Sunday, January 10, 2010
Jan 9, 2010
A year ago, Saleh foung a group of Islamists linked to the Israeli intelligence forces. General David Petraeus, dropped in on Saturday. Obama
assuring step up intelligence-sharing and training and joint attacks against militants. The intervention in Yemen is America's answer to China's surge.
Uncle Sam is "marking territory". The US is also moving into Somalia and Kenya
in an entire unbroken stretch of real estate all along the Indian Ocean's western rim. US has now foreclosed China's options. The coastline that is available for China to set up a naval base in the region will be Iran
Obama's main core objective will be to establish an enduring military presence
This serves many purposes.
A new great game begins
First, the US move has to be viewed against the historic backdrop of the Shi'ite awakening in the region (mostly of the Zaidi group). They could be anywhere up to 45%, in the northern part of the country, they constitute the majority. The Believing Youth Organization led by Hussein Badr al-Houthi
is modeled after Hezbollah in Lebanon in all respects - politically, economically, socially and culturally. Next-door Oman, which is a key American base, is predominantly Shi'ite. The idea of Shi'ite empowerment spreading to Saudi Arabia's highly restive Shi'ite regions adjoining Yemen is a problem. There is a new generation is set to take over the leadership in Riyadh. There is a vast scale of institutionalized Shi'ite persecution in Saudi Arabia by the Wahhabi establishment. Riyadh is petrified as the recent
resort to military power against the north Yemeni Shi'ite testifies
US faces a classic dilemma. Obama highlight the need of reform
in his Cairo speech but democratization in the Yemeni context would involve Shi'ite empowerment. The US would rather be with the repressive, autocratic government of Saleh than let the genie of reform out of the bottle.
The paradox: Iran happens to be the only "democratic" system operating in that entire region. Iran's shadow over the Yemeni Shi'ite worries the US
Obama, Conceivably, isn't finding it easy. If his own memoirs are to be believed vague recollections of his childhood in Indonesia and his precious memories of his own mother, a free-wheeling intellectual and humanist, must be stalking him
Israel moves in
With Yemen, the US has tightened the cordon around Iran. Yemen could be put to use as a springboard by the Israelis. It is a cakewalk for the formidable Israeli intelligence to carve out a niche in Yemen. Islamism doesn't deter Israel at all. Yemeni Islamists are a fragmented lot. Israeli intelligence operates in such twilight zones. Israel has always been handicapped by its lack of access to the Persian Gulf region. The overarching US military presence helps Israel politically to consolidate its Yemeni chapter. Petraeus is moving on Yemen in tandem with Israel, "pro-West" Arab states remain as mute spectators. Israeli is a safer bet than the spread of Shi'ite empowerment
out of Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. Israeli will infiltrate extremist Sunni outfits known as affiliates of al-Qaeda. Infinite possibilities exist
It's all about China
Most important the port of Aden the gateway to Asia. Control of Aden and the Malacca Strait. the US in the "great game" of the Indian Ocean. The sea lanes
the jugular veins of China's economy. India is a natural ally of the US Both disfavor Chinese naval presence. India to roll back Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. US has taken a u-turn in its Myanmar policy. US is unhappy with China's efforts to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf through the Central Asian region and Pakistan. Washington is tightening the noose. Pakistani elites will make a strategic choice between the US and China. The existential questions, will Obama, building up India as the pre-eminent power
Delhi is concluding that he is a clone of his predecessor, containment of China is a core template. Delhi takes the surge of the Israeli lobby as the litmus test. the Jewish lobby was always a helpful ally. India-Israel security relationship is gaining greater momentum. a massive avenue of military cooperation is about to open and will make India a serious challenger to China's growing military prowess. a cozy three-way US-Israel-India alliance provides the underpinning for all the maneuvering that is going on.
terrorism experts are missing when they analyze Yemen in terms of hunting down al-Qaeda. Obama's presidency is like driving a train rather than a car
it must run on its tracks. There is no instances of a declining world power meekly accepting its destiny and walking into the sunset. The US cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight. And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piece-meal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.