Friday, April 24, 2015

Yemen and American Ignorance of the Middle East

The other night I was listening to a national news broadcast when a reporter made a mistake in her reporting on  Yemen. She mentioned Iranian ships had been sent to the Persian Gulf and a possible confrontation with American ships was developing. "Iran," said the reporter, "sent the ships to support the rebels in Yemen, a hot-bed for Al-Qaida terrorism."

It was obvious the reporter believed Iran sent ships and troops to support al-Qaida in Yemen. Little did she know that Iran is about the only country in the Middle East, other than Syria, who is fighting al-Qaida. Al-Qaida is Sunni Muslim. Iran is Shia Muslim. Read previous my previous post for background in the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

No terrorist group has killed more Americans than Sunni al-Qaida. They brought down the Twin Towers in New York. They've kidnapped, maimed, and killed more Americans around the world than any other terrorist group. Yet--now get this--some Sunni terrorists believe al-Qaida is too soft toward America. Americans know these harder-line Sunni terrorists as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria); or IS (Islamic State); or--as President Obama prefers to call them--ISIL.

Now here is the important question Americans should be asking: Which country is most fiercely fighting America's enemies known as al-Qaida and ISIS in the Middle East?

Is it Saudi Arabia? The Gulf Arab states (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, etc...)? Does our NATO ally Turkey lead out in the fight against ISIS? No. Not even close. In fact, all these  Sunni countries have aided ISIS in its attempt to pull down Assad's Shia government in Syria. Sunni-led Muslim countries in the Middle East have been dragging their feet in helping America fight al-Qaida and ISIS for years.

Yet there are some people (and countries) in the Middle East who are fighting ISIS toe-to-toe.

The rebels in Yemen are an example. They are the Shias and the press calls them Houthis. These rebels in Yemen successfully pulled down the Sunni government of Yemen on January 22, 2015 - just three months ago. The Shias of Yemen are sick and tired of ISIS brutality. ISIS blew up two of the most revered Shia mosques in Yemen, killing 135 Shia Muslims and wounding nearly 400 others. The Houthis are fighting ISIS. Iran was moving its ships to the Persian Gulf to support the Houthis in this fight. So, contrary to what the reporter was saying on national television, the Iranians were in the Persian Gulf to fight ISIS, not to support ISIS.

There are at least five other groups of people or countries fighting ISIS toe-to-toe as well - the Kurds of northern Iraq (who may soon become an independent country), Baghdad's Shia-led government, Iran, Syria, and Russia. But right now, the rebels in Yemen are in the middle of the biggest fight with ISIS.
What is happening in the country of Yemen illustrates American confusion and ignorance of the Middle East. In an outstanding article today by Pat Buchanan, he asks the question Why Is Yemen Our War? Buchannan points out that since the fall of Yemen to Houthi rebels on January 22, 2015, Saudi Arabia--with the aid of America--has attacked Yemen with 1,000 bombing missions. Read Buchannan's penetrating questions:
"What did the Houthis ever do to us? The Houthis' main enemy, AQAP (Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula), is America's worst enemy. Why are we then making ourselves de facto allies of al-Qaida?
Excellent questions, Pat.

For a moment, jump forward several weeks or months in your imagination and think what it might be like in the Middle East if the Saudis defeat the Shia rebels in Yemen. What's next? According to reports from Saudi Arabia, the Saudis are ecstatic with the victories of the Saudi Air Force in Yemen. The Saudis may wish to help the ISIS rebels in Syria as well.

Ask the question how Iran, Iraq, and Russia might respond to a Saudi-led war to overthrow their long-time ally in Syria? Ask yourself what happens in Syria if Bashar Assad and his Shia government falls? Who comes to power?


The Middle East is messed up.


randy judd said...

Very interesting. If all this is true ( and I don't have enough knowledge on the subject to know one way or the other probably as you said, like most Americans.) We are fed for the most part by a media that seems to be devoid of a passion for truth. And we as a general populace don't really hold the media accountable for their inaccuracy's. So as a result we come either to no conclusions or a biased one.
But I started out to say where are all of our leaders. Are they speaking up? Or even worse why are they not speaking up. It seems to me that this subject would be of vital interest to all Americans.

Christiane said...

Out of curiosity, what media network hosted the errant newscaster?

Wade Burleson said...

ABC, Christiane.

Anonymous said...

GREAT POSTS, WADE! I'll follow up with the additional links you propose giving further insights into the differences between the Shias and Sunnis. One thing's for sure, we sure don't want them united!

Bob Cleveland said...

At age 76, I observe that this is a GREAT time to be old.

Excellent article.

Rex Ray said...

When Obama married, his best man was his half brother, Malik Obama.

Malik was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rex Ray said...

Is it true that Muslims believe that it’s NOT a sin to lie to infidels?

That might explain "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it"

G. Casey said...

Great post and observations on this....I have been having these same questions myself.