YemenMarch 24, 2015
“The U.S. military is in the process of evacuating about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase in Yemen due to that country’s deteriorating security situation, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN. Those being evacuated are the last American troops stationed in the Arab nation, which is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist group also known as AQAP. The United States closed its embassy in Sanaa last month, after Houthi rebels took over the Yemeni capital.”
This is an expected but dangerous development. A country that started to get attention years ago with the attack on the USS Cole has evolved into a terrorist bastion that shares a long border with Saudi Arabia.
American policy is unclear and may be just “watch and wait.” Meanwhile, the Sunni-Shia schism in Islam becomes more widespread and bloodier. Until now mosques that allowed mixed Sunni-Shia prayer had appeared to be “off limits” to terrorists from either faction. ISIL’s Yemeni associates have changed that situation permanently.
Protracted religious wars have been around throughout history. They seem interminable while underway. They resolve only after one side is exhausted. And those who intervene tend to become casualties themselves. Has America learned this lesson? The answer will be revealed in Washington, where our broken political system seems to evolve ever-more dysfunctional means and methods.
Will markets start to add a geopolitical risk premium of some additional amount due to Washington’s ineptitude? Can monetary policy blunt that risk?
Meanwhile, numerous other extraordinary factors abound. Lunch discussion today was private. We focused on credit, opacity, transparency, the deception inherent in ZIRP and NIRP and how all this will play out.
Simply put: none of us have a crystal ball, so we are all guessing.
The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and they should not be perceived as investment advice or as any other kind of advice.
The preceding is a commentary by Cumberland Advisors and has been reposted with permission. Cumberland Advisors commentaries are available at http://www.cumber.com/commentary_archive.aspx.
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