Trying to repress my cynical nature is always arduous when the French are involved. However, France signing a military pact with Yemen
just may be a positive act.
Yemen is not too far displaced from the mid-1800's of the United States. The "Wild West" demeanor and widespread poverty has led to tribal conflicts, and commonplace smuggling of illegal wares. Additionally, and most importantly, the inability of law enforcement to properly address the growing crime brought on by adverse living conditions has led to a hotbed of radical Islamic fundamentalism (terrorist harboring).
With the current resources available to the Yemen Govt. there were not going to be too many changes to that scenario regardless of the intentions of the country's leaders.
Enter the French.
Under the new agreement signed by France and Yemen:
1. Radar will be set up and improved to assist in the deterrent of smuggling ships and planes
2. Joint naval exercises between France and Yemen will work to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
3. Joint Special Forces training on Yemeni Mountain Forces will better prepare troops to address rural threats, smuggling, as well as terrorist camps.
4. Arming of six gunboats sold by France to Yemen previously to assist in combating arms trade and drug trade.
While all of the above could be the advantageous to the "War on Terrorists," I can't help hearing a little voice in the back of my pointy head saying "Come on, it's the French." Perhaps there is an ulterior motive, because there usually is. There are a number of schemes that come to mind.
Perhaps French involvement in one of the most backward communities of South East Asia is to deter the US from taking aggressive actions to remedy the situation. Although, Yemen really hasn't been on the Bush Administration's radar of late. Perhaps, there are economic considerations related to petroleum products, which wouldn't be too far outside of the realm of possibility.
|Or, there is always the chance that France is considering large investments into the Yemeni Islands in an effort to develop a vacation Mecca of sorts. That might sound a bit far fetched. However, Yemen, is clearly advertising for investors into their string of Red Sea Islands.|
They are attempting to create a resort community throughout their island tracts in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. The first step in luring investors is the perception of safety and stability.
Perhaps France is making a solid effort to assist Yemen in combating crime and terrorism. Or, perhaps they are just anticipating an economic opportunity with a perceived "new colony" flavor. After all, when it comes to the mentality of Old Europe, perception is "9/10's of the flaw."