“The struggle for the regime’s future has shifted attention from Yemen’s preexisting chaos. Sectarian insurgents and secessionists rebelled against poor governance for years, and Saleh responded relentlessly until forced to deal with unrest in Sanaa. For years al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been exploiting this turmoil to insinuate itself into numerous tribes and thus develop a base of operations. Because all these groups want to weaken Yemen, not take it over, chaos at the heart of the regime serves their purposes by deepening security vacuums along the periphery. This is already being exploited: insurgents in the north have expanded into neighboring governorates, while AQAP-affiliated militants have overrun key cities and outposts in the south. A post-Saleh Yemen would likely be even less stable, thus increasing the potential for a byzantine civil war stretching from Sanaa to the hinterlands.”
Read the full article online at The National Interest.