No Plans To Evacuate (At This Time)

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In 2006, the U.S. State Department helped organize a mass evacuation of U.S. citizens from Lebanon during the Hezbollah-Israel war. However, currently, there seems no similar urgency on the part of the U.S. to evacuate a far smaller number of U.S. citizens from Yemen. Lawsuits have even been filed challenging the government’s not doing so.

As of April 11, this is what the Department of State has to say:

Yemen Crisis Update, April 11, 2015
Yemen Crisis Update, April 11, 2015

The page continues in sharing how Americans can perhaps leave courtesy of “third party” assistance, such as India’s:

U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens in Yemen about an Indian ship.
U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens in Yemen about an Indian ship.

Yes, really: There’s an Indian naval ship available today; but we don’t know who you should ask about it.

The why behind the inaction is unclear. Could it be because Americans had been told for some time NOT to visit Yemen owing to the ongoing civil unrest there (read: they are there at their own risk), and that evacuating them now could be even more dangerous to them than staying where they are? As to the latter, many other countries – such as India and Jordan – have organized citizen evacuations.

Screen capture of tweet by  Director of Jordan Information Bureau in Washington, D.C.
Screen capture of tweet by Director of Jordan Information Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Interestingly, the 2006 Lebanon evacuation followed U.S. citizens having also been urged for years (probably since at least 1975-76) not to visit the country. (And they are still advised not to do so.) Moreover there were also similar “safety” arguments against evacuation that could have been made – and indeed they were. But, in the end, the Lebanon evacuation was carried out.

So we will see if the Obama administration’s position on a U.S. organized evacuation of U.S. citizens (it is the President who directs it to happen) from Yemen changes in coming days.

The State Department provides a regularly updated web page of countries that the U.S. considers problematic (either in whole, or in regions) for U.S. citizens to visit, and reasons why they should not. Just click on any of the countries for a depressing read. As of today, here it is:

Screen capture, U.S. State Department "Alerts and Warnings" home page.
Screen capture, U.S. State Department “Alerts and Warnings” home page.

If you also feel like perusing a global list of “weak/ failed states” (where government is ineffective to almost non-existent) that sadly provides a pretty good summation of them as well.

Further thoughts?

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