‘Al-Qaeda manipulated the US into putting sanctions on Yemen’

The US is moving to place sanctions on anyone who opposes what Washington calls a democratic process in Yemen. Anti-war activist Susan Lindauer says this brings the US right into Al-Qaeda’s trap.

­Yemen is fighting an alleged Al-Qaeda insurgency with military support from the United States. On top of this, the Arab state continues to suffer from months of political unrest, with anti-government protesters demanding more reforms.

RT: Do members of the peaceful opposition in Yemen fall under these new US sanctions?

Susan Lindauer: Bad news for Barack Obama – the United States has played right into the hands of Al-Qaeda. It’s been a long-term ambition of Al-Qaeda to manipulate the United States into putting sanctions on Yemen, so that they can alienate the very impoverished Yemeni people from the central government. Yemen is a scrabble poor country, desperately poor. They are running out of water, they have no food, they have limited hospitals, limited educational opportunities.

Yemen sits right next toward Saudi Arabia. Ever since the bombing of the USS Cole, Al-Qaeda has made it clear that it wants to establish a base inside Yemen to attack the Saudi oil fields right next door. And anything that they can do to alienate the Yemeni people from the central authority and the West, the United States’ cause [would be] a great victory for them. It’s a very bad decision by the United States.

RT: The United States has significantly stepped up its involvement in Yemen’s fight against Al-Qaeda. Is it a part of Washington’s “war on terror” or, perhaps, there may be some ulterior geopolitical motives behind it?

SL: The US only sees the world in black and white. They see terrorism and the outcome of violence, but not the root causes of poverty and hopelessness, or jealousy of the gross economic inequities between Yemen and its extravagantly wealthy neighbors in the Gulf Region and Saudi Arabia. Those Gulf countries should immediately pump economic aid for education, hospitals, water facilities, and food. Washington would not have to spend a dollar. Arab countries should be capable of doing this on their own.

RT: Yemen is in a key position in the region, but the US does not have a military base there. Will it be having one?

SL: I would say they have secret military bases all over the place, don’t they? They have drone capacity, and they first tested the drones in Yemen. Over the past few years Yemen was the first target of the drones. The US has a very strong secret military capacity in this country.

RT: Drone attacks, inflated military presence – the US claims this would help make Yemen more stable and secure. And yet, could that be more about beginning another covert war in the region, rather than promoting a democracy?

SL: Drones never build democracy anywhere. Drone attacks feed chaos and destabilize the civilian population. Yemen has never been more insecure. Economic aid must start flowing into the country, or it will be lost for good.