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

Warning: AQAP's Looming Threat in Yemen

By Alexis Knutsen, Katherine Zimmerman, August 14, 2014

The horrific images and story of 14 murdered soldiers that came out of Yemen on August 8 pale in comparison to those coming from Iraq and Syria. Yet they may presage the emergence of a renewed threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that the U.S and Yemen are ill-prepared to handle.

Yemen Model Won't Work in Iraq, Syria

President Obama says the United States is looking to its Yemen policy as a model for what to do in Iraq and Syria. But what the president labels the “Yemen model” has not been as successful as the White House claims; indeed, it is in danger of collapse.

AQAP's Campaign against the Yemeni Military

By Katherine Zimmerman, July 7, 2014

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues its military operations in Yemen. It would be premature to expect a large-scale offensive, but it would also be a mistake to rule out the possibility of a series of significant attacks that could unhinge the Yemeni security forces.

Yemen's Counter-Terrorism Quandary

By Alexis Knutsen, June 26, 2014

Yemeni efforts since 2011 have reduced AQAP’s control, but the escalating conflict with the al Houthis threatens to divert key resources away from the counter-terrorism fight once again.

Yemen's Pivotal Moment

By Katherine Zimmerman, February 12, 2014

Yemen is at a pivotal moment today, three years after the outbreak of popular protests, and the future of America’s strategy against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is on the line.

Mutiny in the Yemeni Military

By Sasha Gordon, July 10, 2013

The Yemeni military has long been weakened by corruption, fragmentation, and instances of insubordination, but in the past year and a half its soldiers have been bucking orders and casting out commanders at an increasingly faster rate. If this trend continues to accelerate, it risks knocking out a vital pillar of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

A New Wave of Military Restructuring Decrees in Yemen

By Sasha Gordon, April 11, 2013

The Yemeni National Transitional Government yesterday issued eight decrees that are aimed at restructuring and unifying this weakened Yemeni military. It will be important to watch whether powerbrokers within the security forces accept the new decisions and whether the Yemeni security forces become a truly reliable partner in the fight against AQAP.

Desknote: The Southern Movement Uprising

By Sasha Gordon, February 28, 2013

Yemen’s fragile and reversible gains against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are threatened by a new challenge:  the re-emergence of a violent secessionist movement in the south.

Tribal Militias in Yemen: Al Bayda and Shabwah

By Sasha Gordon, February 7, 2013

Local Yemeni tribal militias, called “popular resistance committees,” are now the primary defenders of areas threatened by Ansar al Sharia. These militias have been effective, but are not reliable in the long term.

Yemen's Military Restructuring: Removing Saleh's Network

By Katherine Zimmerman, Sasha Gordon, December 20, 2012

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a series of decrees yesterday that served to both restructure Yemen’s security forces and to remove remnants of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s network from official command positions.