Crisis in Yemen and US objectives

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Supporters of the people of Yemen during a demonstration calling for the departure of President Abdullah Ali Saleh and his regime May 13, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Crisis in Yemen and US objectives

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Political negotiations in Yemen have reached an impasse. On May 1, President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign a deal aimed at ending the political unrest that has threatened to further destabilize the state. The prospect of regime change or even state collapse in Yemen undermines the entire basis of U.S. counter-terrorism operations and brings to the fore the danger posed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that has already attempted multiple attacks on U.S. soil.

AEI's Critical Threats Project has conducted the Yemen Strategic Exercise to explore likely scenarios of regime-transition and state-collapse in Yemen in addition to the possible American responses to these scenarios. The first phase of the exercise was to develop a series of intelligence estimates for three possible scenarios:

    1) Peaceful transition of power from Saleh to some successor(s)
    2) Forceful removal of Saleh and regime loyalists by elements of the Yemeni military (escalation ranging from bloodless coup to civil war)
    3) State fragmentation with or without Saleh nominally in charge in Sana’a

The second phase of the exercise is to consider American policy options in response to the most likely and most dangerous scenarios. Briefing slides outlining U.S. objectives in Yemen and identifying strategies for the United States are available to download below.

Download the full report here.

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About the Author

 

Frederick W.
Kagan

 

Katherine
Zimmerman
  • Katherine Zimmerman is a senior analyst and the al Qaeda and Associated Movements Team Lead for the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project. Her work has focused on al Qaeda’s affiliates in the Gulf of Aden region and associated movements in western and northern Africa. She specializes in the Yemen-based group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, al Shabaab. Katherine has testified in front of Congress and briefed Members and congressional staff, as well as members of the defense community. She has written analyses of U.S. national security interests related to the threat from the al Qaeda network for the Weekly Standard, National Review Online, and the Huffington Post, among others. Katherine graduated with distinction from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and Modern Middle East Studies.


     


    Follow Katherine Zimmerman on Twitter.

  • Phone: (202) 828-6023
    Email: katherine.zimmerman@aei.org

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