Yemen and the Fight Against a Resurgent al Qaeda
Rife with political turmoil, Yemen has proven fertile ground for al Qaeda-linked groups in the post 9/11 era. Until the beginning of 2012, the United States cooperated with the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, but his departure—orchestrated with U.S. support—raises questions for future counterterrorism cooperation. How much ground has al Qaeda gained in Yemen despite setbacks in Pakistan? Can the United States effectively manage events in Yemen without becoming entangled in another costly ground war? What more can be done to prevent al Qaeda’s influence from spreading further throughout the Arabian Peninsula?
On November 13, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion to explore these and other questions about the conflict in Yemen. Panelists included Gregory Johnsen, a Ph.D. candidate in the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton, and Fellow Ibrahim Sharqieh, deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center, who appeared via video conference from Doha.
Senior Fellow Daniel L. Byman, director of research for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, moderated the discussion.
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For the past year, you've seen that perhaps no leverage that the US and the West thought it had — aid, sanctions, the freezing of Afghanistan's reserves — has really had an effect on Taliban behavior. The Taliban has essentially done what they had always done. The Afghan people have been in a humanitarian crisis because the Taliban hasn't budged.