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SAN'A, Yemen - Ongoing clashes between the Yemeni army and followers of a Shiite rebel leader in the north of the country have killed more than 100 people in the past five days, military officials said Monday.--from this news item
The excruciatingly limited Mike Schuster of NPR has apparently just discovered the existence of Sunnis and Shi'a and a little contretemps among them -- one which he still can't fathom, nor that he can't quite place in time and space -- but Yemen hasn't yet appeared as one of the places that is affected by this Sunni-Shi'a split, and he still hasn't the faintest what it all means, or how it could and would play out, if the Americans were to withdraw, now, right now, from Iraq.
The nearly-even balance between Sunni and Shi'a in Yemen is never mentioned in any of this. Nor is the behavior of Saudi Arabia, its worry about Yemen, its booting out of a million Yemeni workers, its support in the past for this or that faction. Nor is there ever mention of the proxy war fought by Nasser and the Al-Saud in the Yemen.
Why? Why is there no attempt to understand things in advance? Why was there no understanding, no mention, of the Sunni-Shi'a split until late in the third year of America's presence in Tarbaby Iraq? Why did Bush wonder aloud about the existence of Sunnis and Shi'a --"I thought they were Muslims in Iraq" -- and why is such idiocy permitted to continue from those who have the power to decide about the lives of others, others who might know these things, others in many cases more intelligent than they?
If you wanted to find out about the Sunni-Shi'a split, its depth and duration, and how Yemen would be one of those places affected by it, you could read here.
And right now you can google as follows: "Jihad Watch" and "Posted by Hugh" and "Sunni" and "Shi'a" and "Iraq" and "Pakistan" and "Bahrain" and "Saudi Arabia" and "Lebanon" and "Kuwait" and --- don't forget -- "Yemen" and find out all about it in previous NER and JW postings and archives.
Why learn, most imperfectly, and few years late, by listening to NPR or reading the newspapers that tell you, in such confused fashion, what it is you need to know and others need to know in order to fashion policies that make sense?