"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I mentioned below that we need to push Salih down the right path, now that it looks like he is staying.  In a very interesting article for The Hill, Yemen expert (and regular reader of this blog) James King lays out what that means, including this.

Push the Salih government to pursue extensive systemic reform and political sacrifice. Many Yemenis blame the regime’s incompetence, corruption and principle commitment to the interests of a handful of elites for their economic troubles and diminishing political freedoms. Without addressing these grievances, which resonate across Yemeni society, AQAP will remain able to compete for Yemenis’ loyalties. The administration must exhort its ally to devolve power and build a more representative political system. It must pressure Salih to permit free and fair elections, to recommit to a comprehensive national dialogue with friends and foes alike, and to dismantle patronage networks that drain already diminutive national coffers. 

Prioritize Yemen’s socio-economic, structural and environmental problems through increased development and humanitarian aid. The stability of Yemen is directly tied to the resolution or mitigation of these crises. The U.S. must commit more resources to issues of poverty, malnutrition and economic development (in FY2010, it gave just over $90 million in non-security assistance, compared to roughly $175 million in security aid). American policy in Yemen must strike a balance between short-term security and humanitarian assistance, medium-range development aid, and the resolve to achieve long-term political and economic structural durability. 

I don't want to do the disservice of summary- you really should read this.  King does an excellent job of showing what our opportunities are, and what the risks are.  This line, which I really wish I had written, sums it up: "President Salih will not live forever, though the collective memory of Yemenis will. "  

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