The Center for a New American Security – a thinktank with links to the Obama administration – has published a paper on US policy towards Yemen. It is concerned, of course, with American interests rather than the interests of Yemenis and it says: “The consequences of instability in Yemen reach far beyond this troubled land, and pose serious challenges to vital US interests.”
The paper makes some sensible observations but I find its focus on promoting “stability” troubling insofar as that means propping up the Salih regime.
The question it doesn’t really address is whether Salih is a force for stability or instability and, currently, I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. Sustaining him in power, at best, only postpones the day of reckoning.
While I'm very dubious about this strategy, I don't have a better plan to offer. Yemen is a mess, full stop. Maybe it's already beyond the point of rescue.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 25 November 2009.