Yemen: America's Friend, America's Enemy

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On October 12, 2000 terrorists belonging to Al-Qa’Ida in the country of Yemen successfully orchestrated a terrorist attack in the Gulf of Aden on the USS Cole, a Naval guided missile destroyer. This attack was a signal that the reach of Al-Qaida had extended beyond the borders of Afghanistan into the Arabian peninsula. The President of Yemen is America’s ally in the war on terrorism and proved so by denouncing the attack on the USS Cole and the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Though Yemen fosters terrorists and is home to Al-Qa’Ida the country is still an ally in many ways. The poor economic state of the main populace and the unseen assistance from the U.S. and the rest of the Western world does not help our image or influence the tribal communities to be on America’s side. This causes the path to making Yemen America’s friend difficult because we must convince a Muslim populace that doesn’t trust outside influence that the United States’ objectives are far more beneficial to Yemenis than Al-Qa’Ida’s. Yemen is not currently a failed state at the young age of 21, but it is experiencing huge political and economic problems that can have a direct impact on U.S. interests in the region. It’s population growth rate is the fourth highest in the world according to the Yemen Culture Smart Book (Feb. 2011) with a resource base that is limited and already leaves much of the country in poverty. The government obtains about a third of its budget from sales of its limited and declining oil stocks, which most economists state will be exhausted by 2017. Yemen has critical water shortages aggravated by the use of extensive amounts of water and agricultural land for production of the shrub qat, which is chewed as a ... ... middle of paper ... ...must do what it can to prevent Yemen from free falling into radicalism before the subject of intervention even arises. In conclusion, Yemen is a young country that is still trying to find its identity, and like a child, is highly influenced by its older Arab neighbors, with the most influential (Saudi Arabia) being a huge ally to America. The U.S. is like a stranger and must be constant in our outreach to help them become democratic and U.S. friendly all the while remaining wary of the distrust U.S. actions always present in Yemeni politics. Works Cited https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ym.html http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/aqap.html http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/02/aqap_deputy_emir_sai.php http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/0204/Obama-s-pressure-on-Mubarak-could-cost-US-regional-influence

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