Can the West prevent Yemen from becoming ‘another Somalia’?


Three innocent Yemeni kids participating in the pro-Friday prayer in Sana'a

Millions of Yemenis are going hungry as a violent stalemate between anti-government protesters and President Ali Abdullah Saleh drags on

Clashes between police and demonstrators have killed at least 60 people in Yemen this week, and the violence doesn’t appear to have broken a political stalemate that has paralyzed this impoverished country for eight months. Oxfam has warned that 7.5 million people, a third of Yemen’s population, are going hungry as the crisis drives up the price of fuel and food. With no negotiated settlement in sight, is Yemen headed for deeper chaos and starvation?

Yemen is careening toward humanitarian catastrophe:Yemen already had the third worst child malnutrition rate in the world, says Simon Tisdall at Britain’sGuardian, and its plight grows worse by the day. The country needs humanitarian aid, but thanks to security problems, it’s getting less than ever. European leaders fear that without President Ali Abdullah Saleh, there will be chaos. And with no ready solution, Yemen looks increasingly likely to be “reincarnated as Somalia II.”
“Yemen is threatening to turn into another Somalia”

There’s hope — if we stop ignoring the problem: This outbreak of violence is the predictable result of “neglecting Yemen and allowing its political crisis to grind on,” says Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy. It should be clear that the U.S. and international community can’t farm out this crisis to Saudi Arabia — we must push out Saleh and foster a “meaningful political transition,” one that doesn’t include amnesty for his men. It won’t be easy — but the alternative is a “collapse into a real civil war.”
“The cost of ignoring Yemen”

We may have to oust Saleh to save Yemen: The Middle Eastern nation has a “present and recent history of several mass killings by the regime against protesters who are actually peaceful,” says Joshua Foust atThe Atlantic. And while “there are some very good reasons why the world should not intervene in Yemen,” the trouble is that by stepping in when Moammar Gadhafi was subjecting his people to similar atrocities in Libya, “we sent that message that if you scream loud enough, we will step in. And now, when we choose not to, we risk looking like hypocrites.”