UK to Host International Summit on Yemen, U.S. to Attend

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced a global summit on aid to Yemen to assist the country in eliminating the increasing number of radical extremists and al Qaida members who have moved there, in hopes of making it their next safe haven.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend.

Mr Brown will spend the next few days attempting to persuade Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, and other Gulf states to join forces with Britain and the US.

Brussels has expressed strong support for the initiative. The Prime Minister hopes that, between them, they can provide enough aid to offer Yemenis an alternative to radical Islam ....Mr Brown said yesterday: “The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism.”

This is welcome news. [More...]

As I have been saying, military strikes, freezing the release of Gitmo detainees to Yemen and more mass imprisonment just amount to a band-aid and do nothing to get to the root of the problem. Slicing and dicing the intelligence failures and increasing airport security also are not a permanent fix.

Yemen will become a failed state without aid. Between the rebel tribes in the north, the secessionists in the south and al-Qaida, the Government is out-matched. Add to that its dwindling oil reserves, critical lack of water and horrendous prison system that just breeds more terrorists, and it's a certainty Yemen can't fix its problems on its own.

Saudi Arabia cleaned its country of al Qaida, but they didn't disappear, they just moved to Yemen because it was the easiest place to make a new start. They are co-opting the tribes people, offering them more than the Government offers, which makes them allies not enemies. That has to change.

And it's in Saudi Arabia's best interest to help because the newly reconstituted al Qaida Arab Peninsula (AQAP), has made it abundantly clear they are targets too. There was the August, 2009 "anal cavity" suicide bomber who tried to blow up the Prince in his presence. There was the October, 2009 shootout at the Saudi-Yemen border which killed Saudi guards and AQAP leader Said al-Shihri's brother in law, Yussef (another former Gitmo detainee) who was trying to smuggle 35 suicide vests into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a border. In addition to security issues, there's a host of economic reasons for the Saudis to assist in preserving stability in Yemen.

Some good reading: Gregory Johnson's Five Suggestions on What to Do in Yemen. He argues for a holistic approach over military strikes, the need for the Saudis to pitch in and changing the U.S. displomatic structure to allow the diplomats to stay in the country longer to build lasting relationships and make use of institutionalized knowledge. He even recommends allowing the diplomats to chew Qat with Yemenis:

This also means allowing US diplomats to go to qat chews in Yemen – and even, perish the thought, chew qat with Yemenis. The US should be honest about what qat is and what it does and not hide behind antiquated rules that penalize a version of the stimulant that does not exist in Yemen. Whether or not the US knows it, it is engaged in a propaganda war with al-Qaeda in Yemen and it is losing and losing badly. US public diplomacy is all defense and no offense in Yemen, this has to change or the results of the past few years will remain the roadmap for the future. And that future will witness an increasingly strong al-Qaeda presence in Yemen.

AQAP's goal is to further weaken an already ailing Yemeni government and turn it into a safe haven for itself and al-Qaida members who are being kicked out of other countries. Yemen's problems will extend far outside of Yemen if they aren't addressed globally now, and if the U.S. were to be myopic enough to focus more on counterrorism than on supplying significantly increased developmental aid.

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    Unless, you happen to be gay in Uganda (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 07:51:56 PM EST
    Let's not forgive or excuse the pious African Anglicans currently debating whether to execute gay folks. I mean, 'legally', as opposed to simply lynching them.

    At this point, the Christian bigots are not trying to blow-up airliners, but that doesn't mean they deserve a free pass.

    The links between the extreme right and Christian churches are historically strong and very deep.

    That's a very weak excuse (2.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:40:10 PM EST
    for your comments. In the first place it is a debate about something that we both know won't occur and the debate has already been decided in the Muslim radical world in favor of hanging.

    Plus we both know the issue is what is going in the US, England and Europe.

    I find it risible that you have to attack Christians to be able to admit that Muslim radicals are bad people.


    there are plenty of violent right wing extremists (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:50:21 PM EST
    who happen to be Christian. The murder of Dr. George Tiller is but a recent example. It's their view of their religion that fuels their anti-abortion mania.

