Backlash Against U.S. Marine Deployment in Yemen
The U.S. dispatched an emergency team of Marines to help secure the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a over the weekend, despite a statement by the Yemeni parliament that rejected “any foreign forces in Yemen, be it small or big forces, …for any reason.” Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi ultimately relented and allowed U.S. Marines to enter the country “for a limited amount of time,” but local reaction to the increased U.S. presence in Yemen was overwhelmingly negative. Journalist Nasser Arrabyee noted that the “majority of Yemenis on Facebook and Twitter said allowing American forces in Yemen would only increase al-Qaeda terrorists.” U.S. officials put the number of “rapid-response” troops at 50, but Yemeni sources claimed that more than 200 Marines had arrived in Sana’a since the protests there last week.
Anti-American sentiment was again on display on September 17, when the al-Houthi tribal delegation reportedly walked out of a National Dialogue meeting as American Ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein entered the room. Feierstein has been a lightning-rod for criticism in Yemen as U.S. drone strikes increased over the past year, and he was again singled out by angry protesters at the U.S. Embassy last Thursday. Thirteen protesters have been detained by the Yemeni Interior Ministry in relation to that incident, but Ali al-Kamaly, a Yemeni youth activist said that the embassy protests were just the beginning. “The [anti-Islam] movie was just the drop that inundated the beaker…peoples’ beliefs, rights and lives are the true redline,” he said.