Shades of Jimmy Carter…Obama Allows Yemeni Dictator in U.S. for Medical Treatment

Saturday, February 04, 2012
Ali Abdullah Saleh
More than 30 years after another American president allowed a fallen Persian Gulf dictator to enter the U.S., President Barack Obama has allowed the ex-ruler of Yemen to visit New York City for medical reasons, provoking protests from those opposed to the decision.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 21 years until he resigned under pressure in November 2011, reportedly arrived in Manhattan last month to receive treatment for wounds sustained in an assassination attempt last June.
Having learned of his whereabouts, activists began protesting this week outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel and demanding that Saleh be kicked out of the country.
The demonstrations offer a reminder of the risks involved when allowing controversial allies into the U.S.
In October 1979, President Jimmy Carter permitted the deposed Shah of Iran to receive medical care at an American hospital. Iranians responded to the decision by storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran and taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Yemen Leader Leaves for Medical Care in New York (by Laura Kasinof, New York Times)

Jimmy Carter and the 1979 Decision to Admit the Shah into the United States (by William Daugherty, American Diplomacy) 


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