October 22, 2011
Exposing Yemen’s UN Resolution 2014
The international farce that is United Nations resolution 2014 warrants attention beyond Yemen’s individual sphere. By passing its motion, the UN Security Council’s veto-wielding members reaffirmed a long-standing tradition of the strong preying upon the weak. Unified in protecting Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime from the secrets his collapse would expose, superpowers are attempting to force their own “transition” on Yemen’s people, quarantining them while simultaneously claiming to represent them.
This breach in the ideals of international law will be examined within the wider context of 21st century multilateralism. For now the ongoing evidence of this international crime must collected and preserved.
Obama stays off Yemen’s radar
Stacked on the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) unpopular initiative, fresh U.S. statements indicate that the Obama administration will ride Saleh’s regime to its inglorious end, attempt to hijack the transition afterward and falsely support Yemen’s revolutionaries. “The United States stands with the Yemeni people,” the White House declared, aware of but refusing to acknowledge Tawakel Karman’s doubts. U.S. statements are largely copied and pasted from previously shallow statements, demonstrating how little the administration has responded to Yemen’s vast changes, including the mounting dead and wounded.
Both U.S. strategy and rhetoric is perceived as ignorant by the majority of Yemen’s revolutionaries - or worse, outright hostile.
Even more transparent, though, is President Barack Obama’s refusal to take ownership of UN resolution 2014 and the GCC’s initiative. While U.S. officials brokered the initiative, maintained its life-support as Saleh and Yemen’s protesters resisted, and finally organized the UN’s resolution behind EU cover, Obama himself has remained absent throughout the revolution. His personal involvement is minimal, geared towards green-lighting drone strikes and staying out of Yemen’s political sphere. A lack of personal diplomacy has wrecked havoc on the direction of U.S. policy, which remains in strict possession of the Pentagon and CIA.
Obama is so confident of the GCC’s initiative that he hasn’t gone anywhere near it, whether in May or on Friday. Instead the White House released a statement from press secretary Jay Carney; the State Department’s Mark Toner released a near identical statement with Secretary Hillary Clinton inactive on Yemen’s front. Yet Toner adds a ridiculous demand that “the Government of Yemen” investigate its own crimes and hold itself accountable - because Saleh is a rigorous self-policeman.
Neither spokesman attempted to clarify the status of the GCC’s immunity clause.
The only clarity within U.S. policy is a willingness to manipulate Yemen’s revolution, and black it out whenever possible. That UN resolution 2014 was passed on Friday afternoon is no coincidence, but the latest attempt to suppress Yemen’s revolution. Meanwhile the White House shoved the resolution aside by announcing the formal withdrawal from Iraq, capitalizing on Muammar Gaddafi’s death. Yemen, as usual, fell to the last priority. During an extensive briefing on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and other foreign policy areas, several national security officials were asked directly about the hypocrisy between Libya and Yemen - to “knit this together on the Obama doctrine.”
Denis McDonough, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, never addresses Yemen’s revolution: “I think as you’ve watched over the last couple years, he’s not been bound up by a particular ideology, but rather bound up specifically by his interest in making sure that we neutralize the threats.”
Saleh feeds on U.S. strength, weakness
The international community's weak response, from the Obama administration's duplicity to Russian interference to the UNSC’s corrupt resolution, forms part of Saleh’s green light to continue his crackdown. Encouraged that he can retaliate without consequence, the strongman naturally agreed to the UN’s resolution after previously denouncing it. One government source told Saba state media, "The resolution conforms with the government's efforts to end the political crisis according to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative.”
What’s good for a government under threat of revolution is generally unfavorable to the revolutionaries.
This official added that Saleh’s General People Congress (GPC), which stands to participate in a UN-approved “transitional council,” is ready to “carry on dialogue immediately with the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) to put an end to the crisis in a way that maintains Yemen's unity and stability and achieve a peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power.” The phrase “constitutional transfer of power,” however, is used by Saleh to stall until an election is held; he demands more time than the GCC’s 30-day grace period.
Today, unlike most other days, the JMP’s officials aren’t al-Qaeda-affiliated “bandits” looking to seize power through a coup. Saleh must be too busy attacking the homes of Hashid tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar, the second assault this week. Explosions and gunfire were reported in al-Ahmar’s Hassaba district soon after the UNSC’s vote and continued throughout the night. A military base belonging to defected general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar also came under attack by Saleh’s security forces and loyalists. These forces similarly clashed with protesters and oppositional forces in Ta'izz, the secondary epicenter of Yemen’s revolution.
Assaulting the al-Ahmars and Ali Mohsen is a transparent attempt to provoke an urban battle, which Saleh plans to exploit by pinning the GCC’s collapse on the JMP. This outcome was predicted on Wednesday and, true to form, Saleh’s presidential office just denied responsibility for Saturday’s attacks.
"Such baseless remarks by defected general Ali Mohsen and his outlawed allies of the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) aimed to cover up their pathetic intentions to escalate the situation and push the country into a comprehensive civil war... The ongoing pathetic attempts by those outlaws through shelling the residential neighborhoods in Sanaa and other cities as well as the indiscriminately murdering of citizens confirm their evil intentions.”
Positioning Saleh as Yemen’s responsible actor towards the GCC’s initiative, the statement boasted that his regime “will not be dragged into such attempts and will not give up the options of peace and dialogue.” In stamping the GCC’s initiative with UN approval, the Obama administration returned Yemen’s ball not into the GCC’s court, but into the realm of a delusional tyrant.