Yemen has always been on the verge of crisis. Throughout its history the country has never known complete stability, and governance has always bordered on chaotic. However, the situation is now rapidly deteriorating, with potentially devastating results.

Yemen is facing a confluence of interconnected security challenges that threatens to swamp the central government. A looming economic crisis, renewed civil war in the north, a mounting southern secessionist movement and a resurgent Al-Qaeda organisation threaten to overwhelm Sanaa's capacity to manage multiple crises.

Unlike earlier individual challenges, such as unification in 1990 or the 1994 civil war, the problems now facing the country are multiple and interconnected, each one posing serious threats to Yemen's future. Any single event could lead to a further erosion of central government authority in Yemen and destabilisation of the region. For example, a major humanitarian crisis, perhaps triggered by severe famine or crop failure, could result in a large refugee emergency in which the government would be unable to provide even rudimentary relief services.