November 06, 2009

SENATE RESOLUTION ON YEMEN

MR. CARDIN.   Mr. President, today I would like to draw attention to a dangerous situation that has implications for the national security of the United States and our allies, a situation involving dire humanitarian circumstances, with over 150,000 displaced persons since 2004.    I'm speaking about the situation in Yemen.  

 

Senator Lugar and I are introducing a resolution supporting peace, security, and the innocent civilians affected by conflict in Yemen.   This resolution calls on the President and international community to use all appropriate measures to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.

 

The gravity of the challenges Yemen faces should not be ignored.   To document a few of these challenges:   Yemen is home to a substantial number of al-Qaeda militants, a rebellion in the northern part of the country, unrest in southern regions, and piracy in the Gulf of Aden.   Yemen has limited and rapidly depleting natural resources including oil, which accounts for over 75 percent of government revenue, and water.   Yemen is underdeveloped, ranking 140 th out of 182 countries in the United Nations Development Program's 2009 Human Development Index.  Thousands of Yemenis are currently displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict between the Government of Yemen and al-Houthi rebel forces.   Regions of Yemen have a large degree of lawlessness; religious minorities - particularly the Jewish population - have emigrated due to safety concerns; and human rights violations persist.  

 

The United States, the international community, and the people of Yemen must do all that we can to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.  Disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda and violent extremism requires a global strategy that includes preventing Yemen from serving as a base for terrorist operations conducted elsewhere.   Americans and our allies are all too familiar with the dangers of terrorists operating unimpeded.   The March 18 and September 17, 2008 attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a and the October 12, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole remind us of this threat specifically in Yemen.  

 

Aside from Yemen's impact on the national security of America and our allies, we cannot ignore the tremendous hardships many in Yemen currently endure.   Yemenis deserve to have basic security, basic human rights, and their basic needs met.   We need to stand with those who want to live in peace and achieve improved living conditions.   I am especially concerned with the plight of those displaced by conflict in Yemen, and I applaud efforts taken by the Obama administration and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist these displaced persons.   I urge the Government of Yemen and rebel forces to halt hostilities, allow medical and humanitarian aid to reach civilians displaced by conflict, and create an environment that will enable a return to normal life for internally displaced persons in Yemen.  

 

I would like to thank the senior Senator from Indiana, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for cosponsoring this resolution on this important issue.   I ask unanimous consent that the text of this resolution be printed in the Record following my remarks.