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New Adventures in Yemen
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TAC readers with longish memories might recall George W. Bush’s executive order 13438 issued on July 17th, 2007, which is apparently still in effect though yet to be used, authorizing the President acting through the Treasury Department to seize the property of anyone who “Threatens Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” As the administration’s own Justice Department decides what constitutes “threatening stabilization efforts” the order could have been used to go after any critic of the integrity of the Iraqi government or of Washington’s efforts to prop up the same. Most disturbing, similar to much of the other post-9/11 legislation, the order did not permit a challenge to the information that the seizure was based on and it also allowed the confiscation of the property of anyone who comes to the assistance of the suspected de-stabilizer. It was a lot like being on a no-fly list only much, much worse.

Well, if history really does repeat itself as farce, the current Administration has revived the concept with an executive order issued on May 16th. The Obama White House has shown itself to be truly reluctant to let any bad idea inherited from GWB go to waste, so it has come up with an authority to freeze the US based assets of anyone who “obstructs the political process” taking place in Yemen. The order includes US citizens in its purview and is intended to serve as a deterrent aimed at “those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition.” You might well be asking what transition they are referring to and could also be wondering why the Bill of Rights should be suspended for those who are thinking too hard in light of the fact that Washington does not appear to have any treaty with Sana’a obliging some kind of quid-pro-quo in terms of good behavior. Well, the Washington Post describes Yemen’s transformation somewhat opaquely as an “administration backed political transition,” but then admits the order is “unusual.” An anonymous administration source “authorized to discuss the new order” explains that Obama will make sure that friends and relatives of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh do not try to get involved in politics and disrupt the transition from their guy to the next strongman in line Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Oh, by the way, Hadi has promised to introduce democracy.

In other words, if Saleh’s cousin has a bank account at Chase he had better not think of running for alderman. But of course he doesn’t have an account there. Which means that the order is really directed at American citizens, mostly of Yemeni descent, who might want to get directly involved in the politics of that unhappy land. They have to understand that only the White House can meddle in Yemen. For those few who still believe in the Obama mystique and who would argue that the Treasury Department action would only be directed at those giving material support to terrorist groups, think again. There are already laws enabling the Treasury to do all kinds of things to those supporting terrorism. This is all about attempting to micromanage the outcome of a chaotic political process inside Yemen. If it as successful as earlier efforts in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and ongoing in Afghanistan and Syria, God help us all.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Yemen 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The Southern Issue:

    Is the issue of four million people living in the area of more than333.000 km 2 in six provinces

    It is an issue of the Independent State Member of the United Nations and Arab League, which gave up its membership in international institutions and the capital, “Aden” and its currency “dinar” to be in union with North Yemen, and establish a fair democratic state that can be a comprehensive Arab Union.

    It is the issue of that State which was subjected to a cruel war in 94 resulted in the transfer ofunity to annexation and causing waste of the Southern citizens’ rights and looting of land and wrongful termination of tens of thousands of civilian and military cadres and its institutions have been vandalized and its identity has been blurred, and it’s wealth plundered.

    It is the issue of the people that poverty was for them the title of the post-disaster, “7 7”, which the Sana’a authority made a Holiday , while the day is a disaster for the South, thecontinuation of accusations of separatism and treason haunted to this day.!

    Southern Movement:

    Is a peaceful movement launched South Yemen, or what was formerly known as South Yemen Arab Republic or Democratic Republic. Before uniting the northern and southern halves

    The first Southern movement was launched in 2007where some of the brass held demonstrations demanding their return to their military duties in the army after they were retired by the government of Yemen as a direct punishment because of their participation in the war of secession which President Ali Abdullahrejected the disengagement processrequested by President Ali Salem white former President of South Yemen.

    Since the start of military demonstrations there were many demonstrations in severalsouthern provinces and sporadically and without any regulation or coordination or specificleaders, but was mostly an expression of policy of rejection, exclusion and marginalizationpracticed by the regime and the Yemeni government against the people of the south.

    In the twenty-fourth of March 2007the Southern Movement have been officially launched by the associations of retired military personnel and their demands confined in the settlement of salary and rank, like their colleagues in the Yemeni army and claiming that they are working under the umbrella of a single state and there must be equality between everyone, but what happened was quite the opposite where the Yemeni government insisted on themarginalization of their demands and not pay them, forcing them to go out ondemonstrations demanding to return to the pre-unity and to demand the return of State of the South ..

    When the government chose to ignore some people and ignored their legitimate demandsthey also tried to stop the demonstrations by force and arrested some demonstrators in an attempt to stop the demonstrations by force and ending them, committing a terrible mistakeas pouring fuel on a weak fire which could have easily been put out but instead they increased the suffering of thedemonstrators instead of achieving their demands so their demands rose, instead ofequality in the salary their demands are to split the state and return to the pre-unity which is the total demandthat demonstrators want to achieve now in the south

  2. “Obstructs the political process” is an especially pungent choice of words. I guess it’s sort of like “participating,” or being a “stakeholder,” except that different people are doing it.

  3. Phil Geraldi wrote “Which means that the order is really directed at American citizens, mostly of Yemeni descent, who might want to get directly involved in the politics of that unhappy land.” It seems that we are willing to enslave ourselves in the quest to “liberate” others.  Nothing new here. 
    But I have one quibble.  Aren’t the overseas political affiliations of our ethnic minorities a major cause of our current predicament?  Let Yemeni Americans involve themselves in contributing to their new homeland.  That is, if they see themselves as Americans.  

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