The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

For the first time, Yemen’s army is receiving direct help from U.S. troops, who are operating from a desert air base near the main battle zones to help coordinate assaults and airstrikes, according to Yemeni officials.

Yemeni army kills 29 al-Qaida fighters

Apparently we have boots on the ground in Yemen now. Sorry, I meant advisors (another meaningless bit of Newspeak, much like the word “terrorism”, or the compound “safe haven”).

President Obama executive order will give Treasury authority to freeze U.S.-based assets in Yemen | The Washington Post

President Obama plans to issue an executive order Wednesday giving the Treasury Department authority to freeze the U.S.-based assets of anyone who “obstructs” implementation of the administration-backed political transition in Yemen.

The unusual order, which administration officials said also targets U.S. citizens who engage in activity deemed to threaten Yemen’s security or political stability, is the first issued for Yemen that does not directly relate to counterterrorism.

Unlike similar measures authorizing terrorist designations and sanctions, the new order does not include a list of names or organizations already determined to be in violation. Instead, one official said, it is designed as a “deterrent” to “make clear to those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition” to think again.

The official was authorized to discuss the new order on the condition of anonymity.

Marcy Wheeler adds:

The explanation this anonymous official seems to have given Karen DeYoung is that the order is a way to make sure Ali Abdullah Saleh’s family butts out of affairs in Yemen (which would work, given that he presumably does have significant assets in the US). Using Saleh’s wealth as a way to try to keep him out of Yemeni politics is a nice idea (though the agreement itself could have done more to enforce this).

But Saleh’s not a US citizen. So why explicitly include US citizens in the order?

Moreover, since the language borrows material support language from terrorist sanctions, and since terrorist material support extends to First Amendment protected activities (as Tarek Mehanna knows well), and since Obama has already made sure a journalist remains jailed in Yemen, then what protection is there for people who say that using signature strikes in Yemen is boneheaded, or suggesting that investing all our energies in Saleh’s Vice President doesn’t really constitute a meaningful solution in Yemen?

Strange. Developing.