CENTCOM on Yemen

Over the last couple days, I’ve been thinking and writing about Somalia and the increasingly murky piracy problem in the region. I’m of the opinion that a U.S./EU/NATO/”Coalition” airbase right in the immediate area would or could be a major boon to the counter-piracy efforts, by enabling the effective use of fixed-wing aviation assets as well as additional helicopters in both strategic and tactical roles. As interesting as the idea is, I can’t really see any politicos being in favor of politically dividing Somalia, even if it did mean the West would get to build an airfield in the northern part, Somaliland.

But, I got to thinking, why not Yemen? If you think about it, they’re an even more logical choice than Somaliland, as most of the pirate attacks happen right off their coast. Well, not working for the State Department, I’m unfamiliar with the current state of relations between Yemen and the United States, so I thought I’d go traipsing through the tubes on the interweb and see what I could dig up. It wasn’t too encouraging, but it is kind of funny…

In a nutshell, I get the impression that Yemen isn’t exactly America’s Number One Ally in the region, and prefers it that way. I also get the impression that, shall we say, the feeling is fairly mutual.

A lot of people don’t realize it, but Yemen is technically within the “Area of Responsibility”, or AOR, for U.S. Central Command:

How much does CENTCOM care about Yemen? Well… their posture page on the country never mentions Yemen, not even once, and the Yemen’s role in the War on Terror reads like… honestly, words escape me:

At the bottom of all that incoherent gobbledygook are the words “basing and overflight permissions”, and while details of just what we’ve “based” there over the years are pretty sketchy, I don’t get the impression that they’d be too keen on us putting a few dozen aircraft in their country indefinitely. You’d think that, as the only republic on the Arabian peninsula, the U.S. might have worked a little harder to develop close ties with the country, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. I suspect their out-of-the-way location, relative to “hotspots” like Iraq and Afghanistan, or potential hotspots like Iran, has made them a really, really low-priority “ally”.

Ah, well. Just another short-sighted policy decision coming back to bite everyone in the buttocks. Nothing new there…

But, seriously, CENTCOM, what’s with the horrible website? Obviously nobody gives a rat’s wahooey, but shouldn’t you guys sort of be pretending otherwise? Aren’t civility and polite lies what diplomacy is all about?

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Security | on February 10th, 2009| Comments Off on CENTCOM on Yemen

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