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    Default The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security

    The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security

    Entry Excerpt:

    The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute.

    Yemen is not currently a failed state, but it is experiencing huge political and economic problems that can have a direct impact on U.S. interests in the region. It has a rapidly expanding population with a resource base that is limited and already leaves much of the current population in poverty. The government obtains around a third of its budget revenue from sales of its limited and declining oil stocks, which most economists state will be exhausted by 2017. Yemen also has critical water shortages and a variety of interrelated security problems. In Sa’ada province in Yemen’s northern mountainous region, there has been an intermittent rebellion by Houthi tribesmen (now experiencing a cease-fire) who accuse the government of discrimination and other actions against their Zaydi Shi’ite religious sect. In southern Yemen, a powerful independence movement has developed which is mostly nonviolent but is increasingly angry and confrontational.
    More recently, Yemen has emerged as one of the most important theaters for the struggle against al-Qaeda. Yemen is among the worst places on earth to cede to al-Qaeda in this struggle, but it is also an especially distrustful and wary nation in its relationship with Western nations and particularly the United States. All of these problems are difficult to address because the central government has only limited capacity to extend its influence into tribal areas beyond the capital and major cities. The United States must therefore do what it can to support peaceful resolutions of Yemen’s problems with the Houthis and Southern Movement while continuing to assist the government’s struggle against al-Qaeda forces in Yemen. It must further pursue these policies in ways that avoid provoking a backlash among the Yemeni population which will not tolerate significant numbers of U.S. combat troops in Yemen.
    The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security.



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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Yemen: all you want (2011-2015)

    President Saleh abandoned by his own tribe

    SANAA, Yemen – The U.S.-backed president of Yemen suffered a devastating political blow on Sunday when his own powerful tribe demanded his resignation, joining religious leaders, young people and the country's traditional opposition in calls for an end to his three decades in power.

    Massive crowds flooded cities and towns around the impoverished and volatile nation, screaming in grief and anger as they mourned dozens of protesters killed Friday when President Ali Abdullah Saleh's security forces opened fire from rooftops on a demonstration in the capital.

    Saleh appeared to be trying to hold on, firing his entire Cabinet ahead of what one government official said was a planned mass resignation, but making no mention of stepping down himself. Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations and its human rights minister had announced their resignations earlier in the day.

    Experts said that Saleh, who has cooperated closely with U.S. military operations against his country's branch of al-Qaida, had lost the support of every major power base in Yemen except the military ...
    Interesting that the collapse in Saleh's support has come about due to indiscriminate violence on the part of regime supporters. Makes a remarkable contrast with the situation in Bahrain.

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    The Hashid is a tribal confederation not a tribe per se. It's leader and member tribes have on many occasions in the past "abandoned" Saleh only to renegotiate their government largesse. Salih's own tribe is the Sanhan (IIRC) and he was ften mocked (when I was there) for comming from a Zaidi background.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    And now the Army is abandoning Saleh.

    The editor from the Yemen Post is on al-Jazeera saying that this is part of a negotiated deal to form a national emergency government which will allow Saleh to step down peacefully.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Moderator's Note

    There is a previous thread on Yemen, 'Yemen - a catch all thread for 2010' which was started in 2010 and has the background to the current events:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9328

    I have also moved the new thread to the Middle East area of Conflicts, where IMHO it sits better.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    The end of Saleh will not be the end of Yemen, or the end of Yemen's problems. New chapter, maybe, but I suspect that it will read much like the last one.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The end of Saleh will not be the end of Yemen, or the end of Yemen's problems. New chapter, maybe, but I suspect that it will read much like the last one.
    So long as Saudi Arabia is broken, Yemen will be broken as well. I think too often we see fixing problems in Yemen as the key to solving problems in Saudi Arabia. I would argue that it is the other way around. It is only once the Saudi government has committed to the substantive and reasonable reforms desired by the moderate majority of their populace that we will see an end to the disruptive presence in Yemen of their radical minority.

    It is this backward thinking by the US that has had us piling on more and more capacity building and CT efforts in Yemen over the past several years. We attack the symptoms.

