However, when it comes to South Yemen, which seeks the restoration of its independence after a failed 1990 merger with North Yemen as the unified “Republic of Yemen,” and a bloody civil war in 1994 to regain its sovereignty, the United States has, instead, sought to turn South Yemen into a “killing field” for drone-launched missile attacks and a playground for U.S. Special Operations forces.
There are a number of reasons why the United States is opposed to independence restoration for South Yemen. One is the former socialist policies of the former People’s Democratic of Yemen, which originate from the strong maritime labor unions that were active in the port city and capital of Aden while the south was still a colony of Great Britain
Another reason why Washington is unwilling to support the restoration of South Yemen is its desires for military bases in the country. The Pentagon’s relationship with the regime in Sana’a, the north Yemeni capital, is seen as more conducive to obtaining base rights on the strategic island of Socotra in the Gulf of Aden. By controlling Socotra, Washington would control the sea lanes to and from the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
South Yemen’s past pan-Arab socialist policies also serve as a deterrent for U.S. support for South Yemeni independence. It is clear that the United States and its NATO partners have systematically destroyed, through military attacks and subversion, the Arab socialist-based governments of Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and now, Syria and Sudan. In America’s global capitalist “new world order” there is no room for the Baathism of Iraq and Syria, neo-Destour socialism of Tunisia, or the Nasserite socialism of Egypt, Libya, or Sudan.
South Yemen tweaked the nose of the West and Saudis when it was the sole Arab state opposed to the admittance to the UN and Arab League of the Gulf monarchies of Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates upon their independence from Britain. South Yemen was a firm supporter of the Non-Aligned Movement and it enjoyed close relations with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Yugoslavia and India.
The major group fighting for South Yemeni independence in the South Yemen Movement, also known as “Harak,” is primarily led by former South Yemeni government leaders. The neo-conservative media apparatus of the West, represented most notably by The Washington Post, New York Times, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the BBC, and non-governmental organization quasi-media outlets financed by George Soros, have demonized Harak by linking it with “Al Qaeda,” the CIA- and Mossad-contrived bogeyman that justifies the West’s constant military intervention in Arab and Muslim countries. Using the mantra of “Al Qaeda,” U.S. military forces have targeted Harak forces by claiming they are “Al Qaeda” or affiliated with “Al Qaeda.”
The American neo-conservatives who continue to call the shots at the State Department, most notably U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, have also accused Harak of receiving aid from Iran. Feierstein has referred to South Yemen’s desire for independence restoration as “southern obstructionism.”
The United States has intervened militarily and through its intelligence agencies before. During the 1994 North-South Yemen civil war, north Yemeni forces were able to successfully target South Yemeni military units because of high-grade signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) data provided by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s NSA partner, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
The north Yemeni regime has found it advantageous to link Harak to “Al Qaeda” in order to guarantee continued military and financial support from the West and the United Nations to the “Government of National Unity” of Yemen based in Sana’a. The Sana’a government is headed by Abdo Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi, the former Vice President under the ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Salehm. However, most government positions remain in the hands of old Saleh loyalists and cronies and Saleh’s son still controls the feared Republican Guard that cracks the whip against Harak in Aden. The UN’s special adviser for Yemen is Jamal Benomar, a former Moroccan human rights activist.
Taking a page from Israeli re-population of the West Bank with Jewish settlers from outside of Israel, the north Yemenis have embarked on a program of re-settling north Yemenis in South Yemen, especially in the Hadhramaut region of eastern South Yemen. The UN has been silent on the re-settlement, continuing to call for a “dialogue” between warring Yemeni factions without recognizing South Yemen’s right to independence restoration.
Harak is led by the former vice president of unified Yemen, Ali Salim al-Beidh, who left the Sana’s government in 1993 to lead South Yemen in its battle for restored independence as the “Democratic Republic of Yemen.” After a long exile in neighboring Oman and his renewed struggle for South Yemeni independence, al-Beidh, was expelled from Oman, a staunch ally of the United States in the region.
The hypocrisy of Washington over South Yemen is self-evident. The neo-con cabal that runs the State Department heaps praise on its kleptocratic creations in Kosovo and South Sudan while disparaging legitimate self-determination for the people of South Yemen.