Quick News Update
The biggest news coming out of yesterday was the accusation by the Huthis that the US was involved in air raids which killed up to 120 people.
“The savage crime committed by the U.S. air force shows the real face of the United States,” said the northern rebels, who often report attacks by the Yemeni and Saudi fighter planes, on their website. There was no immediate report of U.S. comment on the alleged incident.
I am going to very, very cautiously (hopefully?) doubt that this was US involvement. While we here do not doubt the possibility of Predator strikes against AQAP targets, it would be insane and exceedingly counter-productive for the US to entangle itself in the northern rebellion, especially in such an indiscriminate manner. It is good propaganda tactic by the Huthi leadership to paint a deeper, clearer, more Goya-esque picture of a US/Saudi/Salih relationship. That relationship exists, of course, but it is more nuanced and fraught (or confused and fragile, if you want). Support by the US for the battle against AQAP doesn’t translate to aid and support for everything Salih does. This is speculation, and might not be correct, but I would be very disturbed if the bombing is confirmed.
That is either nuanced analysis or weaselly bet-hedging. Your call.
In other news, it looks as if the Gulf states are finally realizing the effect the collapse of a state on their peninsula might have on them. After a statement of support, Abu Dhabi has pledged approximately $650 million in sustainable development aid.
There is a whole list of projects, which look pretty good to me. They will be managed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, presumably in order to bypass corruption and its attendant waste.
Commenting on this initiative, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah said: “The grant reflects our commitment to the sustainable development of Yemen, in line with our outlook of driving growth, both at the regional and global levels. The support contributes to ensuring the long-run stability of the diverse communities in the region, which is interlinked to socio-economic prosperity.”
In other words: please don’t collapse.
UPDATE See Greg’s post below for an explanation of US involvement in the north, stemming from a comment by David Petreaus.