(Reuters) – Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned on Thursday, just days after Houthi rebels battled their way into his presidential palace, plunging the unstable Arab country deeper into chaos and depriving Washington of a key ally against al Qaeda.
Hadi, a former general, blamed the Houthis’ control of Sanaa for impeding his two-year-long attempt to steer Yemen toward stability after years of secessionist and tribal unrest, deepening poverty and U.S. drone strikes on Islamist militants.
The announcement startled the Arabian Peninsula country of 25 million, where the Iran-backed Houthis emerged as the dominant faction by seizing the capital in September and dictating terms to a humiliated Hadi.
“This is a coup,” said Ahmed al-Fatesh, a hotel security supervisor, suggesting Hadi had been bullied from office. “The Houthis took power by force. Hadi is a legitimate president and was elected by more than 6 million Yemenis. Hadi tried to bring the political forces together.”
Hadi in his resignation letter to the Parliament Speaker: I apologize to the Yemenis. We have reached a deadlock. pic.twitter.com/3tqaS5E5S3
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) January 22, 2015
From Bill Kristol, September, 2014, The Weekly Standard
Obama Tonight: Yemen and Somalia Are Models of Success (!)
The White House has released a couple of excerpts of the president’s address to the nation. Here’s the second:
“But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
So our strategy in Iraq and Syria is going to replicate “one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years”? According to the president, Yemen and Somalia are examples of success? I’m no expert on either place, but I have the impression both are in pretty bad shape, have probably been getting worse, and that our government is pretty worried about the export of terrorism near and far from both. I suspect that others more expert than I could even find recent testimony by senior administration officials and other experts on Yemen and Somalia that would highlight how bizarre it is for the president to hold them up as aspirational standards for his policy in Iraq and Syria. So this is the way Obama’s foreign policy ends: Promising to create more Yemens and more Somalias.