Fighting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on all fronts : a U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen

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2014-08

Authors

Sharkey, Kaitlin Kelly

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Abstract

The United States needs a long-term counterterrorism strategy in Yemen. Nearly three years in, the faltering Yemeni transition threatens to fall apart in the face of an economic crisis, ongoing internal conflict, and al Qaeda attacks. Unchecked, a failed Yemeni state will provide al Qaeda with a larger recruiting base and an expanded area for operations. To prevent this nightmare scenario, the United States should integrate military restructuring, political reform, and economic development policies into its greater strategy to counter al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This report describes the dynamics of the 2011 Yemeni uprising, the subsequent political transition, and the simultaneous evolution of AQAP. The report then analyzes these phenomena in the context of U.S. national security policy to determine a long-term counterterrorism strategy in Yemen. To succeed in defeating AQAP and stabilizing Yemen, the U.S. government must engage with its Yemeni partners and regional actors; invest in Yemen's military restructuring, political transition, and economic reforms; and continue to attack AQAP through direct action operations and in tandem with Yemeni armed forces.

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