — Yemen’s foreign minister told Sky News Arabia on Wednesday that Sunni Gulf states had accepted his government’s request for military intervention to stem the advance of Houthi militia.

The move sets the scene for a confrontation between Sunni-majority Arab countries and Shia Iran, which they accuse of interfering in the Arab world by supporting proxy groups such as the Houthi, who are followers of the Zaydi Shia sect.

Oil prices jumped in Asian trading on Thursday, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, at one point up 5.9 per cent to $59.71.

On Wednesday night, leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar who met in Riyadh last weekend to discuss the Yemeni crisis, were weighing up air strikes against Houthi positions in their northern strongholds in defence of Mr Hadi in the southern port city, said one person aware of the discussions.

Reports have since emerged that Saudi Arabia has moved heavy weaponry towards its southern border with Yemen, which adjoins the Houthis’ northern power base.

The Houthi rebels, who are working in partnership with the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized the al-Anad air base on Wednesday, 60km north of Aden, the last staging post on the road to the country’s second-largest city — raising the stakes in the impoverished nation’s slide into war.

A spokesman for Mr Hadi, who escaped from the Houthi-controlled capital of Sana’a in February, denied rumours that the president had fled Aden by sea.

Clashes broke out around Aden’s airport later on Wednesday, according to local media. War planes fired at the compound where Mr Hadi has been forming a government in exile.

Analysts say that Saudi Arabia is adopting a defensive position on the Saudi-Yemeni border, which adjoins the Houthis’ territorial heartland, or perhaps seeking to draw the militia’s forces into a battle on a second front in the northern highlands.

Sunni Arab states may also be planning a joint force to weigh in behind Mr Hadi, whom they — along with the UN — have backed as the legitimate president.

“It is entirely possible that air strikes or special operation forces may be used on specific missions,” said Theodore Karasik, a Dubai-based security analyst. “There is a plan for a joint Arab force, but it is not ready yet for operations.”

Screen capture of video showing aftermath of Saudi strikes - NBC News
Screen capture of video showing aftermath of Saudi strikes – NBC News

On Saturday, US military personnel evacuated al-Anad base, which had been used to co-ordinate drone strikes against al-Qaeda Islamist militants.

The Houthis, who have controlled the capital since September, say their advance against Aden aims to stem the growing influence of al-Qaeda, which they claim has joined Mr Hadi’s coalition of army loyalists and southern tribes.

Analysts fear that al-Qaeda fighters, a potent force in central parts of Yemen, could become the shock troops of a Sunni defence — deepening the polarised sectarian conflict.

The Houthi advance south gathered pace after last week’s deadly suicide bombings at two mosques in Sana’a that caused hundreds of casualties among Zaydi Shia worshippers.

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Analysts said the Houthis’ rapid charge was intended to lock in territorial gains before potential foreign intervention or peace talks.

Saudi officials have said they will take the “necessary measures” if peace efforts — led by Jamal Benomar, UN envoy, in Sana’a — fail.

Qatar has sought to get key Yemeni power brokers to meet in Doha to forge a peace agreement but, so far, military action has trumped diplomacy.

Middle East has decided it can no longer rely on America

Editor’s Note – In a stunning development, one obviously prompted by tensions between the US and the gulf oil states, many Sunni states were represented in Kuwait at a summit that focused on mutual defense because of the rise of Iran’s attempts at regional hegemony. The Middle East has decided it can no longer rely on America.

The timing was also important as Iran actually walked out of talks with the US and the west as reported Friday Alakhbar English:

Iran has quit nuclear talks with world powers, accusing Washington on Friday of going against the spirit of a landmark agreement reached last month by expanding its sanctions blacklist.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the major powers in the talks, both played down the suspension and said talks were expected to resume soon.

But Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said the US move went against the spirit of the deal struck in Geneva under which the powers undertook to impose no further sanctions for six months in exchange for Iran curbing its controversial nuclear activities.

