[Asharq Al-Awsat] In your opinion, why do they keep repeating the chant of “Death to America, Death to Israel” while they are not serious in implementing this slogan?
[Feierstein] I think that for one reason or another, they believe that the slogan helps in obtaining support. As you know, however, it is not bringing them any support I believe that they are doing so in view of their contacts with Iran.
It is entirely possible that the Ambassador, a counter-terrorism expert, was merely engaging in diplomacy-speak and is well aware of the terroristic dangers that abound in Yemen.
Later in the Asharq Al-Awsat interview, Feierstein’s interlocutor asked him about people saying he is really the President of Yemen. Again, Feierstein laughed off the dangerous suggestion, but there are many websites that assert that Feierstein is actually “a defacto new ruler of the Muslim Shia majority country (52%)” of Pakistan.
Feierstein and President Obama were both criticized by Yemenis for allowing the former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh who was deposed in the wake of the “Arab Spring,” into the U.S. for medical treatment. Saleh is accused of being responsible for the brutal deaths of hundreds of protesters.
State Department spokesperson Mark Velasco told the New York Daily News on Tuesday, January 1, that “U.S. forces in Yemen were ready to face the threats made by Al Qaeda toward Feierstein and U.S. soldiers there.” He said, “We take these threats very seriously. Our embassy in Yemen already operates in a highly sensitive and difficult situation. We continue to support the government, military and people of Yemen.”
Feierstein most recently visited the U.S. in October, when he accompanied a delegation of Yemeni businessmen on a six-city tour of the country, with stops in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Houston and San Francisco.
Feierstein was born and raised in Philadelphia.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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