“No military agreement!?” [Archives:1998/19/Front Page]

May 11 1998

General Anthony Zinni, Commander of the US Central Command Theater, is scheduled to arrive in Sanaa later this month. A large advance team of senior officers is arriving on the 14th. The visit comes in the footsteps of the Mount Vernon, which called on Aden on 3-5 May 1998. It also comes 3 months after the visit of Vice Admiral Thomas Fargo, Commander of Naval Forces at Central Command and Commander of the 5th Fleet.
Yemeni officials and US embassy sources have denied a Yemen Times story that a military access agreement is in the works. The YT article had pointed to the interest of the US navy for facilities at Yemeni ports which would be regulated by an agreement. The 2 sides now say that such an agreement is not in the pipeline.
However, there is no explanation for the high-level military visits. Is it possible that top US military commanders are here to seek Yemeni advice on world military strategies? Or are they in Yemen to try out qat and see if they can use it in their endeavors?
The YT article had resulted in enormous internal and regional pressures on the Yemeni Government to resist being entangled in the American war strategy in the region. It looks like the premature exposure of the arrangements have killed the plan, for now.