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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen…and your Kevlar vest

The Yemeni Government has proudly proclaimed from the roof top of the highest armory:

“2005 is the Year of Tourism in Yemen”
No kidding.

Yemen, vipers nest for terrorism bred in tribal conflict of destitute squalor. Yemen, port where terrorists blew a hole in the side of the USS Cole, land where 650 pounds of plastic explosives were recovered in the warehouse of Sanaa the capital, location from which the bombing of a French Oil Tanker off the Yemeni coast was planned, and the murders of three American missionaries took place with little fanfare.

Yemen, where over 100 al-Qaeda sympathizers and members were voluntarily released by the Yemeni Government as long as they promised to stay out of trouble. Yemen, a troubled country with 20 million in total population that hold over 60 million firearms. Yemen, where it is not uncommon to travel into the hills and see 10 year-olds with AK-47’s guarding the primary agricultural product of the region, a narcotic called Qat.

But, overlook that just for a second because. 2005 is the year of Tourism in Yemen.

And, in all fairness, Yemen is not the single parcel of land that you might assume.
They hold a plethora of rather beautiful islands that could, indeed, be a vacation “mecca” of sorts. The current plan is to acquire investors to develop vacation resorts in a series of 183 islands throughout the Red and Arabian Seas and in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

In a move to emphasize Yemen’s commitment to make the year 2005 the year for a booming tourism sector, the government had offered 183 islands in the Red and Arabian Seas and in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to investors willing to use the fascinating natural beauty and strategic location to establish tourist projects.
( continued )

Of course, they gave this a shot back in 1998 as well. However, it didn’t work out so well.

A United Kingdom company had taken the Yemeni Government up on a similar resort development in the Zuqar and Hunaish islands. It might be thriving today if it weren’t for that little issue with the Eritrean Government. Whacked-out dictator, Issayas Afeworki decided to invade the Hanish islands in the Red Sea to call his own.

He left eventually, but I can’t say I blame the Brits for pulling up stakes. Beach volleyball is usually more fun sans land mines and “bottle rockets.”

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