The Middle-Eastern country of Yemen is at the front lines of the fight against al-Qaida terrorists. However, the Yemeni government currently lacks the resources to adequately fight jihadist members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
After a Yemeni AQAP terrorist attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas, the U.S. more than doubled its military aid to Yemen. But, many experts say the $150 million in funds are too little too late, and impoverished Yemenis continue to join AQAP's cause. Just yesterday, the government of Saudi Arabia arrested 113 alleged al-Qaida militants who they said were planning to attack oil facilities. Fifty-one of them were from neighboring Yemen.
Yemen's government, with the U.S. behind it, is trying a two-pronged approach of anti-terrorist military training combined with development work to give Yemen's people hope for better lives. Combating poverty and injustice, which are seen as root causes of terrorism, is considered essential in preventing young Yemenis from joining AQAP.
"They will have to readjust the balance between the use of military force and the use of development. The next thing should be development and good police work and dealing with the root cause of terrorism, which is injustice and poverty." - Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani, development consultant/political analyst
"We don't have enough resources for training. We could implement something, but not at the level that we want, without the Americans and the British." - Major in charge of Yemeni troops
"I think (AQAP) is a very formidable foe. They have a lethal presence in this country. They have demonstrated that on a number of occasions." - Stephen Seche, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Yemen
1. What part of the world is Yemen in?
2. What is the name of the international terrorist group that launched the Sept. 11 attacks and has a significant presence in the Middle East?
3. Where is the U.S. currently fighting the "War on Terror?" What countries are involved?
1. Why do you think young people in Yemen join terrorist groups? What do you think is the best way to keep them from joining?
2. Do you think the U.S. military should get more involved in Yemen? Why/why not?
3. Why is it so difficult to combat terrorism around the world? What ideologies or beliefs do groups like Al-Qaida hold?
Yemen's Struggles With al-Qaida Reveal a Country of Contradictions:
Yemen Dispatch: Into an Al-Qaida Hotspot:
From Yemen, Rising Concerns About Al-Qaida: