Yemen has all the ingredients for a recipe to create a failed state. The country has severe internal security issues, widespread poverty, almost no modern infrastructure, and a population growth rate at about 8% a year. This is in addition to a widely corrupt government with very little power. With its current state, the Republic of Yemen will be unable to sustain a population with proper resources and internal strife will only continue. The very fluid and volatile state of the country has made it a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists to flee to. The country has an underdeveloped economy and domestic terrorist organizations have made it a security threat to the United States and other countries. To counter terrorist threats, the United States has increased its clandestine drone program in Yemen to diffuse and destroy AQAP terrorist cells without leaving a large footprint. The United States has also cited Yemen as playing a key-role in the United States’ goal to combat terrorism. To try and regulate the illegal drug trade of Qhat (a narcotic similar to LSD grown almost exclusively in Yemen) as well as prevent violence committed by terrorist cells from bleeding over, Saudi Arabia even started the construction of a nine-meter high barrier along the Saudi-Yemeni border. The United Kingdom has even proposed a multi-lateral Special Forces deployment along side U.S. and Yemeni counter terrorism forces for advanced training to assist the Yemeni military’s elite Counter-Terrorism Unit in updating its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency forces in unconventional warfare tactics and internal defense.
Yemen’s internal security issues and severe underdevelopment have made it a quagmire for international security. It is the unfortunate manifestation of many socio-economic problems and the combined conundrum of internal security threats. Within the near future, it is interesting to see how the international community will respond to security threats and instability in a post-Saleh Yemen. The Yemeni government’s power seems to be waning while internal problems are only increasing. If the government does not act quickly to diffuse internal tensions then the country will recede into even more uncontrolled chaos.