In addition to creating their own joint military command, they called for interlopers, the rival foreign militias in Syria to leave the theater:

Gulf Arab states demanded foreign militias quit Syria and said President Bashar al-Assad must have no future role Wednesday, in a declaration his Iran- and Hezbollah-backed regime denounced as meddling. Wrapping up a two-day annual summit in Kuwait City, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s leaders welcomed what they described as the new Iranian government’s shift to a positive policy toward the six-nation bloc.

The GCC leaders also approved the formation of a joint military command, but postponed a decision on a proposed union. Adopting a firm stance on Syria, the GCC “strongly condemned the continued genocide that Assad’s regime is committing against the Syrian people using heavy and chemical weapons.” It called “for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria,” in a clear reference to Iran-backed Shiite militias from Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement which are supporting Assad’s troops against Sunni-led rebels. (Read more at Arab Times.)

Once again we see more evidence that the foreign policy of the Obama Administration and Secretary of State John Kerry has been an abject failure regarding Iran and Syria. John Kerry can play it down and use appeasing words, but he has been ‘punked’ once again. It must be asked again, what is Obama’s actual policy on any aspect of the Middle East?

Israeli/Palestinian talks – failure; Syria ‘red line’ – failure; Iran nuclear program/sanctions talks – failure; supporting the MB in Egypt – failure; reset with Russia – failure; failure after failure, and it reaches beyond to Afghanistan, China, and North Korea to name but a few. In fact, his foreign policy, and that of his last two Secretaries of State and UN Ambassadors – abject failures.

America is now less than a ‘paper tiger! Please read on:

Gulf nations to create joint military command

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination even as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts in the wake of its interim nuclear deal.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also agreed to lay the foundations for a joint Gulf police force and a strategic studies academy, according to a summary of the group’s closing statement carried by the official Kuwait News Agency.Gulf Nations Summit

Taken together, the initiatives suggest that the U.S.-allied Gulf states are seeking to do more to ensure their collective security amid the prospect of warmer relations between Iran and the West. The Islamic Republic agreed last month to freeze parts of its nuclear program in exchange for some relief from Western economic sanctions.

Many in the Gulf remain wary of Tehran’s intentions. Saudi Arabia in particular sees a stronger Iran as a threat to its own influence, and it and other Gulf states are major backers of the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government is backed by Iran.

The Gulf states have nonetheless voiced at times cautious support for the nuclear deal — a theme they reiterated as a bloc in Wednesday’s closing statement. They also welcomed Iran’s “new approach” toward the GCC and expressed hope that it would lead to “concrete steps in order to reflect positively on peace, security and stability of the region.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to the Gulf in recent days to reassure longstanding Arab allies. He made clear that the interim nuclear deal does not mean that Washington thinks the security threat posed by Iran is over.

Hagel also outlined steps to increase security cooperation in the Gulf region, where the U.S. deploys tens of thousands of air, land and sea forces, and opened the door to sales of missile defense and other weapons systems to the GCC as a bloc.

His tour followed visits by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week to four of the six Gulf nations in an effort to improve ties.

It was not immediately clear when the proposed Gulf military command and joint police force would be formed, how they would be structured or what the extent of their mandates would be.

The summit’s closing statement said a joint defense council would “take necessary measures to put this agreement into effect,” while the joint police force “will boost security and help expand security and anti-terror cooperation and coordination among member states,” according to the Kuwaiti news agency.

The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is the bloc’s largest economy and traditionally sets the political tone for the region. It has pushed for a closer union among the six nations, and led a Gulf military force that deployed in support of Bahrain’s monarchy in March 2011 when it faced down a Shiite-led uprising in the tiny island kingdom.

Riyadh’s push for greater unity has met resistance, however. Oman’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, announced over the weekend at a security conference in Bahrain that his nation would not participate in any formal union among the Gulf monarchies.