A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yemen Forces Itself Back Into World's Consciousness

At least 50 demonstrators have died in violent clashes in Yemen in just two days. Though Yemen has been at a boil for months, the Libyan civil war, transition issues in Egypt, international pressures on Syria, and preoccupation with the Palestinian issue at the United Nations have competed for attention in a news cycle with limited interest int he Middle East, and generally won. Now Yemen is forcing itself back into the forefront.

Al Jazeera English on the latest violence here,and their live blog onYemen here. Marc Lynch on "The Costs of Ignoring Yemen," at Foreign Policy. A similar warning here, and a sounding-the-alarm statement from Amnesty International here.

Or take a look at the ongoing tweets from Freelance Journalist Tom Finn in Yemen.

Salih's on-again, off-again game playing with the GCC transition plan has played the GCC for the better part of the year now. Yet many of the press reports make it sound as if it's still likely to happen. Nothing about the regime forces' behavior in Sana‘a in the past couple of days suggests that.a transition is imminent. The world has been far more reactive to brutal repression in Libya and Syria. A cynic would suggest that Libya's oil and Syria's geopolitical position between Israel and Iran are the reason we aren't paying more attention to Yemen. But as the links above and others are increasingly echoing, Yemen is desccending into a bloody chaos from which no good will come. Even if it is only the presence of Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula that caputres the world's attention, it's time to pay attention to Yemen again.

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