June 13, 2011
Yemenis continue to wage protests, calling for the establishment of a transitional council to enable the handover of power to the people.
Middle East consultant Peter Eyre in London sheds further light on the development in a Press TV interview, the transcription of which follows:
Press TV: What is your take on what exactly is going on in Yemen? Tell me what you think right now [about] the role of Saudi Arabia and the United States is playing while this power play is going on?
Peter Eyre: Well, it is quite obvious that they are buying for time because they want to get a government in that is user-friendly to America. Obviously the people out on the street want change like most of the Middle East countries do at the moment and we see this domino effect all around the trouble areas where they are demanding change and if democracy prevails then obviously a transitional government should be implemented as soon as possible.
[A] Three-month timescale should be the maximum because these people are going to keep taking into the streets until they get their way. That is what democracy is all about. And one has to ask the question how serious is the illness with Saleh because a week ago he was fine and was going to return in a couple of days, [but] over the last few days he has been critical, and no one seems to know... if America wants him out and Saudi [Arabia] wants him out, then keep him there, why send him back at all?
Press TV: Peter, at this point in time, in Yemen itself, we have various reports saying that basically now Saleh's son, Ali Ahmad, has taken over and [is] really not allowing the vice president even in the presidential palace. How likely is it that even amongst those who say that they are for the government, there could be even another split from within?
Peter Eyre: I think the issue here is that if the son is in a position to take over his father's role as an interim or whatever, you have still got the US controlling the military and whoever who has got the control of the military in the chaos that is there at the moment obviously has the control of the country.
Regarding the American intervention, we have to understand that, quite a few times, Saudis already crossed [and launched] the incursions into the country and have suffered the consequences of that, because they really don't have the man power to take on the situation that is on hand there; and the last incident when the Saudi air force did participate in carrying out incursions into northern Yemen so were the American air force. There were extensive military strikes by the US into that area and now of course it looks like the drones are coming in on the scene and this to me will just aggravate the situation.
I would like to make one correction here [about something] which I totally disagree with. ...What I would like to say is that there is no threat from al-Qaeda. It is quite debatable if al-Qaeda actually exists. I think it is just a legal pseudonym that was attached to militant groups around the world by the US to make things more legal.
There is no threat -- from the Western aspect -- of al-Qaeda. Please understand this. I think we have had more false flag incidents in the West that are self-inflicted rather than from Islamic countries.
Press TV: With what you were just saying, if there is no al-Qaeda, as you were saying there, then what exactly is going on?
Peter Eyre: Well, before the al-Qaeda topic came onto the debate which is only in more recent times, the actual incursions across the border were assaults of a Shiite breakaway group, and Saudi [Arabia] was very concerned, as they are in Bahrain -- you know the Shiites are the majority in Bahrain and there is a distinct suppression there that they do not want the Shiites to come into power.
In the Saudi case, they did not want Shiites extending into their territory on the border with Yemen and so that was the conflict, and when they did carry out the incursions, it was not against this pseudonym al-Qaeda. It was against breakaway elements and as you would have seen around the world, minority groups generally become the victim of the greater party, and that was the case in northern Yemen. Suddenly, this breakaway group has been given the tag of al-Qaeda. I really sincerely believe that al-Qaeda does not exist and it never existed.
Press TV: Peter, what is your take on, at this point in time, the perspective of the United States? Do you think that they have realized that for sure Saleh is out and, if they have what do you perceive they want next? Do you have any names of any individuals or any groups that would be more likely to continue on the same line as Saleh?
Peter Eyre: Well, just before we continue on that topic, let's just reflect back on Egypt, because Egypt was discussed just now. Basically, Mubarak was a US puppet, and slowly the people in the streets took over and obviously demanded change and when that takes over at such a phenomenal rate that has happened in Cairo, obviously the government has to listen to this and then America sees that the cards are turning against them, then it denounces Mubarak, the very person that they supported and they pumped all the money in [for]. As Saleh was an American creation; ... and they put a lot of money into Yemen.
But I have to emphasize that money cannot buy democracy. There is an underlying tone here and this has never been discussed. America has always wanted a base in Yemen. Socotra Island, which is on the horn of Africa, is vital to the Americans to set up as a base. They have always wanted it and before the Americans, it was the British protectorate. I myself was based in Aden. It was a British protectorate that the West has always wanted, -- and for one very good reason, because it is a gateway to trade [allowing] all the traffic through the Suez to Europe, to the UK and to America.
That is vital and if they can control that, if they can turn its traffic on and turn it off, if there is any dispute for instance with Iran, they just stop the Iranian ships from going through there. This is a critical, strategic base that they need and it should never be allowed. This is part of the geo-political war that is going on at the moment.
Press TV: So you are telling me that a lot of this that is going on is related to the United States wanting control over that area?
Peter Eyre: For sure, absolutely, one hundred percent; If you look at the geo-political plan, the Gulf of Aden has always been a critical gateway that they wished to control, and for as far back as I can remember, [since] when we [the British] pulled out, the Americans have always expressed an interest there. And I think there is an undertone here that is not being revealed.