A False Foundation? AQAP, Tribes and Ungoverned Spaces in Yemen
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER
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Events in Yemen are moving at a rapid pace. Economic, environmental, and political crises that have long limited Yemens attempts at developing a strong centralized state now threaten to overwhelm the country. Protest movements similar to those that pushed out autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt have plunged Yemen into deeper instability, and multiple competing factions are currently fighting for control of the government. Reports of rising Islamist militancy and a stream of terror attacks by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula AQAP have raised fears that soon large parts of the country may be overrun by jihadists intent on striking the United States. Efforts to understand and evaluate appropriate policy responses to the multiple crises unfolding in Yemen have often met with a major challenge the seemingly intractable nature of the terrorist threat against the U.S. homeland given Yemens weak central government and growing instability. In this highly permissive environment there seem to be few practical solutions to degrade, much less eliminate, the capability of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to strike the United States. This report attempts to disaggregate the threat posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula from the sources of instability surrounding it by exploring the groups strategy, tactics, and objectives from the Yemeni perspective. This shift in analytical lens, from the global threat to the local context, is essential for understanding how the countrys most prominent violent jihadist group has managed to persist for nearly five years. Only by examining the actions of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula from the local perspective is it possible to discern the constraints and opportunities shaping the groups ambitions both inside and outside Yemen.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Humanities and History
- Unconventional Warfare