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

IN THIS SECTION

Province Ties to the Islamic State Core: Islamic State in Yemen

By Katherine Zimmerman, November 14, 2016

The Islamic State is present in Yemen and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. That reality may well lead U.S. policymakers to see Yemen as a front in the counter–Islamic State fight. That would be a mistake.

Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason

Iran almost certainly played a role in the missile attacks against the USS Mason near the Bab al Mandab Strait on October 9 and October 12. . Iran likely supplied the missiles and, at the very least, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) or Lebanese Hezbollah operatives provided technical expertise and modifications in support of those who launched the attack.

Escalation in the Red Sea: Yemen’s Civil War, Iran, and Saudi Arabia

By Katherine Zimmerman, Emily Estelle, October 14, 2016

The deliberate targeting of U.S. Navy vessels from al Houthi-Saleh–controlled territory is a significant inflection in the Red Sea and a sign that Yemen’s civil war is becoming tangled in regional dynamics and conflicts. It does not make sense when seen in the context of only one the conflicts—the Yemeni civil war, the Iranian-Saudi conflict, and Iran’s more aggressive posturing in the region.

Yemen Frontlines: October 2016

By Katherine Zimmerman, October 6, 2016

The frontlines of Yemen’s civil war have remained relatively fixed because neither side has the military strength to extend its influence significantly beyond the borders of its support base.

Yemen Warning: Sana'a Offensive

By Nicholas Jonsson, Bailey Palmer, July 15, 2016

Yemeni military forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi will likely launch an offensive to seize control of the al Houthi-Saleh—controlled capital, Sana’a, in the coming weeks.

Challenging the Yemeni State: ISIS in Aden and al Mukalla

ISIS is prosecuting a campaign in Yemen designed to elevate its position on the global stage and compete with one of al Qaeda’s strongest affiliates. ISIS will likely surge in Yemen during Ramadan 2016 and attempt to derail ongoing efforts to bring stability and security to southern Yemen.

Signaling Saudi Arabia: Iranian Support to Yemen’s al Houthis

By Katherine Zimmerman, April 15, 2016

Iranian activities in Yemen are not about Yemen. They are, rather, part of the regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran that is now playing out on battlefields and in political and diplomatic arenas throughout the Middle East.

AQAP Expanding behind Yemen's Frontlines

By Katherine Zimmerman, February 17, 2016

AQAP is well on its way to reconstituting the emirate it held in 2011 and 2012 almost unnoticed by the outside world. U.S. airstrikes have had no effect at all on its expansion and have not significantly degraded the group’s ability to target the United States. AQAP is becoming an ever-more serious threat to American national security, and no one is doing much about it.

2016 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports

By The Editors , January 7, 2016

An archive of the 2016 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports.

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.