    The OKC bombing, the Unabomber, the white supremacists, the Christian Identity and Christian Patriot groups, Eric Rudolph and the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing in 1996.

    In any event, the topic is Yemen.


    Risable? Is that like 'laughable' ? (none / 0) (#14)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 09:11:08 PM EST
    I'm not sorry to have offended you.

    I'm reporting what we did yesterday, what we say, and what we said. You're just going to have to find a way to live with that.

    Pandering to anti-gay homophobes across the ethnic spectrum is a staple of Dem politics, especially among the 'God squad'.

    That's one of the particular reasons I no longer jump too hard on Obama when he grovels before his 'conservative Christian' base. There are plenty of Dem bigots in other social and ethnic groups and and there's no good reason to single African American homophobes out.

    As long as there more blatant examples of social intolerance from the Republican right, any measure of Dem bigotry is tolerated. That's the 'golden' rule.

    As for the 'faithful', in many cases it seems more about the cash, the power, and frisson of forcing others to bend a knee.

    That's truly f#cked-up. Speaking only for myself.


    You say that we are all in this together. (2.00 / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 09:24:53 PM EST

    But if you mean that, just once say that the Muslim radicals are bad. Period. Leave Christians out because you and I know that comparing past actions to present actions is not logical and comparing the very, very, very few idiots that kill Doctors who perform abortions to the thousands of radical Muslims is like comparing a grass snake to a cobra. The former is not a threat to western culture or trying to kill as many non-believers as possible, many of them Muslims, as the radical Muslims.

    And I haven't the vaguest idea what your point was about Obama and homophobes.


    Christian groups are present actions (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 09:34:16 PM EST
    OTT hatred in training, hatred in practice, in history.

    There is so much Christian based hatred in this country, it is astonishing that we dare criticize any other religion.


    Cross-Cultural Assimilation (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 09:44:00 PM EST
    This is what I'm listening to and watching right now.

    The US is not a theocracy despite the best efforts of generations of Christians to make it so. That's a crucial distinction we ignore too often.

    Hope you enjoy the music!


    Time to Pray (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 07:22:28 PM EST
    No, really. Eighty people at a volleyball game in a town in Pakistan that got together to say 'no thanks' to enforced religious piety and tithing were blown-up yesterday by the 'extremists' in the region.

    A beautiful day yesterday in Tokyo meant my wife, her mother, our kids and I all trudged a kilometer or so along one of Tokyo's oldest canals to a local shrine. Folks were drinking sake, smoking cigarettes, joking, and exchanging new year's greetings. Each of us stepped up to the shrine, rang the bell, threw a coin, and offered our prayers. Locally-owned and operated, the family opened up some of the storage sheds so visitors could get a peak at the portable shrines, the ones that carried around. Ornate, made of wood, and painted in gold, black, and red each is an historical artifact unique to our community.

    My Japanese wife and I remarked on their beauty and on the fact the Christian and Islamic extremists would like nothing better than to smash them to bits and give all of us a good whipping for indulging in pagan idolatry.

    It's how they do. Time we all got a better understanding of just who these pricks are. Danish police just shot a Somali "extremist", one of three trying to celebrate New Year's by taking an axe to a cartoonist who 'offended' Muslims by drawing silly pictures of their icon.

    That's them: blowing up their own neighbors at a volleyball game, traveling half-way around the world to blow up a plane-load of ordinary holiday makers on Christmas day, breaking into an artist's home to chop him to bits.

    The father who went to the local authorities over his nutso son is a clear example many are sick to death of this crap. The muslims who organized in Pakistan to give the Taliban the boot and were blown up for showing the courage to rid their community of these pricks deserve our help and our respect.

    This problem isn't going to go away by itself.

    Name a Christian (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 07:29:39 PM EST
    extremist that wants to destroy these artifacts.

