Sunday, April 24, 2011

'Yemen is a good bad guy for US'

Apr 24, 2011

Press TV has conducted an interview with Stewart Stogel with the Newsmax Magazine to elaborate on the issue.

Press TV: Over the past month the US has condemned four times, a government for its repression of peaceful protesters demanding democracy, and none of the times was it Yemen that was facing any criticism. Why is that so?

Stewart Stogel: Because Yemen is a strategic ally of the United States on a whole host of areas. They're strategically located on the [Persian] Gulf. Let's look at it this way, Madeleine Albright told me this when she was US Secretary of State, that there are good bad guys and bad bad guys. And Yemen as far as the United States is concerned is a good bad guy.

Press TV: So what kind of a repercussion does this hold for the stalemate we're seeing in Yemen, considering any amount on international pressure would tip the balances, now wouldn't it?

Stewart Stogel: You would think, but to be honest with you the US has become so pre-occupied with Libya and now all of a sudden with Iraq, that Yemen, as far as the US State Department is concerned has been temporarily put on hold.

Press TV: Mr. Stogel, a lot is riding on Yemen. Let's not forget the friends of Yemen, as the West took over the responsibility to help build Yemen economically and politically speaking. Also the Americans have invested interests with regards to the so-called al-Qaeda in the country. Can the Americans afford to put Yemen on hold with events unfolding the way they are?

Stewart Stogel: No they can't but the Obama administration has come under increasing attacks from various quarters, about the lack of proper foreign policy. They seem to be drifting from one crisis to another. So I totally agree that dealing with the Yemeni issue doesn't seem to be on America's front burner. The Americans are trying to put Yemen off for several more weeks, while they try to tend to more important issues.

One of the important issues regarding the White House is the rapid growth of gasoline prices in the US. In the last month or month in a half, you may have seen gasoline prices rise more than one dollar a gallon bringing the average in the US to over four dollars, and that seems to have taken the US administration by surprise. So believe it or not, the Obama administration seems to be going from one crisis to another and Yemen may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel's back if they ignore the events too much longer.

Press TV: So what kind of a path do you see the Americans taking in regards to Yemen?

Stewart Stogel: Well, my guess is that behind the scenes the Americans are putting a lot of weight on Saudi Arabia. It seems to me that the Americans are going to try and put this mess in the Saudis' lap, backing their moves. Now, where the Saudis will stand on President Saleh and his “retirement from office” is really unclear, but I really think that at this particular point the Obama administration is letting Riyadh hold a shot in so far the day to day policy in Yemen.

Press TV: So can Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, as a whole be honest brokers considering what we are seeing happening in Bahrain right now and the brutal repression of the protesters at the hands of Saudi-backed regime forces?

Stewart Stogel: The term 'honest broker' means a lot of things to a lot of people. What the Americans may consider to be honest brokers, other countries in the [Persian] Gulf region may not. But I think right now, the Saudis in cooperation with the PGCC are really calling the shots in what's transpiring in the immediate future of Yemen. I think that Saleh is not convinced of what his future will be if he were to leave office. Surely he has seen what has happened to Mubarak. So, I think the Mubarak situation, a possible court trial is hanging over President Saleh's position and I think that is going to result in a continued stalemate.

Press TV: With the way things are headed in Yemen and with the people's popular cry for democracy, does that scenario look possible in which a democratically elected government is going to come in place and so uphold American interests in the region?

Stewart Stogel: Well, let's remember one thing. A few years ago there were democratic elections in Gaza, with the American supporting it until Hamas won the election, so it happened there. So I'm not even sure that the Americans having been burned once by advocating free elections in the Middle East are going to push strongly for new set elections, especially in Yemen, being the result may be exactly what the Americans fear.

So again, you have the administration in Washington who really does not know where it wants to go at this point. However, they're going to have to make a move soon because the American then may see advances going beyond their control, and moving fairly quickly. My guess is going to be that they have another month, maybe two at the most, before they decide what they want to do with the Yemeni president.

Press TV: Well, Obama is started his re-election campaign and 2012 is not really far away. His cabinet's indecisiveness with regards to these uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, how much of that is going to play on the voters mind, do you think?

Stewart Stogel: I think there are two major factor that will determine Obama's re-election. Stabilization in the Middle East, I do not believe that these continuing mini-wars going on can continue indefinitely. It will kill the oil market. American consumers vote their pocket books, and when an American family ends up spends more than a thousand dollars more on their automobiles this year than last year, they've got to take that money from somewhere, which is usually vacation money or food money. It seems to me that Obama's re-election depends greatly on whether the current economic and political situation continues onto 2012.

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