by Kevin Stoda, Salalah in Oman
In part one of this article, I shared that tourists still continue to arrive here in Salalah,Oman even as the USA and Saudi Arabia oversee Rhiyad's efforts in war taking place in Yemen, a country located less than 100km. from this tourist paradise.
For example, AIDA Cruises of Germany pulled into Salalah's large port again this week. Busloads of travelers, mostly Germans, embarked in and toured Salalah and the mountain terrain surrounding it on their Easter holidays.
Meanwhile, news from neighboring Yemen does not sound very good. Al-Jazeera notes, "Saudi-led air strikes against suspected Houthi fighters in Yemen have continued for the 15th day, with intense fighting occurring in the southern city of Aden, where rockets have reportedly landed on houses. The World Health Organisation says at least 643 people have died and more than 2,200 have been injured in the Yemeni conflict since March 19. Tens of thousands of families have also been displaced and WHO has warned that the situation in the Arabian Peninsula nation is critical."
"Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies accuse Iran of arming the Houthi fighters but Iran denies the allegations." Al Jazeera reports, "Against this backdrop of escalating tensions, the first medical supplies have started arriving in Aden: the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said they have made it to some of the city's hospitals."
To date, the anticipated massive numbers of refugees from Yemen have not materialized on Omani borders seeking assistance, but the Omani police and military are wary and following reports from Yemen with great attention.
Since March, the Sultanate has provided passage facilities for only 352 displaced persons from different nationalities (non-Yemeni) across the land outlets of Sarfait and Al Mazyouna with Yemeni Republic. An official source has told Oman News Agency (ONA) that "these " came for humanitarian purposes in coordination with their home countries to facilitate their travel procedures across Muscat and Salalah airports." Meanwhile up to 100,000 or more Yemenis are internal refugees of their own land.
Meanwhile, the AIDA cruise line ship from Germany has long-since proceeded from Salalah port in the direction of Africa via the Yemeni coastline, included the aforementioned well-bombed city of Adan.
REFLECTIONS FROM ONGOING (non-sensical) WAR ON TERROR & WAR
Oman, which spends a lot of its petrodollars on its on self-defense and on its defense industries each year, determined after its own civil wars of the 1960s and 1970s that it was better to demand that its populace largely disarm. Gun permits can be taken out from time to time a variety of Omanis. For example, a soldier who needs a weapon for the following day's training session may be permitted to sign it out and take it home for the night or for an entire weeks training, but he needs to return it when the permit is up. A government official can do the same on occasion.
In short, there are no open carry laws for either guns nor knives. In contrast, Yemeni's are constantly armed to the teeth--and have been for decades--since the Yemeni Caliphate was overthrown in 1962. At that time, Yemen began to divide itself into three parts. In addition, Yemen has had military equipment sent to it from around the world for decades--including USA drone technology.
From 1990 through the present, there had been an attempt to keep the three formerly warring factions of Yemen together, but by 2015, we can observe this attempt to be in disarray and a failure.
In contrast, in the 1970s the Northeastern part of Yemen (which is called by people in Oman by the name of "Adan") and the Dhofar region of Oman ended their insurgencies against one another and have lived in peace ever since.
Australian military and negotiations experts in Afghanistan and in Yemen argue that only a negotiated settlement will bring peace to the currently highly militarized regions of Yemen. The Sultanate of Oman and Turkey agree. Russian and Iran believe this too. However, the Saudi bombing under the aegis of the USA continues.
I should note that America has spent the better part of two decades arming Saudi Arabia to the teeth and the USA War on Terror has brought only war to the Middle East. How much better would it be if the USA had listened to many christian leaders like Jim Wallis in the days after 9-11.
A year after the attacks on America in 2011, on 9-11-2002, Wallis wrote column entitled "Ten Lessons to Defeat Terrorism". Tragically, these 10 steps remain largely un-followed by American leadership and its allies internationally. They are: