Saleh’s U.S. visit: Analysts criticize Yemen’s insistance to receive more aid [Archives:2007/1047/Front Page]

May 3 2007

By: Mohammed Al-Jabri
SANA'A, May 2 ) As President Ali Abdullah Saleh began his visit to the United States on Sunday, observers and analysts criticized Yemen's keenness to receive foreign funding.

Saleh's visit follows the 19th Arab Summit held in Riyadh in late March and the recent investment conference in Sana'a. His visit also comes amid fierce confrontations between Yemeni armed forces and followers of Shi'ite leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi in Sa'ada governorate.

Sana'a University political science professor Mohammed Al-Dhaheri observed that Yemen is requesting additional funding at a time when its wealth is being wasted uselessly, adding that if the nation would utilize its resources well, no foreign support would be necessary.

It's important for Yemen to fight corruption and use its human resources, which can be achieved by providing a political well for the regime, Al-Dhaheri told

Fellow political science professor, at the same university, Abdullah Al-Faqih indicated that the Yemeni president will ask the U.S. for “bountiful” support on both the economic and military sides, reported.

“It'll be difficult for President Saleh to convince the U.S. to provide military support to Yemen. The Sa'ada war, which Yemen is describing as a war against Iran in order to gain U.S. support, will be a point of weakness, especially amid efforts by regional and international parties to portray [the war] in a specific way,” Al-Faqih observed.

Hafedh Al-Bukari , president of the Yemen Polling Center, said the future of Yemen's system of governance remains unclear because “There are no real institutions to rely on in Yemen.” Additionally, he wondered how the U.S. can ally strategically with a country such as Yemen, where decisions are contingent upon one individual, i.e., the president.

Fighting terrorism

In discussing with U.S. officials the fight against terrorism, President Saleh demanded the United States release Yemeni Sheikh Mohammed Al-Moayyad and his colleague Mohammed Zayed, who have been detained on charges of funding terrorist activity.

In a meeting Tuesday with director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Saleh also demanded the U.S. drop Yemeni Sheikh Abdulmajid Al-Zindani from the list of terrorists.

Saleh also met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to discuss military cooperation, namely fighting against terrorism. Gates expressed appreciation for Yemen's role in combating terrorism, professing that the two nations are partners in this regard.

The purpose of Saleh's visit to the U.S. is for talks on how to enhance bilateral relations. Arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, he was greeted by its base commander, the chief of protocol for the White House and various representatives of Yemeni diplomats serving in Washington.

“We plan to discuss with President [George W.] Bush and officials in the U.S. administration ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation between our two countries in all fields,” Saleh told reporters upon his arrival, adding that such discussions will include both regional and international issues.

This is Saleh's fourth meeting with President Bush since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. President Saleh also received U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.