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

Sana'a Under Siege: Yemen's Uncertain Future

By Alexis Knutsen, September 25, 2014

The al Houthi siege on Sana’a on September 21 sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to the repartition of Yemen. The al Houthis, whether intentionally or not, have set Yemen on a path that puts the existence of an essential U.S. counterterrorism partner on the table.

Obama's Counterterrorism Strategy Is Already Failing

President Obama strategy’s against the Islamic State is based on what the U.S. is doing in Yemen, combining targeted airstrikes with support for a local partner, a counterterrorism strategy which Obama claims has been successful and has made the U.S. safer. Unfortunately, those claims are not accurate.

Don't Replicate the Failure of Yemen

President Obama held up America’s strategy in Yemen as a model for the counterterrorism strategy he intends to pursue in Iraq and Syria. By doing so, he committed to a strategy of targeting terrorists from the air and supporting local security forces in their counterterrorism fight.

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.