Crucible of poverty, terror
Yemen: The small Arab nation is battling with itself, caught between its people’s needs and the West’s war against terrorism. Most of the news the West gets from Yemen is about terror. Missionaries gunned down. Politicians assassinated. Clerics accused of supporting Osama bin Laden. There is another form of terror – it comes from poverty – and for Yemenis like Mohammed Saeed, that is no news at all. Yemen is in a battle with itself, caught between its people’s immediate needs and the West’s global war against terrorism. With every attack, every American killed on its streets, Yemen loses more ground in its struggle to pull itself into modernity. Not only is it the poorest country in its region but it is also among the poorest in the world. The United Nations ranks it 148th among the 174 least-developed nations.
Yemen has the most open government on the Arabian Peninsula, a nascent democracy with an elected parliament and president, a purportedly independent judiciary and a constitution. But the institutions are weak, and attempts to impose the rule of law are often overshadowed by the leadership’s inclination toward secrecy, the tradition of strong tribal loyalties and widespread distrust of government. “If you want to minimize terrorism in Yemen, you do have to address it across the board and use all of the tools available to do so,” says U.S. Ambassador Edmund Hull. Full Story