Recently by Anthony Wile: Turning Points of Empire’s End?
How is it that the world’s fortunes hang on the life or death of a murderous thug that the US has been supporting for 30 years? And why, in fact, if Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is so important, isn’t it common knowledge? Saleh was wounded yesterday when opposition forces blew up his palace. But as I’ll discuss, below, there’s more to the story. (Isn’t there always?)
In my opinion, this story is so big it should be on the front pages of the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal: "US dollar hegemony hangs in the balance." Or how’s this: "Future of the world’s monetary system may be decided in Yemen’s Sana’a."
How can one silly, little and desperately poor country full of people in ankle-length white robes be in the position to shake the foundations of the current monetary system of the Anglo-American empire?
First, context. It hasn’t been a good year for the West’s power elite. Yemen is only one country in tumult. Other countries verging on civil war are Bahrain and Syria. (Libya is already convulsed.) But in fact there are hundreds of places in the Middle East, Africa and Europe now where people are demonstrating and marching – or fighting with various levels of efficiency and organization.
In Afghanistan, the Obama administration is said to be desperately searching for Mullah Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Taliban, now and again reported dead or missing. US officials, in turn, wish to find Omar so that they can work out a deal where the US declares victory and Omar retains the territory. Some victory.
Libya is currently in a stalemate; China is Pakistan’s new best friend; Pakistan’s generals are again denying what Ms. Hillary Clinton – US Secretary of State – said only a week ago, that the Pakistan army was about to launch a significant attack against the Pashtun/Taliban. It’s not true, the generals say.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s youths sleep on the streets; Tunisian youth are no happier; Iran is gaining considerable regional influence because of the "color revolutions" that the CIA apparently triggered. Iraq is destabilizing again, and even the Palestinians are resurgent.
The Arab Awakening is truly a regional if not global phenomenon. Of course, we have our own name for it: The Internet Reformation. It’s really the same thing. Just as the Gutenberg press spawned the Renaissance and Reformation, so the Internet has now spawned a truly significant social convulsion. The world will never be the same.
America’s CIA-sponsored AYM youth movements were behind the initial color revolutions. But notice how the mainstream press has stopped celebrating them. Perhaps they haven’t worked out as planned. Either Western elites are encouraging a series of Arab Islamic Republics (so as to buttress what seems to be an essentially phony "war on terror") or they are trying to create controllable regulatory democracies that will likely be run by dependable militaries with a constitutional façade. Neither of these options looks to be feasible in the near term.
Alternatively, the West seeks generalized chaos for some reason – or, more intriguingly, it has simply lost control of the situation. As we’ve stated before, Yemen is important because it may well indicate how much control the West actually has over the Arab Awakening. So far, what’s been most apparent is dithering. The West hasn’t shown a firm hand. There are reasons why.
Yemen may be spinning out of Western control. After Saleh was wounded, he was quoted as saying, "I salute our armed forces and the security forces for standing up firmly to confront this challenge by an outlaw gang that has nothing to do with the so-called youth revolution." It’s interesting that the words Saleh used were "outlaw gang" as the tribal opposition to his rule denied making the attack. Apparently, it was what one might call "an inside job."
That means that individuals nominally allied with Saleh tried to knock him off. And why not? He is a thoroughly despicable man. He has ruled Yemen for about 30 years through a mixture of truculence and torture; like Gaddaffi, his favorite method of staying in power is one of "divide and conquer" in which he set various tribes against each other.
Yup … Yemen is another "tribal backwater" like Afghanistan – a place where the Anglo-American elite (exaggeratedly) has no interest. It is like a kid kicking a stone past the house of a pretty girl. He just happened along the way … and thus the US just "happened’ into Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the US is intensely interested – mesmerized in a kind of Ted Bundy (bad) way.
How seriously does the Anglo-American empire take Afghanistan (as a speed-bump on the way to world government)? Try, probably, say … US$2 trillion in expenditures, thousands killed and tens of thousands wounded. True the total all-in cost hasn’t been as much as Vietnam (50,000 dead and 500,000 wounded) but there’s considerable evidence that the US has been undercounting the dead and wounded through a variety of manipulations.
Yemen has never presented the same kind of problem as Afghanistan. In part that’s because Yemen is even more difficult to subdue militarily than the stiff-necked Pashtun Taliban. The West has wanted as little to do with Yemen as possible (outside of controlling the coastline). Here’s a description of Yemen by Paul Herman of the New Zealand Post in a recent article entitled "Cry, cry and cry again for my beloved Yemen."
So now my beloved Yemen is on the verge of going up in flames, on the verge of a cataclysmic civil war. I say "my beloved" because I had such an extraordinary time there on an Intrepid Journey a few years back Not a lot of people actually know where Yemen is. I don’t think I really did until I checked a map before we went there. It is essentially the bottom left portion of the Arabian Peninsula. And what I certainly didn’t realise about the entire Arabian Peninsula is that a massive mountain range runs north to south down its western side, sloping down eventually to the Red Sea.
