Considering the fact that Yemen is currently a tinderbox, the prospect of allowing President Saleh into the US for medical treatment is pretty dicey. After all, a similar request from the Shah led to the seizing of our diplomats and a 444 days standoff with the Iranian government.
That is not likely to happen in Yemen. But other scenarios might play out that would be equally bad.
Yemen's president may be able to come to the United States, an Obama administration official said Monday after the U.S. received a request to allow Ali Abdullah Saleh to get medical treatment to recover from injuries sustained in a June 3 bomb blast against his presidential palace.
The request for approval for Saleh to travel to the United States is currently under consideration, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The only reason that travel to the United States by Saleh would be approved would be for legitimate medical treatment, the official said.
Saleh was injured in a blast on the presidential palace in the capital of Sanaa last June. The blast was one of several violent responses between Arab Spring protesters and the hardline regime. Saleh initially went to Saudi Arabia, where he stayed for months recovering from injuries from the attack.
Yemen has been in turmoil since February when demonstrators began protesting against Saleh and calling for his ouster. The Yemeni government responded with force, leaving hundreds of protesters dead and stoking fears of instability. Saleh had not been expected to return after his injuries but surprised many by trying to regain power.
There are a few Americans in Yemen who might be targeted as a result of our letting him in for treatement of his wounds. The Yemeni people are that angry at Saleh and would take it out on any nation that did him any favors.
Perhaps it would be best if he sought treatment elsewhere.