Yemen: Assessing the Threat

After the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 in December, Yemen again became the focus of US and international counterterrorism policy. A flurry of media reports in January gave the world a glimpse of this fragile country, sliding disastrously towards collapse.

Through their long-term project, "Yemen: Assessing the Threat," reporters Paul Stephens and Haley Sweetland Edwards will explore the complex politics, society, and history of Yemen, with the goal of providing a more in-depth understanding of this often misunderstood nation. While the international media is primarily focused on the terrorist threat in Yemen, policy makers will have to work to solve the numerous other crises contributing to the country's instability.

At the start of 2010, Yemen faces a number of challenges. The government is battling an on-going insurgency in the northern provinces, a separatist movement in the south, and renewed concern over Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a branch of al-Qaeda active in many regions of the country.
Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, must also absorb record numbers of refugees fleeing Ethiopia and Somalia, at a time when its own unemployment rate is over 35 percent. In the background, a growing water crisis, dwindling oil resources, and widespread malnutrition loom large.


Mental_Floss Magazine

"It's the world's worst place to be a woman, and a breeding ground for terrorism; yet Yemen still exhibits real charm. Pull up a chair as we cover gingerbread architecture, daggers as an investment strategy, and why two scoops of strawberry ice cream are no match for a woman's veil."...

This Article was featured in the May-June 2010 issue of Mental_Floss.

Attack Calls US Yemen Strategy into Question

A failed suicide attack on the British ambassador's convoy Monday morning shattered windows, terrified passersby and left debris and broken glass scattered on the sidewalks of the capital.

Only the bomber was killed and damage was minimal, but the incident seemed to demonstrate the continued strength of Al Qaeda in Yemen despite American and Yemeni counterterrorism efforts.

Surreal Beauty on Yemen's Remote Socotra Island

So there I was, lying on my back in a bikini on a deserted white-sand beach in Yemen, squinting into the shimmering turquoise sea to the west, wondering if I could make out Somalia from here.

I couldn't. Propped on my sandy elbows, all I could see were my own toes, a tract of impossibly fine white sand, and miles and miles of the Arabian Sea, which faded ever so slowly through a spectrum of teals before settling into a deep sapphire blue before, I couldn't help thinking, bumping up against Somalia, 160 miles away.

Yemen: Don't Shoot?

Last week, it was reported that the CIA may attempt to capture or kill Anwar Al-Awlaki, the Yemen-based American cleric with ties to al-Qaeda.

Some say that's bad news.

Not because Awlaki is a particularly loveable guy – he's linked to both Umar Farooq Abdulmutallab's attempted bombing of the plane on Christmas day, and to Major Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting rampage at Fort Hood last fall – but because he's not important enough to kill.