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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/1/15

The View From Yemen's War From Across the Border

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Living next to the War in Yemen Continues

I was sitting near a Shell station in Salalah,where I was having my oil and filter changed last month ago, and decided to strike up a conversation with an Omani who was also waiting under the same shade for his car to be finished, too. This man was from Taqa, which is a large town to the East of Salalah.

As we finished discussing life in Oman and our discussion turned to the Saudi War in Yemen. The Omani asked me straight out, "Why does your [the USA] government behave the way it does?" The man was obviously questioning most of USA Middle East policy, which included many years of drone bombings in neighboring Yemen followed by logistics and weaponry support for Saudi Arabia, which was decreasing the stability of the entire Arabian Peninsula.

I explained that I did not support the military industrial conglomerate from the USA that has led to a huge increase in military hardware and training for Saudi and other Middle Eastern lands over the past three decades. I added that the hyper-dependence of the USA economy on military spending over spending on social concerns and education had made it difficult for a teacher or professor--like me--to find work in the USA. Moreover, part of my decision to teach abroad for most of my life since 1985 has stemmed from my ability to avoid paying USA taxes--the majority of which go to support present wars, future wars, and past wars. or military base infrastructure spent in about 155 countries around the globe.

Between Taqa village and Salalah, one can observe the mix of life that makes up the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean) coast, which both Yemen and Oman share. (Both countries have faced threats from Saudi insurgencies in the past century.)

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The Salalah-Taqa-Mirbat road runs parallel to one of the largest sandy beaches in the world.

Many of the students I have taught in the local technical college are from the Taqa-Mirbat region.

There are camels all the way from the sea and hiding up in the mountains.

There is the ancient town of Sumhurum.

Taqa and Mirbat were both seens of famous battles during the 1960s and 1970s Dhofar Rebellion--also called the Dhofar Insurrection.

"The central issue involved in the war was the repression of the people of Dhofar by a despotic Sultan. Initiative and leadership for the rebellion was supplied by communist trained and inspired insurgents. These provided cohesion to build a fairly formidable military force. Unfortunately for the insurgents, however, the British-educated son of the Sultan led a coup in 1970, producing a reversal in a campaign that was promising solid success.
The Dhofar War was perhaps little recognized in the United States at the time because it coincided with the Vietnam contlict. American coverage of Vietnam far out- shadowed the Dhofar War, and sources of information on the conflict in Oman were, and still remain, predominantly British. Added to its backwater reputation was a strong seal of secrecy placed on the war. Not only the Sultan but also the British engineered a policy "to not attract publicity." [1]
According to many strategic observers, however, "Following the ouster of the Shah of Iran,and considering the current instability in the Middle East, Oman has emerged a key factor in resolving the complicated equation comprising world-wide peace--Oman's prime location and her recent history have modern strategists analyzing the Dhofar rebellion with renewed vigor and utmost concern for the facts." [2] "Oman is now a member in good standing of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organization of six Gulf nations (Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.) The GCC is dedicated to maintaining collective security and their police and intelligence organizations work closely together" .
Meanwhile, Sharif Abdel Kouddous shares from the Middle East, we observe the following in neighboring Yemen now in July 2015, "Saudi-led bombing campaign has devastated the country, has targeted a lot of infrastructure in Yemen, which is the poorest Arab country. It's also enforced a naval and air and land blockade on the country, which has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis. The U.N. special envoy said recently that Yemen is one step away from famine. And we also have to realize that there's a--the blockade is also being conducted by Houthi rebels in cities like Aden. They have cut off access for food, using food as a weapon, cutting off access by road to starve their opponents in the city. So this is really a story of civilians being caught between two warring sides. And we have to understand that this Saudi-backed campaign is supported by...the U.S. provides logistical and intelligence support for this campaign, which really has no end game that's clear."
"The Saudis are just bombing Yemen without any [plan]--they want to restore this exiled president to power who has absolutely no support whatsoever anymore on the ground. It's also a very incoherent policy. It is conducting drone strikes on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, and it's also backing this bombing campaign, which is hitting al-Qaeda's fiercest rivals, in the Houthi rebels, in Yemen. And we've already seen AQAP gain ground and control of certain areas in Yemen as a result of this bombing campaign, so increasing in strength. But really, a lot of the world is complicit in what is happening to Yemeni civilians, who are on the brink of starvation, who have hardly any water--the capital may run out of water very soon--and who have no one to turn to. And this is not a story that gets a lot of headlines in the media.[4] From what I can observe from Oman--and looking West to Yemen--is that the USA has failed to learn much in the past 30 years about how to create or work for peace in the Middle East and the World. No wonder my new acquaintance from Taqa here in Dhofar in Oman can only shake his head at the behavior of America--my homeland.
[1] CHENEY, Stephen A. (1984) The Insurgency In Oman, 1962-1976, USA: Marine Corps Command and Staff College.
[3] Ibid.
[4]"Amid Warnings of Famine, Yemeni Civilians Trapped Inside Conflict
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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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