Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on Press TV News Analysis discussing United States policy toward Yemen. The Pentagon and the CIA are coordinating a war against the people of this Middle Eastern nation., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:12AM GMT
Since bolstering its position in Yemen with marines after a fatal attack recently on its embassy there, the US is now sending more arms to increase its presence in the country.
Press TV has interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan African News Wire from Detroit, about the issue.
Also interviewed in this news analysis is Ali al-Kamali, the head of Media Center liberation Square from Sana’a, and Ali Masfari, the Yemeni writer & researcher from London.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Ali Masfari our other guest made a heavy statement there that Yemen is being run by the US ambassador Mr. Gerald Feierstein. Do you agree with that? If that is the case, what is going on?
Azikiwe: Well it’s definitely an area that the US government has been concerned about for a number of years. They have identified Yemen as a base of al-Qaeda and other al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations, but I think it is the strategic interests of the United States that guides its policy in the entire Arabian Peninsula.
When the demonstrations erupted last year - the early part of 2011, it was considered a serious threat to US interest in the region. President Saleh, the former head of state, was a close ally of Washington and it was up to Washington to attempt to engineer a transition in Yemen where they basically kept the same political, economic, social and military system there, but changed the public face of the government in the capital.
The Deputy Ambassador Elizabeth Richard today had a meeting with the interior minister of Yemen so it is quite obvious that they are working hand in glove to maintain control under the auspices of the United States.
The drone attacks that have been carried out in Yemen is a major cause of concern to people in Yemen as well as to human rights organizations here in the United States. The Obama administration has relied heavily on the use of this type of secret targeted warfare.
They have developed what they call a kill list i.e. target individuals who no one knows specifically what they have done in contravention to US interests, what laws they have violated in regard to the United States, but these individuals through these drones and many other people have been killed in Yemen.
The American Civil Liberties Union here in the United States is currently involved in litigation with the United States government to try to uncover how this entire process operates.
It’s a very dangerous situation, because what it is doing is allowing the president along with selected counter terrorism advisors such as John Brennan and others to define who should live and who should die, whose village or town should be targeted and destroyed and this is not the way in which US law and US foreign policy should be conducted.
The US definitely needs to be challenged on its policy in Yemen.
Press TV: Let me come in here and ask you - I think it paved the way for anyone being a target when they recently introduced these signature strikes, which pretty much makes anyone a target, isn’t that correct?
Azikiwe: Yes. They’ve even killed at least 2 perhaps 3 US citizens in Yemen - one young man who was an Imam on the East Coast of the United States and had preached against US foreign policy, against US interests; but there was no specific evidence that he had been involved directly in any way in any type of military operations against the US or American citizens. Yet he was killed through these drones several months ago.
Also a 16 year old youth was killed as well in these same types of attacks and there is little recourse under the current US foreign policy for their families or even for the governments to take any type of action against the White House or against the Pentagon.
Press TV: …Really expanding on how many different fronts the United States is involved in Yemen in terms of the fights that’s going on there, which really becomes confusing - I was just trying to count the different that perhaps the US is involved in there.
I counted five because the government is trying to battle AQAP in the Arabian Peninsula; it’s also trying to put down this rebellion, but it’s hard to differentiate between perhaps the rebels and then you have terrorists and also people who are rising against the government, so it sounds as the US doesn’t know exactly which battles they’re fighting.
And of course this concept of the Yemenis. How is it that the US can balance itself? Or maybe they don’t care about that, they just go out for the kill because they just want to have their presence to be in Yemen as a stronghold?
Azikiwe: I agree that the war is being waged in a way in which it is killing many civilians, displacing many people, particularly in the south, but it’s not limited to the south of Yemen.
We’ve also seen the intervention of Saudi Arabia militarily last year in Yemen when the situation became very critical when you had demonstrations of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people in various parts of the country demanding a change in the political order.
But I think the US wants to maintain control of the entire Arabian Peninsula. We have of course the strategic interests and also we have the economic interests in terms of oil.
At the same time with the track record of the US in Yemen as well as in Saudi Arabia and in other countries in the [Persian] Gulf, it does not bode well for the future relations if there was a real independent government that came to power inside Yemen.
People there recognize the role of the United States in propping up these dictatorial regimes. They understand that most of the conflict that is going on right now inside the country is actually being engineered, financed and coordinated by the Pentagon and by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They have moved against whole areas in the South.
And this whole issue about al-Qaeda - they utilize the scare tactic of al-Qaeda; it plays into the fear mongering and it’s directed principally towards the electorate here in the United States. They were saying Ansar al-Sharia was the major culprit that they were targeting last year; now they’re talking about al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula.
So it really doesn’t matter which organization they say is public enemy number one, they are able to generate a certain level of hysteria in this country in order to justify their presence inside of Yemen and in the entire peninsula.