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Yemen: Frontline in terror war

11-24-2011 13:59 BJT

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Yemen has often come under the international spotlight for being one of the frontlines in the fight against terrorism. Al-Qaeda has a strong presence in parts of the country - a country whose society maintains a strong tribal structure.

The Republic of Yemen occupies a strategic position on the southwestern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea -- a location that gives it particular military importance.

In recent decades, terrorist groups have been known to operate from within the country. They've taken advantage of a lack of economic development, and growing political discontent, to drive recruitment.

Back in 2000, Al-Qaeda bombed a US navy fleet in the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 US soldiers. It brought home to the US the level of Al-Qaeda involvement in the country. In order to strengthen security, the US established an anti-terrorism partnership with the government of Yemen, supporting the country with military assistance to the tune of several hundred million dollars.

Anti-government protesters react as they celebrate the signing by Yemen's President Ali
Abdullah Saleh of a deal to step down in Sanaa November 23, 2011. Saleh signed a deal on
Wednesday under which he stepped down from 33 years in power and 10 months of protests
against his rule that have brought the country to the edge of civil war.

But US military support for Yemen was not enough to turn the country's economy around. Unemployment remains at over 40 percent high. Nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. The resulting social disaffection drives some to take up weapons -- meaning regional conflicts flourish.

Despite ever growing chaos, many say Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh failed to implement concrete and effective measures to solve the problems. It led to the tide of discontent that surged earlier this year -- and ultimately to President Saleh's own political demise.

Dissident Yemeni soldiers make victory signs at a barricade as anti-regime protesters
gather for a demonstration nearby in Sana on November 21. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah
Saleh signed a deal on Wednesday to hand over his powers after 33 years in office, ending
months of delay that had seen protests that erupted in January degenerate into deadly



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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