Another Test for Our Leadership [Archives:2001/38/Viewpoint]

September 17 2001

We are now in a time of test for our leadership regarding Yemen’s official position to any future USA attacks against, as the USA calls them, “terrorist harboring countries,” including – but possibly not limited to – Afghanistan.
Yemen must decide today whether it is with or against the USA in its action and war against other countries that are accused of harboring terrorists.
President of the USA, George W. Bush, has openly stated that Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect and target of future US attacks. The USA has partially succeeded in gaining the support of the West in its future campaign, but is still working on convincing Arab and Islamic countries to join in this alliance.
Will Yemen be part of this alliance? Will Yemen support the USA in its attacks? Or will Yemen stand neutral in this regard, as it did in the Gulf War when the alliance attacked Iraq?
All those questions will be answered quite soon, especially since the US is in its full readiness to start the campaign that could potentially drag the whole region to a state of instability. Some countries have suggested that the US think twice about any future action against any country.
Some Arab countries have already given the green light to the states to start its war or retaliation. Other countries, including Yemen, are still hesitant in this regard. Observers believe that it is now a matter of days, if not hours, before the US starts striking its target and begins the battle on the ground.
It is well-known that the US president is obliged to obey the American people, who are in a state of grief, sadness, and anger because of what happened. Surveys revealed that a significant number of the American public is eager to retaliate and wants action to be taken quickly and powerfully. This gives little chance for an escape from a certain military campaign.
However, in the Third World, the public has little affect on the regimes and leaders. In Yemen, for instance, the Yemeni public is convinced that such attacks are not favorable and are opposed by the Yemeni community. However, it is not certain whether this will reflect itself on the decisions of our President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, regarding whether to support or oppose the US actions.
All we need to do now is wait and see how this state of war develops and how the different countries, including Yemen, will react to such a development. Even though it is a tough decision for Yemen and a difficult test for the our leadership, we need to decide and state our opinion clearly and strongly.