America and the Yemens cover image


America and the Yemens

A Complex and Tragic Encounter

Bruce Riedel
Release Date: August 5, 2023

In this book, Bruce Riedel, one of America’s leading experts on the Middle East, provides a history of US relations with the various entities of north and south Yemen, and the first in-depth review of America’s role in the deadly Saudi directed war in the Yemens. Three Presidents—Obama, Trump, and Biden– have been deeply involved in this conflict. Riedel places this current war in the context of America’s history of engaging with the Yemens. From President Kennedy’s handling of a Soviet and Egyptian coup in Yemen in the fall of 1962 to multiple Presidents interaction with the dictator Ali Abdallah Salih who united the Yemens this is a fascinating story with a colorful cast of characters, America and the Yemens will be of interest to readers seeking to have a better understanding of America’s role in the Middle East and the tragic encounter that has created the worst humanitarian catastrophe in our lives.

America and the Yemens: A Tragic Encounter is a masterful account by one of America's foremost intelligence and national security analysts of a country cursed in its geography and history. Bruce Riedel weaves this narrative from his vast experience in the White House, CIA and Pentagon under four Presidents as they tried to navigate the perilous territory of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf - both during the rise of al-Qaeda, and after indigenous rivalries were further radicalized by the American invasion of Iraq. Riedel is an omnipresent narrator with unique first-person knowledge of the roots of Yemen's tragic civil war. This book is must reading for anyone fascinated by the causes of a tragedy and American relations that are now catastrophic.
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News
Bruce Riedel draws on his firsthand experience to give an insightful look at the U.S.'s complicated relationship with Yemen. It is a necessary read to balance the many conflicting narratives on the tragedy that this ancient country has become. Once again, Bruce's writing style makes history easy to read and shows its centrality to our present.
Yasmine Farouk, Nonresident Scholar, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment
Combining his deep historical knowledge with the fascinating anecdotes of an insider, Bruce Riedel demonstrates how contemporary U.S. involvement in Yemen echoes decades of U.S. Yemen policy. The pattern of U.S. support for Saudi interests in Yemen goes back to the Kennedy administration, while the pernicious effects of foreign meddling in Yemeni affairs bears striking similarity to the dynamics of the current civil war. A must-read for those hoping to understand the roots of contemporary pathologies in the U.S.-Yemen relationship, as well as a means of overcoming them.
Annelle Sheline, Fellow, Quincy Institute
In his short and thoughtful book, Bruce Riedel deftly introduces the reader to the many actors and events that have shaped modern Yemen. A practitioner-scholar in the best sense, Riedel brings to his task the experience of a seasoned policymaker who has seen it all, and a scholar with an informed perspective….As another conflict looms in the Gulf, America and the Yemens should prove a valuable resource for both general readers and policymakers alike.
Survival: Global Politics and Strategy
Riedel’s compact chronicle is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Washington’s disastrous role in Yemen’s recent history.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July 2024