    Hopefully Yemen can begin a transition as well to a government that is more responsive to its populace; but with the Saudi problem looming over them, they will never be able to find true stability. As to AQ? They are just Eddie Haskell, conducting UW and stirring up trouble. The AQ problem will fade as well once these governance issues finally either evolve or revolve. Which one occurs is really up to the government. If they continue to refuse the first, the people will force the second upon them.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Registered User coffinman82's Avatar
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    Default Yemen factional control

    So the government of Yemen has lost control of 6 provinces. I know of for sure Abyan lost to AQAP cause they declared it a Emirate today, and Saa'na to the Houthis... My question is this: what other provinces have been lost and to whom?

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    Registered User coffinman82's Avatar
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    Default found some more info

    http://kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/...30/13976.shtml

    I'm happy to announce that the brothers of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have captured Abyan province. With the support of the Tribal elders and the Muslims in the area they have captured the whole province.

    The Mujahideen have seized all military bases including a weapon factory. After the Mujahideen captured the province, thousands moved on the streets to celebrate this great victory with the Mujahideen.

    There are reports that the Tribal elders have declared the "Islamic Emirate of Abyan" and that the Mujahideen are preparing to move to the neighboring provinces
    .

    Abyan borders the province of Shabwa on the east (see Wikipedia map).

    The Yemeni correspondent of the Ansar Forum also reported that on March 28 the Mujahideen liberated another town, a strategically vital Al-Khotu in the province of Shabwa. The correspondent pointed out that the Mujahideen are patrolling the streets.

    Earlier, a pro-Western news-agency, Arab News, reported that puppet regime in Yemen had already lost control of several provinces, in particularly, the four important provinces of Saada, Jawf, Abyan and Shabwa.

    The northern province of Saada is under control of the Houthis, and, according to the news agency, the province of Shabwa is under the control of the so-called "South Yemen Movement."

    All four major districts of the province: Nessab, Al-Saaed, Haban and Maevaa are under the control of the South Yemen Movement." The groups' weapons come from former police camps.

    The control of the puppet government only extends over the provincial capital, Ataq, and the province of Bayhan.

    The agency also reported news that state security forces, which fought against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Shabwa, no longer exist. The US "suspects" that the world famous Islamic scholar Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen, is living in Shabwa Mountains.

    Meanwhile, a local puppet government news agency reported that the Mujahideen of AQAP carried out a raid against government buildings, a local television station and clashed with the military in the province of Jaar. Earlier the Mujahideen of AQAP confiscated weapons from an arms depot."

    so while thats most of the info, its not complete still..
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-01-2011 at 07:58 AM. Reason: Citation in quotes

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffinman82 View Post
    So the government of Yemen has lost control of 6 provinces. I know of for sure Abyan lost to AQAP cause they declared it a Emirate today, and Saa'na to the Houthis
    The Yemeni government never really "controlled" anything outside of the major cities (excepting Aden which was always a YSP stronghold, in fact the North/South divide was never dealt with); Hadramout, for instance, was never under government control (which see, for instance, Paul Dresch's Tribes, Government and History...sorry can't find a link). The "provinces" are controlled by tribal confederations who nominally pay allegance to the centre (Saleh Gov./regime) in return for largesse. That many of them may now be "abandoning" him may not simply be because they have "sided" with the "opposition" (whatever that inchoate entity may be). Tribes have a habit of hedging their bets but they will almost always follow, in Yemen, with the Hashid do. Actually, the Hashid as a bloc (they often, confusingly, threw their support behind both the GPC and Islah ath the same time!) has been lukewarm to Saleh ever since the elder al-Ahmar was replaced upon his death by his son (Sadeq Al-Ahmar) who, from what I've heard, has always hated Saleh's guts but was kept in line by his old man. AQ and it's affiliates have regularly declared their AOs as "emirates" that doesn't necessarily make them such (ever heard of the Caucasus Emirate? The fact they declared it doesn't make it "real" which is not to say such things don't pose a threat left to their own devices).

    Sana'a's been lost to the houthi's? Oh, you don't mean Sa'ada by any chance?
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 04-01-2011 at 12:32 PM. Reason: fix links

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    Registered User coffinman82's Avatar
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    have you seen my avatar or profile pic? of course i've heard of the Caucasus Emirate. (RIP Supyan) yes, i meant sa'dah. my bad, but i wasn't really looking for criticism or the kind of information you replied with. its not useful to me.

