The U.S. has a tough stance when it comes to terrorism, especially in regions where terrorist groups look to take advantage of a people or a situation. In this paper I hope to answer questions pertaining to how the political unrest in Yemen began, how Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were formed and what effects they have in the region as well as the implications to American policies and interests in the Horn of Africa area. Yemen is a poor and unstable state where the political and social problems are an issue that some groups will look to exploit while others have a vested interest in stability. An analysis of the past and present political, economic and social issues in Yemen reveals two major issues: The ability for terrorist groups to thrive and the effects that they have on American interests and policies in that region.
Yemen is located in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. Bordered by Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, Yemen boasts a variable landscape with immense desert areas in the southern portion and rugged mountains in the north. With a population of nearly 24,000,000, which is comparable to Saudi Arabia, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. In 2010 the average household brought in an annual income of approximately $2,600 dollars. With a population that is by in large very unsusceptible to any real significant form of government getting involved in local affairs, the tribal territories outside of the capital city of Sana’a are difficult for the government to control.
The history of Yemen is one of occupation and civil war. After the invasions by the Romans, Ethiopians, and Persians, the country converted to Islam and was under the control of the Rassite dynasty of the Zaydi sect. The rule of the Rassite dynasty lasted from the 10th century until 1962 when the northern portion of Yemen came under a military coup backed by the Egyptians. A civil war would ensue with the revolutionaries having the support of the Egyptians and the USSR and the royalist receiving support from Saudi Arabia and Jordan until the eventual defeat of the royalists in 1969. This would give way to a Republican government and the rise of current President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh in 1990.
Britain controlled and occupied the south during the civil war in the north. In the 1960s the National Liberation Front (NLF) would fight the British and with Soviet influence, the southern portion of Yemen would become the first and only Marxist state in the Arab world winning independence in 1967. In 1990, the poor conditions and economic decay of the south would lead to a merger which would form what we know today as The Republic of Yemen. The former leaders in the south would find their way north in order to play a role in the newly formed government, but the current President Saleh, who would retain his position in the newly formed state, would consistently overlook them....