Thursday, December 12, 2002

The Bush Administration Lets Yemen Keep Its Covert Missiles

This week Spanish and American naval vessels stopped and boarded an unflagged freighter bound from North Korea for Yemen --an ally of Saddam Hussein's Irag, and the sole Arab nation which supported Iraq during the Gulf War. The reason for the boarding? The intel community had received tips that Pyongpang secretly sold Scud missiles to that Middle Eastern Muslim nation, which had bought them in secret. The boarding parties discovered the missiles, all fifteen concealed in blocks of cement.

The Yemenis' "explanation" for this? Well, they're just trying to beef up their defense capabilities --against whom? Oman? Kuwait? Oz?-- and needed the missiles to do so. But never mind that Scuds are not defensive systems to begin with, especially because they are highly inaccurate and indiscriminate when it comes to targetting. The Scud is an offensive system whose chief purpose and function is to terrorize, not defend. And never mind that systems such as the Patriot were designed from the ground up to defend against attacks, and thus would fill the Yemenis' defense bill much more effectively. And why the secrecy? Why not just buy the Scuds openly instead of covertly? Yemen, it seems, has no answer to that.

In light of such factors, Yemen's "explanation" rings hollow. But what rings even more hollow is the Bush administration's decision to accept Yemen's "explanation" and return the Scuds to them. Is the Bush administration's war on terrorism serious or not?

No comments: