Yemen’s Challenges Demand a Balanced Approach

Testimony July 19
Summary
Washington must do more to address underlying sources of instability—a collapsing economy, rampant corruption, unemployment, and resource depletion—if Yemen is to avoid becoming a failed state.
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U.S. policy toward Yemen has focused almost exclusively on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and al-Qaeda. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Christopher Boucek warns that in addition to kinetic operations, Washington must do more to address the underlying sources of instability—a collapsing economy, rampant corruption, unemployment, and resource depletion—if Yemen is to avoid becoming a failed state and a breeding ground for terror.

U.S. Policy Recommendations:

  • Improve the legal system: The United States should support Yemeni efforts to draft effective counter-terror legislation so that terrorism suspects are charged and prosecuted; train judges to improve conviction rates; and professionalize the prison service so that convicted terrorists remain behind bars.
  • Support land reform: Disputes over land and access to water represent a major source of conflict within Yemen. The United States should support programs to consolidate land registries and clearly establish lawful ownership.
  • Build state capacity: Currently the Yemeni government lacks the ability to deliver basic services throughout the country. The United States should urge the central government to empower local officials to share revenues with the governorates to fund local development.

Boucek concludes, “A terrorism-centric U.S. policy may generate short-term gain in the struggle against violent extremism, but it also risks creating greater problems down the road.”

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About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.

 

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Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/07/19/yemen-s-challenges-demand-balanced-approach/8kgz

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