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Publish Date : Wednesday 7 September 2011 - 09:21
NATO dilemma at Sana'a-Damascus fork
By Mohiyeddin Sajedi
NATO dilemma at Sana
Islam Times - Most contend that NATO's next destination for military intervention is either Syria or Yemen.
Which of the two countries is more prone to be the object of NATO's next military intervention, given the interests of the Western countries and their regional allies such as Saudi Arabia?

NATO's air raid on Libya, with the suspicious permit of the United Nations Security Council, which had only, by the way, authorized the establishment of a no-fly zone over this country, has set a heretofore unparalleled precedent in the military meddling of this organization. NATO's commanders hope to make partial amends for their failure in Afghanistan.

Will there be a rerun of the military intervention narrative of NATO or other international forces after Libya? Most speak of Syria. Some of the Syrian demonstrators in the city of Homs have called for the establishment of a no-fly zone in their country. These people, it seems, are ignorant of the fact that a no-fly zone would only be established if the Syrian Army would resort to its air force to suppress the opposition; a measure which hasn't occurred as of yet and a move for which the Syrian commandership has yet to see any need.

Nonetheless, setting up a no-fly zone in Libya led to a wide-spread military intervention in Libya far exceeding the terms of the UN resolution and Special Forces from the US and some European and Arabic countries were deployed in this country. All the while, Russia and China were protesting against measures transcending the resolution.

Maybe the demonstrators in the city of Homs have been encouraged by this very extension of concept of a no-fly zone in Libya to demand a similar move in their own country; Abdul Halim Khaddam, though, is a savvy politician.

This fugitive vice president of Syria has appealed for international military support. He knows well what terminology to employ.

The military intervention of the West in Libya has whetted the appetite of some; plenty more, however, are concerned about the possibility of experiencing a story similar to the Libyan storyline in Syria. The skeptics cite the solidarity among the Syrian Army, the political record in this country, being five times more populated than Libya, being capable of fending off foreign aggression, and the impact of a civil war in Syria on the security of Israel as reasons to shore up their argument.

Is a repeat of the Libyan scenario viable in Yemen? The fall of Muammar Gaddafi has been a cause to further warm the hearts of the long-standing opposition of the Yemeni dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh. His reappearance on the TV screens - in programs which were recorded in his refuge in Saudi Arabia - has fuelled the agitation of the opposition, distressing them that the dictator might return to his country.

The possibility of a civil war in Yemen grows by the day. Even now, there are reports of heavy confrontation in the south of Yemen between the army and what the official propaganda services in Yemen dub as “members of the al-Qaeda.”

The US government shows extreme sensitivity and concern regarding the al-Qaeda organization. Some Yemeni pundits say that fear from al-Qaeda will impel Washington to persist with its support of the Sana'a dictator.

This hypothesis is further backed up when it comes to light that the military commander who conquered Tripoli is the same person whom the US had seized in Bangkok in 2004 on the charge of collaboration with al-Qaeda and dispatched to Gaddafi so that the dictator may force confessions out of him under torture and imprison him for five years.

The army in Yemen, like Libya, is divided and some of the army commanders, including the half-brother of Ali Abdullah Saleh, have sided with the opposition.

Furthermore, the Yemeni people are armed; firearms and machine guns are a staple of almost every home in Libya. Armed individuals have landed in Sana'a to defend their revolution so that by resorting to every possible means they would obstruct the return of the maimed Yemeni president.

Yemen, unlike Libya enjoys no considerable amount of oil reserves and dire poverty in this country impedes the rapid economical development in this country. Arabic governments lack motivation for interference in Yemen. The US ambassador, unlike the early days of the Yemen uprising, shows no particular movement. And the European Union has always followed the lead of the US in the Middle East affairs.

Notwithstanding, revolt in Yemen and the possibility of the outbreak of a civil war in it will impact security in Saudi Arabia; a land pregnant with vast underground oil reserves, turning the Saudis into the biggest producer and exporter of oil in the world.

Policy-wise, the US and the West are still provoking Ali Abdullah Saleh to embrace the proposal of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council for the resolution of the crisis and the transition of power. The Yemeni presidency, with his ambiguous positions, has yet to sign this proposal and insists on transmitting power through parliamentarian and presidential elections.

Many believe the Western governments have stepped into Libya with a prior design, yet many others say that NATO was dragged into this war. Uncovered evidence show that Gaddafi had cooperated extensively with Western intelligence and espionage services, CIA in particular. His political relations with the West were rapidly improving. Libya's light oil was reaching the shores of Europe and oil giants had complete confidence in their Libyan investments.

Had there been no Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, the people of Benghazi wouldn't have taken to the streets so that NATO - in a complex process - would be forced to support them against the advance of the Gaddafi Army on this city.

Civil war or the possibility thereof in Yemen and the endangerment of the security of the oil wells in the Persian Gulf can also leave the Western governments with no other option but to intervene in Yemen and turn the spotlight on Sana'a in Damascus's stead.
Story Code: 97072