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On May 1, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign a deal aimed at ending nearly four months of political upheaval threatening to destabilize the country. The prospect of regime change or even state collapse in Yemen undermines the entire basis of American counterterrorism operations there and brings to the fore the danger posed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group which has already attempted multiple attacks on US soil. Nonetheless, the United States has not developed a coherent strategic approach toward Yemen. What is likely to happen in Yemen? How will it impact AQAP's ability to attack the homeland? And what should US policy be?
Registration and Breakfast
CHRISTOPHER BOUCEK, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
EDMUND J. HULL, Former US Ambassador to Yemen
KATHERINE ZIMMERMAN, AEI
FREDERICK W. KAGAN, AEI
Question and Answer
American Enterprise Institute
Edmund J. Hull is a former ambassador to Yemen, sent after 9/11 and serving until mid-2004. Previously, he served Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as deputy, then acting, coordinator for counterterrorism in the Department of State. A career foreign service officer, he was also director for peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs, deputy chief of mission in Cairo, director for Near East affairs on the National Security Council, and director for Northern Gulf affairs (Iraq and Iran) during Operation Desert Storm. He was appointed the Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School's first diplomat-in-residence after departing Yemen. Ambassador Hull's views on Yemen have been featured on 60 Minutes, CNN, the New York Times, and Al Jazeera. His op-ed "Al Qaeda's Shadowland" ran in the New York Times on January 11, 2010. He is the author of High-Value Target: Countering Al Qaeda in Yemen (Potomac Books, April 2011).
Katherine Zimmerman is an analyst and the Gulf of Aden Team Lead for AEI's Critical Threats Project. Her work at AEI has focused on al Qaeda and its associated movements in the Gulf of Aden. Ms. Zimmerman specializes in the Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab. She has conducted briefings for congressional staffers and published analyses of US national security interests in Yemen and Somalia. Ms. Zimmerman graduated with distinction from Yale University with a BA in political science and modern Middle East studies.
Frederick W. Kagan is a resident scholar in defense and security policy studies and director of the Critical Threats Project at AEI. In 2009, he served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of General Stanley McChrystal's strategic assessment team, and he returned to Afghanistan in 2010 to conduct research for General David Petraeus. He is coauthor of the report Defining Success in Afghanistan (AEI and the Institute for the Study of War, 2010) and author of the series of reports Choosing Victory (AEI), which recommended and monitored the US military surge in Iraq. His most recent book is Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields (AEI Press, 2010). Previously an associate professor of military history at West Point, Mr. Kagan is a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and has written for Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times
and other periodicals.