Yemen Protests

Protestor in Yemen. (Photo by Fadi Benni. Available at Flickr.)

The political unrest in Yemen and the prospect of imminent regime change or collapse undermines the entire basis of U.S. counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The U.S. has been relying on an uneasy partnership with President Ali Abdullah Saleh to combat AQAP. State collapse would significantly increase the challenges the U.S. faces in Yemen.

The Critical Threats project is tracking developments in Yemen closely as they unfold.

Data and Analysis

Yemen Crisis Situation Reports updated as needed

The Parallel Revolution in Yemen, March 6, 2012

Recipe for Failure: American Strategy Toward Yemen and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, February 17, 2012

Taiz: The Heart of Yemen's Revolution, January 12, 2012

He's Back: Implications of Saleh's Return to Yemen, AEI's Center for Defense Studies, September 23, 2011

Al Qaeda's Gains in South Yemen, July 8, 2011

Al Qaeda's Yemen Strategy, June 21, 2011

Yemen Slides Toward Civil War, The Weekly Standard, June 3, 2011

Yemen Strategic Exercise

Unrest in Yemen Could Benefit AQAP, The Corner: National Review Online, March 31, 2011

Yemen Protests: U.S. Policy in Crisis, March 23, 2011

Yemen Protest Briefing Packet

Quick Takes

Al Qaeda's Yemen Strategy, June 21, 2011

Update on the Crisis in Yemen, May 16, 2011

Al Qaeda and its Affiliates Exploit Yemen Unrest, April 4, 2011

Yemen Protest Update, March 28, 2011

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Past Event

Crisis in Yemen, the Rise of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and U.S. National Security


AQAP: A Resurgent Threat

By Katherine Zimmerman, CTC Sentinel, September 11, 2015

Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate has been quietly expanding as the country descends further into civil war. It may be one of the few beneficiaries of Yemen’s collapse, other than the Islamic State, which is developing its own Yemeni franchise.

A New Model for Defeating al Qaeda in Yemen

By Katherine Zimmerman, September 10, 2015

The terrorist threat from Yemen is growing. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has expanded and strengthened as the Yemeni state has collapsed. The US must identify a way forward and lead a coordinated regional response in Yemen.

Exploring ISIS in Yemen

By Katherine Zimmerman, July 24, 2015

The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is attempting to expand its footprint in Yemen. A Timestream case study reveals insights into ISIS's reach inside of Yemen.

al Houthi Areas of Influence

By Katherine Zimmerman, July 16, 2015

The al Houthi movement, an armed Zaydi Shi’a group that fought six wars with the Yemeni state between 2004 and 2010, expanded its influence in Yemen considerably in 2014.

Ramadan Bombings in Yemen: Part of ISIS's Global Strategy?

By Alexis Knutsen, June 17, 2015

The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) claimed a coordinated attack in Yemen’s capital hours after it occurred. The timing of ISIS’s spectacular attack may mark the beginning of an ISIS Ramadan offensive in Yemen.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Mid-Level Leadership

By Joshua Koontz, June 3, 2015

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) ability to produce and train new leaders remains unabated despite years of Yemeni and U.S. counterterrorism operations. AQAP’s resilience stems from its formalized mid-level leadership structure with three components: a chain of command, a training and education program, and a consistent promotion process.

2015 Yemen Crisis Situation Report

By The Editors , January 23, 2015

An archive of the 2015 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports.

Saudi Unit Deployments to the Yemeni Border (Jizan, Asir, and Najran Regions)

By Charles Caris, June 2, 2015

Saudi military deployments to the Yemeni border since Operation Decisive Storm (now Operation Restoring Hope) was launched on March 25, 2015, are drawn from both Royal Saudi Land Forces and Saudi Arabian National Guard units.

Desknote: The Growing Threat of ISIS in Yemen

By Joshua Koontz, May 6, 2015

Groups claiming loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) are emerging throughout Yemen. It is unknown whether these pro-ISIS groups have ties to ISIS in Iraq and whether they operate together or independently. The groups call themselves wilayats (provinces) following standard ISIS practice. There are seven known wilayats operating in ten Yemeni provinces: Sa’ada, Sana’a, al Jawf, al Bayda, Taiz, Ibb, Lahij, Aden, Shabwah, and Hadramawt.

2015 Saudi-led Intervention in Yemen: Order of Battle

By Charles Caris, April 23, 2015

This Order of Battle (ORBAT) describes the structure and placement of the Saudi-led coalition forces involved in Operations Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope in Yemen.