The Center for Middle East Policy (CMEP) recently hosted an event titled “Yemen and Libya: The Middle East’s Other Civil Wars.” The event brought together a panel of experts on Yemen, Libya, and the broader region to discuss the rising violence and chaos in those two countries. Listen to what they had to say or read a transcript of the conversation here.
Pakistan is listed as one of the non-GCC countries that has joined in the coalition against the Houthis in Yemen. Bruce Riedel, director of The Intelligence Project at Brookings, wrote a piece for Al-Monitor explaining Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision less than two weeks ago not to send troops to Saudi Arabia to help the Kingdom confront the rising Houthi threat on its southwestern border.
In February, Markaz featured a post from Riedel analyzing the likely Saudi response to the stunning Houthi seizure of the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a.
And following the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah earlier this year, which came on the heels of the resignation of Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Riedel declared in an op-ed in Al-Monitor that Yemen would be the “first priority for Saudi’s new King Salman.”
In January, Kenneth M. Pollack, senior fellow at CMEP, and Barbara F. Walter of U.C. San Diego argued that the real threat Yemen posed to the United States came not from terrorism, but from Yemen’s potential to destabilize Saudi Arabia—presciently warning that “the Saudis are obsessed with Yemen and have found it impossible to resist meddling in Yemeni affairs.” Earlier this week, Pollack testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he addressed the civil war in Yemen, as well as broader regional turmoil.
Ibrahim Sharqieh, deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center, outlined how U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, and specifically its use of drones to target al-Qa’ida-linked terrorists, has contributed to Yemen’s instability in a recent interview on NPR.
AAPI Heritage Month: Safeguarding Asian American inclusion and belonging
President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.