Yemen: Assessing the Threat

After the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 in December, Yemen again became the focus of US and international counterterrorism policy. A flurry of media reports in January gave the world a glimpse of this fragile country, sliding disastrously towards collapse.

Through their long-term project, "Yemen: Assessing the Threat," reporters Paul Stephens and Haley Sweetland Edwards will explore the complex politics, society, and history of Yemen, with the goal of providing a more in-depth understanding of this often misunderstood nation. While the international media is primarily focused on the terrorist threat in Yemen, policy makers will have to work to solve the numerous other crises contributing to the country's instability.

At the start of 2010, Yemen faces a number of challenges. The government is battling an on-going insurgency in the northern provinces, a separatist movement in the south, and renewed concern over Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a branch of al-Qaeda active in many regions of the country.
Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, must also absorb record numbers of refugees fleeing Ethiopia and Somalia, at a time when its own unemployment rate is over 35 percent. In the background, a growing water crisis, dwindling oil resources, and widespread malnutrition loom large.

Portraits of Yemen’s Youth Boom

One of the first things you notice wandering around anywhere in Yemen is the kids. They are everywhere. Playing soccer in the streets, collecting water, selling vegetables, and shooting marbles in the alleyways. And if you have a camera, you will here the constant refrain of "Sura! Sura!" the Arabic word for picture. I've collected a lot of pictures of Yemeni children over the past few months.

Yemen's Crackdown on the Press

On May 3, as the United Nations marked World Press Freedom day, Reporters Without Borders released a list of the world’s worst “predators of press freedom.”

Party! Yemen Covets a Racier Clientele

Yemen is the most gorgeous place you'll probably never visit.

In the north and east, the walled-cities of Sana'a and Shibam, both UNESCO Heritage sites, rise up out of the desert, all filigree and engraved ornamentation, like weathered wedding cakes, and in the west and south, the ancient port cities of Zabid and Aden, craggy and timeless, look out over an expanse of white sand beaches, shimmering turquoise water and an exposition of sea life that would make even a hardened diver swoon.

Yemen's Child Bride Backlash

After a 13-year-old girl's death, the conservative Islamists are retrenching -- with some bizarre, yet somehow effective, arguments.