Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives
Statement on House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing:
Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Policy
February 3, 2010
2010 Ron Paul 6:1
Mr. Chairman, I am extremely concerned over current US policy toward Yemen, which I believe will
backfire and leave the United States less safe and much poorer. Increasing US involvement in Yemen may be sold as a
fight against terrorism, but in fact it is more about expanding US government control and influence over this
strategically-placed nation at the gateway to Asia.
2010 Ron Paul 6:2
The current administration, according to todays testimony of Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey
Feltman, has dramatically increased foreign aid to Yemen, from $17 million in FY 2008 to $40 million in FY 2009, to $67
million for FY 2010, to, according to the presidents recent budget sent to Congress, $106 million for FY 2011. That
represents an incredible six-fold increase in US aid to Yemen over just four years, at a time when the US economy continues
2010 Ron Paul 6:3
When I look at the US assistance plan for Yemen I see that it is primarily focused on
nation-building. That is the failed idea that if the United States sends enough money to a foreign government, with which
that government purchases US-manufactured weapons and hires US-based consultants and non-governmental organizations, that
country will achieve a strong economy and political stability and in gratitude will become eternally friendly to the US and
US interests. I have yet to see a single successful example of this strategy.
2010 Ron Paul 6:4
According to Assistant Secretary Feltmans statement,
Priorities for U.S. assistance include
political and fiscal reforms and meaningful attention to legitimate internal grievances; better governance through
decentralization, reduced corruption and civil service reform; human rights protections; jobs-related training; economic
diversification to generate employment and enhance livelihoods, and strengthened natural resource management.
How can we
believe that the US government can achieve abroad what we know it cannot effectively achieve at home? We are going to spend
millions of dollars to help create jobs in Yemen as we continue to shed jobs in the United States?
2010 Ron Paul 6:5
Yemen is a country mired in civil conflict. The Shiites in the north, who make up a significant
percentage of the countrys total population and a majority in their region, have been fighting against what they see as
the discriminatory policies of the Sunni-based government in the capitol, Sanaa, for years. Yemenis in the south, who up
until 1990 were a separate country, likewise oppose the central government and threaten to escalate this opposition. Added
into this mix are elements of what are called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), some of whom are left over from the
US-supported fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and others have been radicalized by their
exposure to Wahhabi extremism in US-allied Saudi Arabia. Still others in AQAP are veterans of the insurgency against US
occupation of Iraq. We cannot forget either those Yemenis who were held for years by the United States without charges at
Guantanamo Bay. How many of those were innocent of terrorist actions or intent but became radicalized under such conditions?
2010 Ron Paul 6:6
Saudi Arabias concern over the Shiite unrest in north Yemen has led to unsubstantiated claims of
Iranian involvement in attempt to draw the US into a regional problem that has nothing to do with the United States. Saudi
Arabia has struggled with unrest among its own Shiite population and is determined to prevent any spill-over. There are
some here in the US who repeat false claims of Iranian involvement in the hope of expanding the US military presence in the
area. Others in the United States irresponsibly call for a US pre-emptive war in Yemen. We should be clear on this:
expanded US involvement in Yemen plays into the hands of bin Laden and his organization as has been made clear on many
occasions. Luring the United States into a conflict in Yemen by falsely advertising it part of a war on terror will
certainly radicalize the Yemeni population against the United States. It will weaken our over-extended military and it will
further destroy our economy.
2010 Ron Paul 6:7
Similarly, the US-backed central government in Sanaa stands to gain by claiming its internal
problems are part of a global crisis that requires US intervention. The central Yemeni government has much to gain by
making its battles and its problems our battles and our problems. But that gain will come at the expense of US soldiers, US
security, and the American economy. I wonder how long it will be before the US establishes a permanent base on the
strategic territory of Yemen?
2010 Ron Paul 6:8
I hope, as we begin to debate the foreign affairs budget for next year, that we may yet change course
from that of the last administration, where the failed policies of interventionism, militarism, and nation-building have
left the United States in a diminished position in the world.