Quick Take: A Missed Opportunity in Yemen?

February 4, 2010

The United States currently depends upon the Yemeni government to combat al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group responsible for the Christmas Day attack.  Much of Yemen’s security forces, however, are bogged down fighting a domestic insurgency in the north of the country called the al Houthi rebellion.  It is in America’s interest that the al Houthi conflict be brought to an end so that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh can reallocate his forces to fight AQAP.  It appears that earlier this week, Saleh may have missed a reasonable opportunity to do just that.

The leader of the al Houthi insurgency has indicated a willingness to comply with cease-fire conditions laid forth by President Saleh.  Saleh has rejected the al Houthi’s offer and vowed to continue fighting.  Saleh’s decision begs the question: “Is there any settlement of the conflict Saleh will accept other than the annihilation of the insurgents?”

Critical Threats takes a look at the circumstances surrounding Saleh’s decision and the ramifications it has on America’s national security.