February 5, 2012

Yemen’s Netwar On Broadway

Fresh off the success of Thursday’s press briefing, the Yemeni-American Coalition for Change (YACC) struck again on Sunday as they rallied outside Central Park’s Ritz Carlton hotel. YACC is currently leading the street campaign in an effort to draw awareness to Ali Abdullah Saleh’s presence in New York City. The Yemeni strongman’s arrival went announced by the Obama administration (aside from a premature clarification that he remains president), and few media outlets have mentioned his stay over the past week.

Keeping in mind the relativity generated from Yemen’s blackout, Thursday’s protests took the coverage from zero to two, with the AP dispatching a brief report and The New York Times devoting a blog post to YACC. These reports are now multiplying again; sequential protests increased media coverage by upping the tempo of political activism and creating an inventory of events to reference. YACC’s persistent actions also yielded the best case scenario on Sunday: an antagonistic sighting of Saleh. He would emerge later in the day on Central Park South, wave at the protesters and blow a kiss in their direction, infuriating protesters to the point that one unsuccessfully rushed him.

Saleh is rumored to be receiving treatment from a June assassination attempt at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. This information, though “unconfirmed,” may be as true as Saleh’s room at the Ritz.

YACC already intends to keep organizing until Saleh exits New York - a march from the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn to New York City Hall is scheduled for next Friday - but protesters are now sensing political blood. Saleh’s sighting added provocation to the demonstrations and ensnared him in their ambush, ultimately increasing the demand for a U.S. response. The Obama administration is liable to rehash previous statements in support of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) power-sharing deal, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton briefly alluded to on Saturday. The White House might even ignore Yemeni demonstrations as it has throughout the revolution.

At the same time, any rise in political pressure and awareness can deliver unpredictable benefits, and the White House won't comment unless forced to. Non-violent fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is no different from militarized asymmetry: both require ceaseless operations and ambushes to confuse and divide a superior opponent.

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