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Yemen on the Brink

Yemen on the Brink

CHRISTOPHER BOUCEK
MARINA OTTAWAY
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 110
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpjfk
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  • Book Info
    Yemen on the Brink
    Book Description:

    Yemen is facing a unique confluence of crises. A civil war in the North, a secessionist movement in the South, and a resurgence of al Qaeda are unfolding against the background of economic collapse, insufficient state capacity, and governance and corruption issues.

    The security challenges are the most important in the short run, because economic and governance issues cannot be addressed without a minimum of stability. This volume brings together analyses of the critical problems that have dragged Yemen close to state failure. It provides an assessment of Yemen's major security challenges by recognized experts, and it broadens the discussion of the tools available to the international community to pull Yemen back from the brink. Separate chapters examine the resurgence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the complex relationship between al Qaeda and the Yemini tribes, the Southern secessionist movement, and the civil war in Saada.

    Contents include

    • Yemen: Avoiding a Downward Spiral

    • What Comes Next in Yemen? Al-Qaeda, the Tribes, and State-Building

    • The Political Challenge of Yemen's Southern Movement

    • War in Saada: From Local Insurrection to National Challenge

    • Instrumentalizing Grievances: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

    Contributors include Sarah Phillips (Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney), Stephen Day (Rollins College), and Alistair Harris (RUSI and former diplomat and UN staff member).

    eISBN: 978-0-87003-329-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. [Map]
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-x)
    Jessica T. Mathews

    Yemen faces an alarming confluence of challenges to its stability and that of its neighbors, and poses a real threat to the security of countries as far away as the United States. Dire economic circumstances, including poverty, unemployment, inflation, and the depletion of natural resources are compounded by the country’s addiction to qat—a widely produced and consumed stimulant—as well as the serious security threats of smuggling, religious and tribal conflict, terrorism, and war. Yemen has them all.

    This volume presents groundbreaking new analysis of Yemen’s most pressing concerns, for the benefit of Western policy makers and other readers...

  5. YEMEN: AVOIDING A DOWNWARD SPIRAL
    (pp. 1-30)
    Christopher Boucek

    Yemen is beset by a host of challenges that endanger both its domestic stability and regional security. The United States and the international community must act now, before conditions deteriorate further, to help Yemen meet these challenges. While Yemen has survived crises in the past, they have tended to be singular events, while the many problems it now faces are unprecedented in range and scope.

    The problems include international terrorism, violent extremism, religious and tribal conflict, separatism, and transnational smuggling. Attempts to build effective national governance are frustrated by porous borders, a heavily armed population, and a historical absence of...

  6. EXPLOITING GRIEVANCES: AL-QAEDA IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
    (pp. 31-44)
    Alistair Harris

    There is a consensus that Yemeni, regional, and international security is threatened by AQAP. In a recent (February 2010) edition of AQAP’s bimonthly e-magazineSada al-Malahim(The Echo of Epic Battles), an author using the nom de plume Hamil al-Misk (The Musk Bearer) emphasized that the organization had now moved from a defensive to an offensive mode of operation:

    We bring to our nation the good news that the mujahideen passed the stage of defense and repulsion of the aggression to the stage where they can take initiatives and attack.¹

    Following the attempted assassination of Saudi Assistant Minister of Interior...

  7. WAR IN SAADA: FROM LOCAL INSURRECTION TO NATIONAL CHALLENGE
    (pp. 45-60)
    Christopher Boucek

    Since 2004 the Yemeni government has been mired in a militarily unwinnable, sporadic civil conflict against the Houthis, a group of Shi’i Zaidi revivalists in the northern governorate of Saada. The war has had a disproportionate toll on noncombatants and has led to a widespread humanitarian crisis: More than 250,000 people have been displaced, and significant civilian infrastructure has been destroyed. There is no good data on casualties, but estimates of the number killed range from several hundred to several thousand. The war has not improved security and stability in Yemen; rather, it has exposed greater vulnerabilities for the regime,...

  8. THE POLITICAL CHALLENGE OF YEMENʹS SOUTHERN MOVEMENT
    (pp. 61-74)
    Stephen Day

    Three opposition groups threaten the stability of Yemen, and possibly its survival within its current borders. The two more menacing groups—al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the armed Houthi rebellion—have received the lion’s share of international attention. But foreign observers should look more closely at the third, the Southern Movement, which has recently been undergoing a radical transformation. When the Southern Movement surfaced in 2007, its demands were moderate: equality with citizens in the nation’s North; jobs; greater local decision-making power; and more control over the South’s economic resources, including Yemen’s largest oil field at al-Maseela in...

  9. WHAT COMES NEXT IN YEMEN? AL-QAEDA, THE TRIBES, AND STATE-BUILDING
    (pp. 75-90)
    Sarah Phillips

    News that the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit was tied to al-Qaeda in Yemen brought a flurry of frontpage articles warning that the fractious Arab state might become the next Afghanistan. Could al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) bring about the collapse of the fragile Yemeni government and usher in a Taliban-style regime? Is Yemen becoming the next base from which al-Qaeda will target the West?

    Western policy makers are scrambling to be seen as responding decisively to the crisis, offering increased military assistance, development aid, or some combination thereof. Foreign intervention presents opportunities...

  10. STABILIZING A FAILING STATE
    (pp. 91-100)
    Marina Ottaway and Christopher Boucek

    The preceding analytical essays on Yemen, written by authors with extensive field research experience in the different regions of the country, converge toward strikingly similar conclusions: Yemen today is a state at risk of failure not because it has been targeted by a single, coordinated assault on its survival, but because it faces a set of disparate threats, each resulting from an accumulation of specific grievances with different causes. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Houthi rebels, the Southern Movement, and even some tribes oppose the government and literally are up in arms against it for their own distinct political...

  11. INDEX
    (pp. 101-108)
  12. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 109-110)
  13. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    (pp. 111-112)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 113-113)