UK to follow US intervention in Yemen
Press TV – January 3, 2010
The British premier’s office says that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama have agreed to fight what they call terrorism in Yemen and Somalia.
The UK and the US have agreed to fund a counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen to tackle what they deem the rising threat from the country.
The US has been involved in war in Yemen by sending its special forces to train the Yemeni military and conducting air raids in both northern and southern parts of the Middle Eastern country.
On December 18, ABC News quoted anonymous administration officials as saying that US Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama ordered the US military to launch air strikes on Yemen.
Upon Obama’s orders, the military warplanes on December 17 blanketed two camps north of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, claiming that “an imminent attack against a US asset was being planned.” The attacks killed scores of civilians, according to Yemeni opposition groups.
Fighting in the north
US military intervention in Yemen comes at a time that the country’s army with full support from Saudi Arabia has been fighting with Shia Houthi fighters in northern parts of the country.
Houthi fighters say both Saudi and US fighter jets have been involved in bombing Shia villages, inflicting heavy civilian casualties. Earlier, the fighters had expressed full readiness for dialogue with the Yemeni government.
The Houthis say they will turn to talks if the Yemeni and Saudi military halt their attacks against them.
The conflict in northern Yemen began in 2004 between Sana’a and Houthi fighters. Relative peace had returned to the region for a period before August 11, when the Yemeni army launched a major offensive, dubbed Operation Scorched Earth, against Sa’ada Province.
The government claims that the fighters, who are named after their leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, seek to restore the Shia imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962 military coup.
The Houthis, however, say they are defending their people’s civil rights, which the government has undermined under pressure from Saudi-backed Wahhabi extremists. Shias, who form the clear majority in the north, make up approximately half of Yemen’s overall population.
The United Nations, which according to its charter is set up “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace,” has failed to adopt any concrete measures to help end the bloody war.
US war on terror
The latest alleged front against al-Qaeda in Yemen is opened more than eight years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan which was said to be aimed at eradicating militancy and the arrest of main militant leaders including Osama Bin Laden.
According to UN figures, Afghan civilians have been the main victims of the controversial war.