Yemeni President Ali Adbulla Saleh is adamantly insisting that he will receive medical treatment in the United States for his war wounds. President Obama’s decision to allow or reject Saleh will either anger millions or send recruits directly to Al Qaeda.
While attempting to quell the Arab Spring in Yemen Saleh kill hundreds, risked civil war, and was nearly killed by an improvised explosive device.
The revolution is still struggling to gain power against Saleh’s loyalists; however, they have forced concessions. Saleh recently resigned from his presidency. This is only a token move: his son still controls the army and his vice president is almost certainly going to succeed Saleh. The Arab Spring Movement in Yemen has won a major battle, there is still a long war ahead of them.
Now Saleh is demanding medical attention in the United States, cornering the United States into a lose-lose situation.
If the government allows the tyrant to receive medical treatment this will be a stunning blow to the Arab Spring. Saleh has killed nearly two thousand of protesters and soldiers fighting for a more honest government. By providing medical treatment, rather than arresting, Saleh the United States is condoning his actions. Just allowing him into the country communicates to the world that America is okay with those who orchestrate genocide. The revolutionaries, American peace activists, and American Muslim community would all be outraged. These groups are gaining more power every year, while doing good, it would be disastrous to take this humanitarian route.
However, America also is endangered if Obama blocks Saleh’s visit.
American investment in the Arabian Peninsula is critical to our national security. Al Qaeda splinter cells have nested and flourished in Yemen during this last year of strife while the separatist Houthis are forming a small nation-state in northern Yemen. The country is the very definition of destabilized.
If America rejects Saleh it aggravates the country. Loyalists across Yemen will be aggravated by their president’s rejects. Al Qaeda will utilize the incident for recruiting. After the rejection many Yemenis will have a lot of undirected anger at the Americans. Who better than Al Qaeda to take advantage of anti-American sentiments.
Like I said, this is a lose-lose situation: either Obama antagonizes the Muslim world or arms Al Qaeda.
This microcosm of the results of the Arab Spring reflects the part the Western World will play after the tyrants from Bahrain to Syria are cast out. Governments in exile, royal families, and other unwanted pre-Arab Spring structures will flee to Europe and America for safety. This incident displays the question: should we take in butchers while angering own citizens or reject killers and build a more fearsome terrorist threat. There are no easy answers.
Personally, I believe all dictators of genocide should have access to medical treatments, such as electric chairs and firing squads.