Sunday, April 12, 2015

U.S. Citizens in Yemen

Yemen has descended into chaos since Houthi rebels backed by Iran fought and then overthrew the Yemeni government. As a result, a number of countries have been removing their citizens from the country. Among those countries are India, France, Russia, Canada, and China.

And the U.S.? This headline says it all: "U.S. Gov’t to Americans Trapped in Yemen: Call India". That is, in part, because India has gone above and beyond the call of duty, evacuating citizens of at least 26 countries (in addition to their own) from Yemen. The other part is because the U.S. government has been unwilling to evacuate the U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen. The Obama Administration has tried to explain its decision this way:

Marie Harf, a spokesperson for the State Department, said last week, “Doing something like sending in military assets, even for an evacuation, could put U.S. citizen lives at greater risk.” The State Department’s website currently states that, “There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time.”

Further down, the same article states

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen was evacuated in February, with American personnel flying out of the country on private jets provided by the nation of Oman. Marines guarding the embassy personnel were not permitted to bring their sidearms on board these aircraft, and were ordered to disable and abandon their weapons before leaving the country. A U.S. special operations training mission assisting the Yemeni government in its fight against al Qaeda withdrew from the country last month. [emphasis added]
In other words, the U.S. wasn't willing to use U.S. assets to evacuate even those citizens the U.S. government was willing to assist.

One of the sites that reported this news summarized it this way:

We only rescue deserters who commit treason. Everyone else can just lump it. India is doing a bang up job of evacuating and rescuing people. Other countries, when they pulled out, evacuated their people with them. Us? Not so much.
As the Washington Free Beacon article says in its sub-headline
"U.S. abandons its own".

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