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Documents reveal US pressure on ex-Yemeni regime to agree on normalizing ties with Israel

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Slain Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh (C) (Photo by EPA)

The interior ministry of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has released a series of confidential documents detailing the United States pressure on the administration of former Yemeni dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to normalize relations with Israel and lift the blockade on products made in the Israeli occupied territories.

According to the documents, the US embassy in Sana’a had asked then-Yemeni authorities to end the economic embargo on Israeli goods, and not to participate in any activities deemed harmful to the Tel Aviv regime, the official Yemeni news agency Saba reported.

The papers expose the level of Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s discontent and frustration with the blockade, and how US officials left no stone unturned to force former Yemeni officials into opening the Arab country’s market to Israeli businesses and their products.

The former US ambassador to Yemen, Thomas C. Krajeski, called on Saleh’s regime to lift sanctions on companies with first-, second- or third-degree ties to Israel, which was not turned down by the Yemeni side. 

Then-Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, later told the US ambassador that the so-called embargo on US and Israeli goods was not actually being enforced.

The documents go on to reveal that the US embassy urged the Yemeni foreign ministry not to dispatch representatives to an anti-Israel event at the University of Damascus in Syria.

Moreover, the American diplomat described Yemen’s removal of boycott of Israeli products as the fundamental prerequisite for the Arab state’s membership in the World Trade Organization, and its access to free trade and international investment.

Last month, Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced that Yemeni security forces had arrested a man involved in espionage activities on behalf of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

Saree said in a tweet at the time that more details on the matter will be provided in a documentary entitled “The Spy of Mossad in Yemen.”

The documentary will shed light on part of Israel's intervention in the country and “the plan to target Yemen militarily, and other secrets revealed for the first time,” the senior Yemeni military figure pointed out.

The developments come as earlier reports said that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been working to establish a spy base on Yemen’s strategically-located island of Socotra.

The UAE has also been accused of constructing an air base on the Mayyun Island, situated off the Yemeni coast in the Bab el-Mandeb.

Both activities have drawn strong condemnation from the Yemeni government, which has described them as violation of Yemen's sovereignty and international law, especially following the illegally-run tours to Socotra from Abu Dhabi, some of which included Israeli tourists.

“The transfer of tourists to the Socotra Island reveals the plans and programs of the occupying UAE, which are in line with the Zionist schemes to dominate Yemeni islands as well as the steps towards normalization with the regime,” a statement read back then.

Yemen’s popular Ansaullah resistance movement has previously threatened to attack Israel if it was "involved in any action against Yemeni people.”

The Israeli regime took the threats seriously, and deployed its Iron Dome and Patriot missile systems around the southern city of Eilat early this year.


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