Rescuing Yemen

Following Al Qaeda's failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown jointly proposed a conference in London to propose solutions for the previously overlooked crises in Yemen. But, unless they grasp the fact that Yemen’s problems go well beyond Al Qaeda’s presence in the country, the conference will do more harm than good.

LONDON – Yemen has suddenly joined Afghanistan and Pakistan as a risk to global security. Indeed, it is increasingly seen as a nascent failed state and potential replacement host for Al Qaeda.

The attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day by a young Nigerian man trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen appeared to open the West’s eyes to the country’s problems. Following that failed attack, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown jointly pushed a conference in London to propose solutions for the previously overlooked crises in Yemen.

But if the conference focuses too narrowly on Al Qaeda’s presence in Yemen, it will do more harm than good. Instead, the conference must aim to address broader issues of political and social stability within Yemen.

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