Diversions: Yemen (2015)

A destroyed house after an airstrike in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Mr. Ibrahem.
A destroyed house after an airstrike in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Mr. Ibrahem.

A new weekly PV@G series features one piece from our archive every Friday, chosen for its continued relevance, unexpected insights, and total lack of references to pandemics or social distancing.

This week’s diversion focuses on Yemen, a country in the throes of an escalating war, that next week will mark the unhappy anniversary of the Saudi-led intervention, which began on March 26, 2015. Here, PV@G editor Barbara Walter and co-author Kenneth Pollack, offer analysis on why the United States should seriously worry about Saudi meddling in Yemen, which continues today.

Yemen is Even More Dangerous Than We Think

Barbara Walter and Kenneth Pollack | January 26, 2015

People think Yemen is dangerous to the United States because of terrorists and civil war. They are wrong. Yemen is dangerous because it could potentially destabilize Saudi Arabia.

That’s a provocative statement but also accurate. By itself, Yemen is far less important to the United States than most countries in the Middle East. True, a lengthy civil war could eventually bring the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda or the Iranian allied Houthi to power. True, a civil war could fragment the country, creating a lengthy period of chaos and instability, allowing even more extremists to thrive. But the fact remains: Yemen will never be of great strategic importance to the United States because it is weak and poor and has very little oil.

Read more: Yemen is Even More Dangerous Than We Think

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