In fact, the Saudis move their capital up to the mountains, to Taif, during the ferocious Arabian summers. The Yemeni capital Sana’a sits in this same mountain range. The thing about Yemen is the architecture. There is nothing like it in the world. They seem to have engineering in their genes. They built skyscrapers when no one was doing it.
Osama Bin Laden’s father, who got rich building roads in Saudi Arabia, was Yemeni. He got so rich he rebuilt the mosque at Mecca with his own money. Old Man bin Laden came from one of the most spectacular parts of the world I have ever seen, the Wadi Hadromaut. It is probably as vast and as breathtaking as the Grand Canyon. And all through this great and ancient valley are villages perched on high, impossible sites, above steep cliffs, and you look at them and marvel because they have been there hundreds and hundreds of years.
How in God’s name did they do that, you find yourself asking time and again, round every corner. It’s the same through the entire country, especially in that great mountain range, villages with slim, square buildings six or seven storeys on the most unreachable ridges and peaks. And, of course, that was the point. Defensively, they are brilliantly sited. The truth is, neither the Turks – of whom there are still some 10,000 in Yemen – nor the British ever really conquered anywhere but the Yemeni coast. You couldn’t get near those mountain villages. The Yemenis simply rolled great rocks down on you.
As Afghanistan is the key to Middle Asia, so Yemen is the key to "Arabia." The tribes of Oman and the Arab Emirates flowed out of Yemen. And today Yemen is no less important than before in terms of the Great Game. It is perched on the edge of one of the most important waterways in the world and fronts the soft underbelly of Saudi Arabia – the part where many of the most profitable oil wells are located.
Yemen is formidable, and strangely important. But because of the mountains, because of the tribes, because of the weaponry (three rifles for every Yemeni), because boys are expected to be proficient with weapons from an early age, Yemen has not been high on the list of the Anglosphere’s "civilizing" influences.
Ironically, the Yemenis are very similar culturally to the Somalis – from the same Somalia that Western newscasters like to call a failed state. (A failed state is any country that stands in the way of the West’s dash toward One World Government.)
What Western mainstream media isn’t bothering to report, however, is that the Anglo-American power elite could already have done away with Saleh if it wanted to. He’s their man and has been for all of his violent existence. It is reprehensible that that Western elites would rather let Yemen drift into civil war than cease to support Saleh. There have been no moves made in the UN to put pressure on Saleh, no sanctions – only apparently regular ammo and tear gas refills, which he has used to slaughter hundreds of Yemenis.
The Western elites have not moved to do away with Saleh because they cannot apparently find a thug to put in his place that will garner a modicum of tribal support. The result of all this is growing antipathy. Possibly, because Yemen is another funny "impoverished backwater," the US has handled the Yemen very badly. The whole country is inflamed. Saleh, now wounded, will likely never get his power back and the chances that the CIA will have the opportunity to create a new Saleh are growing slimmer by the minute.
The Saudis worked desperately to move Saleh out of power. It is easy to see why now; that was their leverage. But now the nightmare scenario has occurred: increasingly the Saudis are perceived as propping Saleh up (which they are doing actually by not removing him). Ultimately all this returns to the US and the Pentagon, which in turn does the bidding of the City of London. So, here is the answer to the question asked at the beginning of this article. The answer is …
The corrupt and vicious Saudi regime lies at the heart of Money Power. Without Saudi willingness to support the continued dollar-oil exchange (forcing the rest of the world to hold dollars) the dollar reserve currency system seriously degrades.
The current system was put in place in the 1940s, but it was elaborated on in 1971, when the US severed the last link between gold and the dollar and substituted oil. How did the Anglosphere elites manage this trick? Using Mao’s observation: "power springs from the barrel of a gun."
The Saudis were willing accomplices, but in reality they didn’t have a choice. The world’s economy, when you come down to it, is a product of American military force. Use the dollar to buy oil or else … But if the US and Saudi Arabia cannot control the spiraling disaster in Yemen, the next stop on the revolutionary train is Bahrain. And after that … Saudi Arabia. And THIS time, events may not be easily salvageable. The Internet has educated the Arab world about its history.
If the Anglosphere elites had only used their tremendous industrial and monetary advantages to build a free-market instead of a phony one (disguised as a free one)! But the elites chose to propagate a central banking economy in order to chase after world government, and now they are in danger of an eroding dollar reserve, which could eventually result in the creation of an entirely new (and uncontrollable) currency. Anyway, if Saudi Arabia falls, the dominoes may simply keep tumbling. Who pays any attention to funny little countries like Yemen anyway?
Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the popular free-market oriented news site, TheDailyBell.com. Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking — a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book, High Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).