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Unformatted text preview: Fall 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 3 Striking the Balance in Our Relations with Yemen Stephen A. Seche United States Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen, 2007-2010 nstability in Yemen likely wasn’t the first thing that crossed peoples’ minds when a young Nigerian tried to detonate an explosive device aboard a Detroit- bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009. Yet Yemen quickly seemed to become the only thing people were talking about when subsequent investigation tracked both the would-be terrorist—and the sophisticated explosive he carried—back to this country. In an instant, international attention had become galvanized on this poorest of Arab nations, as it became clear that the United States—indeed, the world—ignores events here at its own peril. Long before the events of December 25, 2009, senior levels of the US government had been focused on Yemen, and efforts were underway to mobilize resources to address both short-term security challenges and longer-term socio-economic needs. Our own efforts were supplemented by the Friends of Yemen, a process inaugurated at a ministerial- level meeting of 24 nations in London in January 2010 that is designed to elicit commitments from the international community—and the government of Yemen itself—to a concrete and sustained stabilization effort. Having achieved the requisite attention and sense of urgency, our challenge now is to ensure that the mix of assistance delivered to Yemen is appropriate, responsive to the full spectrum of needs, and applied quickly and effectively. The cost of failure will be measured not simply in greater hardships for the Yemeni people, but in much greater risk to the United States and our interests around the world. A number of critical considerations underpin US engagement in Yemen. First is the recognition that our influence, while substantial, often is eclipsed by that of Yemen’s neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula, particularly Saudi Arabia, with whom it shares deep cultural and religious ties. Therefore, we must to the extent possible develop a common approach that will enable us to draw on the strength of these regional relationships....
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- Spring '11
- Saudi Arabia, Yemen