Yemen – We Cannot Pull Out.
This will be a short note because looking at the Middle East map tells it all. There are two Straits leading to the Arabian Sea. One to the East of the Peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz. On one side the Gulf States, on the other Iran.
The other to the West, the Strait of Bab el Mandeb. On one side the Horn of Africa, on the Yemen. If Iran succeeds in Yemen, it will control both.
We all know who is backing Iran. Putin’s Russia. What is less clear is Russia’s influence in the Horn. In particular, Djibouti, which faces Bab el Mandeb, is a French and US ally. But Putin has been working that terrain after what is known as the Lost Decade under Yieltsin, with Turkey’s help in Somalia. For an extensive expose, http://risingpowersproject.com/quarterly/russias-renewed-interests-in-the-horn-of-africa-as-a-traditional-and-rising-power/.
So the geopolitical issue is simple. If Russia controls the Straits to the Arabian Sea, it gains access to the Indian Ocean, and from there to the rest of Eurasia. In the process, it will have encircled Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States – and Israel. It was about to succeed when Saudi Arabia went into Yemen, with Israel’s help, and now ours. This is when I stopped the clock in my book, and this is is the real reason we cannot pull out.
Now, what about the humanitarian disaster? As my Dad used to say, “If I know this, everybody does. But if I don’t tell you, who will?” Been there, done that. Darfour, Rwanda, Balkans, Syria, not in that order but all the same. Take Rwanda for example. It was Madeleine Albright, assisted by Susan Rice, who gave the stand-down order. Check it out. The point is this. The Powers To Be, those who can intervene, often do not, for ignominious political “reasons.” These are the ones that need to be called out by Congress. Of course, the fact that the conflict is in Africa, the land of eternal tribal wars, and backed by the Butcher of Grozny, adds a difficult dimension. Yet, this is what needs to be dealt with. Not the geopolitics.