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Yemen

Conditions in Yemen have changed with the onset of the Arab Spring. Political unrest has created openings for the country’s established opposition movements – including al Qaeda – to maneuver for power. Whether the Arab Spring has brought real regime change in Yemen is unclear. While the international community awaits a fully functional government in the capital of Sana’a, al Qaeda may continue to expand its safe haven in the south. Learn more about the challenges in Yemen.

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Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi group wave their weapons as they gather at the group's camp near Sanaa September 10, 2014.

It’s time the US assesses how the al Houthis’ de-facto control of the Yemeni government affects our current strategy to combat AQAP.

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The killing of an American hostage in Yemen is increasing calls for the White House to change its strategy in dealing with terror groups in the Middle East. Relying on airstrikes and local ground forces to target the terrorist leadership have not been effective. Perhaps, it is time for the White House to change its approach.

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Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is threatening to kill an American hostage should the United States fail to meet its demands within three days.

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Image Credit: sunsinger / Shutterstock.com

Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate carried out coordinated suicide bombings on Thursday. The attacks could throw America’s counterterrorism policy there into crisis.

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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.

 

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Image Credit: sunsinger / Shutterstock.com

An armed Yemeni opposition group seized parts of the capital and pressured the Yemeni government to concede to a list of demands, including the resignation of the cabinet. These events underscore one of the many weaknesses of the so-called “Yemen model” this weekend.

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People look at damage caused by a bomb explosion near the house of Muslim Shi'ite Houthi leader Al-Murtadha Bin Zaid Al-Muhatwari in Sanaa July 12, 2014. No casualties were reported, according to police sources. Lawlessness in Yemen is a global concern as it is home to one of al Qaeda's most active wings.

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.

 

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Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi group wave their weapons as they gather at the group's camp near Sanaa September 10, 2014.

 

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.

 

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Image Credit: By U.S Defense Department, Wikimedia Commons

The United States needs Yemen to stay focused on defeating AQAP, but the charged atmosphere in the capital makes it possible for a seventh war to start with the al Houthis.

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For AQAP, any Sunni victory, even at the hands of a competitor, is a step in the right direction.

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