Experts to Obama: Yemen Policy Must Change
On Monday, 27 leading experts on Yemen, U.S. foreign policy, and security signed onto a letter to President Obama urging a fundamental shift in American policy towards Yemen. Coordinated by the Yemen Policy Initiative, the letter argues for a more balanced policy approach that elevates support for long-term economic and political development in Yemen alongside counterterrorism efforts.
The letter lays out a series of policy recommendations in the diplomatic, political, economic, and security spheres, including incorporating Yemen into the Department of State’s Office of Middle East Transitions; assisting the Yemeni government’s capacity to deliver basic services; working with the Friends of Yemen, and especially the GCC countries, to leverage immediate cash assistance and provide humanitarian aid; reevaluating the strategy of drone strikes with the recognition that this approach is generating significant anti-American sentiment and could strengthen the appeal of extremist groups; and helping ensure that security restructuring achieves a unified command structure under civilian leadership, in line with democratic principles and human rights.
Amongst the signatories are David Kramer of Freedom House, former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios, Steven Heydemann of Georgetown University, Andrew Exum of the Center for New American Security, and Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program.
To see the full text of the letter, click here.
The Yemen Policy Initiative is a new collaborative effort between the Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), which seeks to advance a more sustainable, long-term US policy that guarantees US national security interests and supports Yemen’s political transition. For more information on the Yemen Policy Initiative, click here.
Photo credit: IRIN/Adel Yahya