Yemen is among the world’s most corrupt and least developed nations, factors that explain a long running war in the north and an exploding independence movement in the south. Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih deals with legitimate dissent by jailing journalists, shooting protesters, and bombing civilians on a scale that reaches the level of war crimes. Salih has long been an al-Qa’ida enabler, but the December 25, 2009 Christmas Day terror attack brought new urgency to U.S.-Yemeni relations. However, the United States risks becoming a party to violent repression, as well as enhancing the support system of one of the world’s most ambitious al-Qa’ida affiliates.
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