    1. Sadah under Houthi control
    2. Abyan under AQAP control
    3. Jawf under Houthi control
    4. Shabwa under South Yemen Movement control
    5. ?
    6. ?

    i sound like im being an ass but im not tryin to be sorry

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Politics and youth

    As Yemen lurches along understanding what is happening and what is likely is needed, so I found these two different comments useful:

    A Yemeni finale or another of Saleh’s crescendos?:http://www.opendemocracy.net/james-s...99s-crescendos

    Yemen's perilous change, which looks at:
    The fundamental question is whether the unrest can succeed in addressing the aspirations of Yemen’s youth, or further empower its entrenched tribal leaders.
    and link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/fatima-...erilous-change
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    SANAA, Yemen -- Yemen's capital city sank toward anarchy Tuesday as rival armies fought pitched battles in a neighborhood of middle-class homes and government offices in the worst violence to sweep this city since anti-government protests began nearly four months ago.

    Forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelled the compound of the country's leading tribal sheikh, while forces loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al Ahmar stormed nearby government buildings.

    By Tuesday evening, the Interior Ministry was in flames and the Ministry of Industry and the offices of Yemenia Airlines and the Saba news agency were severely damaged. Transiting the city was nearly impossible, and many people were trapped away from their homes as night fell.

    At least 38 people were killed Tuesday, including one tribal sheikh taking part in mediation efforts at Ahmar's house.

    "It is total war," said one resident of the district where Ahmar's house is located, describing both sides as leveling heavy artillery and rocket-propelled grenades at one another. "It is even worse than yesterday."
    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/2...#ixzz1NKMDUZEE
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Armed men are reported to have taken control of a provincial capital in the unsettled south of Yemen. Government officials and residents said fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were among those who seized Zinjibar, in Abyan province. But opponents said President Ali Abdullah Saleh had given up the town to stoke fears of a militant takeover.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13585912
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    SANA, Yemen — Yemen appeared to tip closer to all out civil war on Wednesday as government troops and opposition tribesmen battled to control key positions in the capital and foreign diplomats boarded planes to flee.
    Late on Tuesday a missile struck the headquarters of General Ahmar, who has so far remained on the sidelines during the recent violence (he is not in the immediate family of Hamid al-Ahmar). The Defense Ministry denied firing the missile, and the general issued a statement confirming an attack by “land-to-land” missile without speculating on who might have fired it.

    The missile attack came as state-run media reported that some of the general’s troops stormed the general prosecutor’s office, three miles west of Hasaba, looting documents. State media said that the troops had been joined by militants from Al Eman University, which has ties to Islamic radicals.

    South of the capital, the city of Taiz remained in a state of lockdown Wednesday with security forces and Republican Guards moving swiftly to disperse even the smallest gatherings in the streets, residents said.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/wo...imes&seid=auto
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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default This guy really, really wants to run the show in Yemen.

    Apparently Saleh wants to be in charge of things in Yemen until the day he dies. Fortunately for him any number of people are interested in helping make that happen.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A dead cleric has what local impact?

    From the BBC:
    US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a key al-Qaeda leader, has been killed in Yemen, the country's defence ministry said.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15121879

    No doubt much ink will be spilt on the demise. MY interest is the local impact inside the Yemen as it appears to lurch along, with neither of the many sides making gains and bloodshed notably in Sanaa.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Al-Qaida's wretched utopia and the battle for hearts and minds

    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from south Yemen on the jihadis offering free water and electricity alongside sharia law
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...dis-sharia-law
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Short-term gains -v- long term gains?

    A FP Blog article I missed the other day, which concludes:
    It is time for the U.S. to stop undermining democratic values and long-term stability in Yemen in exchange for short term counter-terrorism gains and a half-hearted continuation of the status quo. If Washington continues on this path, it will end up at best with another Somalia; at worse, another Afghanistan.
    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...oice?page=full

    Interesting take on the views of Yemen's richer neighbour.
    davidbfpo

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