Washington DC – The Institute for Gulf Affairs issued a report today analyzing the myriad of problems plaguing Yemen and its government.
The report titled, “Beyond the Saleh Regime: The Future of the Yemeni State,” analyzes the divisive rule pursued by Ali Abdullah Saleh and its implications for newly elected president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi.
Saleh’s long history of corruption and discriminatory politics has left Yemen on the verge of state failure, and despite hopes that Hadi’s presidency would reverse some of Yemen’s woes, it is doubtful that he will be able to overcome the traces of Saleh left in the Yemeni government.
Saleh’s rule proved to be catastrophic for the Yemeni people. By inflaming tribal and secessionist tensions, Saleh allowed for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to gain a significant foothold in the lawless countryside of Yemen. AQAP’s presence has provided the Yemeni government with significant amount of aid from the United States, aid that has mostly been used to supplement government security forces. Saleh long took advantage of the United States’ fear of AQAP and willingly kept his state divided to ensure international monetary support.
Yemeni stability is vital to international counterterrorism efforts. It is naïve to believe that the transition of power from Saleh to Hadi will lead to stability, as many of Saleh’s cronies remain in important positions of power in the Yemeni government and military. To truly work towards stability in Yemen, the international community, particularly the United States, must rework its aid strategies and work to pursue peaceful democratic reform within the Yemeni government.
Ending the threats of state failure and AQAP can be achieved, but the international community must accept that strategies used during Saleh’s reign cannot be continued, and Saleh and his cronies must be removed from power. Only a serious change in Yemen policy can promote democratic reform and progress within the state.