The Yemenite people, a proud, poor lot who seem to have lost out in the black gold underneath the desert sands sweepstakes, have been living with drought for the past few years. Their subsistence and export (coffee) crops, and even their qat — the leaf they chew to endure the tedium of being shepherds, isn’t growing. According to this NPR story, their leaders are a little peeved that U.S. food aid has not been forthcoming. Apparently our government cancelled it when they released a lot of convicted Islamist terrorists including some responsible for the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. Imagine that? Actions have consequences.
So, in a threat more thinly veiled than the local women, a wily Cabinet officer suggested to the reporter that, “This is a very dangerous time,” adding that he hopes the U.S. and other developed countries will realize that “economic strife can lead to radicalization.”
As I said last night, I am a bleeding heart, and, worse still, one who is a sucker for the dignity of these dagger wearing desert tribesmen and women, whose lives are so much harsher than most of ours. And yet — this is a crisis for the Saudis. They’re rich. They can send food. And maybe they can remind their desert cousins about the old “biting the hand that feeds you” aphorism.