    Isn't the truth is that you cannot criticize the Muslim radicals without doing the PC thing and make up a fictitious charge about Christians?


    Actually, no (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 07:46:07 PM EST
    I was not doing the 'pc' thing. I was doing the historically accurate thing. Christians are famously intolerant of symbols and images they view as improper or offensive.

    That said, I agree very strongly that currently it is the professed devotees of one particular faith who seem disproportionately bent on using violence.

    I see no reason to excuse their behavior, not that you are.


    Actually what a Christian did in the past (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:36:04 PM EST
    has nothing to do with what is being done now.

    Now, if you want to profile Christians as violent and intolerant I assume you will join me in calling for a ban on air travel by all Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 40 based on say, actions by some in the past 20 years or so.

    Simpler, no Christians have flown airplanes into buildings and there are no organized Christian groups trying to take over the world.


    You dont need to take over (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:39:37 PM EST
    the world when you're the predominant religion in a country with 700+ military bases scattered around the world.

    Perfect militarism (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:41:07 PM EST
    casteth out all fear.

    Christians arent monolithic (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:37:10 PM EST
    and Muslims arent monolithic.

    Apparently you think they are, otherwise you wouldnt automatically assume that every "charge about Christians" was "fictitious".


    I was raised Catholic and been in a lot (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 07:46:25 PM EST
    of churches but I never felt more of a real spiritual peace than when walking around the temples and gardens in Kyoto. If I can have that New Year's Eve magic wand back I wish everyone could take a walk like your family did, with an open mind and heart.

    tis a fine, wonderful way to start the new year (none / 0) (#6)
    by kidneystones on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:01:08 PM EST
    Glad to hear you enjoyed Kyoto. We spent our honeymoon, there, and stayed at a temple near Arashiyama. I'll be in a protestant church next week to meet friends, but spend a lot of time in Catholic schools, churches and universities, too.

    I'm hoping that 2010 is a far better year than 2009. But that won't happen unless we wake up a little to the fact that, whatever folks may think of Republicans, Newt and Palin aren't the enemy.

    We're all in this together. And by us I mean those Pakistanis who got blown up for saying 'no' to the Taliban.


    What is happening to the Pakistanis (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 08:45:48 PM EST
    opposing the Taliban breaks my heart int he same way the stories out of Afghanistan did back in the 90's when the Taliban was taking control there. It takes real sick and evil minds, whatever faith they profess, to turn religion into such brutality. I don't have the answer - I tend to just get mad at all religion. I think that is why the temples spoke to me - I don't know much about Shintoism or Buddhism, but I did not sense any intolerance in those places. Does Japan have any history of religious warfare? I don't remember reading about any, but I will have to look that up....

    Talk about a Catch-22... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 07:52:35 AM EST
    If we don't give the Yemeni government aid, its good for terror recruiters.  And if we give the Yemeni govt. aid, the govt. gets labelled American stooge, and its good for terror recruiters.

    Not to mention how the aid money gets spent...if its all tyranny aid and no humanitarian aid that does more harm than good.

    The other Catch-22 (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:46:19 PM EST
    is trying to keep this country safe from attack while still having the worlds biggest chip on the world's biggest shoulder in the form of all those bases, "spheres of influence" and poorly defined, seemingly-ever-changing "interests" in every nook and cranny of the globe.

    Y'know, instead of examining the faith (none / 0) (#20)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Feb 02, 2011 at 08:34:37 AM EST
    of the population, why not look at the demographics?

    More than 40 percent of the population in Yemen is between 15 and 35.

    Yemen has NOT moved beyond Stage Two of demographic transition.

    Half of the population is under 15 years old. Corrupton, resource depletion, and a 45 percent unemployment rate.

    Yemen has a poor educational system-- less than half of high-school age children go to school. Predominantly males, out of that school attending population. only 30 percent of females.

    It's not about religion. It's about demographics, infrastructure, and limited resources. Overall literacy stands at about 50 percent.

    These are the issues, not religion.