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Why Yemen Matters

As we note in today’s Daily Dispatch, fighting continues to rage in Yemen, with no end in sight. With this latest conflict in the Middle East pitting various nations against one another, Dr. Daniel Pipes looks at exactly why Yemen matters to Israel and the rest of the world:

The Middle East cold war becoming hot: The Iranian and Saudi regimes have been heading dueling blocs for about a decade. They did combat, much like the U.S. and Soviet governments once did, via contending ideologies, espionage, aid, trade, and covert action. On March 26, that cold war went hot, where it is likely to remain…

Islamists dominate: The leaders of both blocs have a lot in common. Both aspire universally to apply the sacred law of Islam (the Shariah), both despise infidels, and both turned faith into ideology. Their falling out confirms Islamism as the Middle East’s only game, permitting its proponents the luxury of fighting each other…

Sidelining the Arab-Israeli conflict: While the Obama administration and European leaders remain obsessed with Palestinians, seeing them as key to the region, regional players have far more urgent priorities. Not only does Israel hardly concern them but the Jewish state serves as a tacit auxiliary of the Saudi-led bloc. Does this indicate a long-term shift in Arab attitudes toward Israel? Probably not. When the Iran crisis fades, expect the focus to return to the Palestinians and Israel, as it always does.

American policy in disarray: Middle East hands rightly scoffed in 2009 when U.S. President Barack Obama and his fellow naïfs expected that by leaving Iraq, smiling at Tehran, and trying harder at Arab-Israeli negotiations, they would fix the region, permitting a “pivot” to East Asia. Instead, the incompetents squatting atop the U.S. government cannot keep up with fast-moving, adverse events, many of them of its own creation (anarchy in Libya, tensions with traditional allies, a more bellicose Iran).

Impact on a deal with Iran: Although Washington has folded on many issues in the negotiations with Iran, and has done the mullah regime many favors (for example, not listing it or its Hezbollah ally as a terrorist group), it drew a line in Yemen, offering the anti-Iran coalition some support. Will Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei now stomp out of the talks? Highly unlikely, for the deal offered him is too sweet to turn down.

Tags: Middle East Unrest

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