Monday, March 23, 2015

What Are Our Yemen Brackets?

Yemen is looking butt ugly:

Yemen's top factions are squaring off for battle after months of skirmishes, turning respectively to neighboring Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran for help in what may become all-out war. ...

In a blow to U.S. counter-terrorism operations, Washington said on Saturday it had evacuated its remaining personnel, including about 100 special operations forces, because of the deteriorating security situation.

Now we're talking March madness.

Not that I blame the administration for Yemen. As I've said before, the place is pretty much always in civil war or on the verge of it breaking out.

What is disturbing is that President Obama knew so little of this place that he boasted about our effort there just 6 months ago as a model for action in Iraq.

The question is, what do we do now that it is an active problem? We don't want Iran to gain ground there (well, I won't speak to what the administration wants for its proto-partner, Iran) and we don't want jihadis to regain ground there.

UPDATE: More on Yemen (tip to Instapundit) where ISIL is attempting to up the body count even more.

Say, given that President Obama bizarrely blamed our overthrow of the evil dictator Saddam for ISIL's presence in Iraq, is our (once) model intervention in Yemen under this president the cause of ISIL's presence in Yemen?

UPDATE: Strategypage has more on the place.

And Austin Bay discusses our defeat there and withdrawal of our forces.

In theory, Iran can't afford to support all the allies that they have in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza, Bahrain, and now Yemen. But they are on a mission from God, as Strategypage would put it, and so figure something will turn up.

While I doubt the direct intervention of God will save Iran from over-extending themselves, the odds of President Obama saving Iran by agreeing to a bad nuclear deal that also significantly eases Iran's financial problems are way higher than I'd like.

UPDATE: Saudi Arabia--long extremely cautious about using its military power--has conducted airstrikes in Yemen out of fear of Iranian influence:

Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday after announcing a broad regional coalition to oust Shiite rebels that forced the country's embattled president to flee. Some of the strikes hit positions in the country's capital, Sanaa, and flattened a number of homes near the international airport.

The airstrikes, which had the support of nine other countries, drew a strong reaction from Iran which called the operation an "invasion" and a "dangerous step" that will worsen the crisis in the country.

In the meantime, the White House--where Baghdad Bob has apparently found a new job--insists that everything is just swell in Yemen:

A White House spokesman said American efforts in Yemen are a "template that has succeeded," even as President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the country by boat.

Just ... wow.

UPDATE: This is the latest front where Saudi Arabia is battling Iran for influence. I'm sure the Saudis are completely on board President Obama's Iran partnership project.