Can the West save Yemen?
As the country teeters towards chaos, global powers meet in London to find a solution.
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2010 10:40 GMT

An international conference is about to begin in London to help Yemen counter radicalisation and to promote reforms in the country.

David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, said the objective of the conference is to devise a "clear political strategy" to solve Yemen's economic and security problems.

Miliband says he also hopes to figure out ways to support Yemen in its fight against extremist groups.
The conference was called by Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, after al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot, claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day plane bombing over Detroit.

The Christmas Day attempt may have thrust Yemen into the spotlight, but the Yemeni government has a number of challenges on its hands. They are fighting two civil wars and are struggling to rectify the poverty crippling the country, which is the poorest in the Middle East.

But foreign assistance is problematic. Earlier this month 150 Yemeni clerics signed a statement authorising violent jihad against any military or security intervention from abroad.

Experts also worry that supporting the Yemeni government could be counterproductive.

"One of the difficulties that [the Americans] see in Yemen is, as we see in many places, unrepresentative, corrupt and repressive government," Robert Grenier, the former CIA station chief in Islamabad, told Al Jazeera.

This episode of Inside Story examines whether the Western world can save Yemen from collapsing.

Is Yemen likely to become a second Somalia or Afghanistan? And is the current government part of the problem or the solution?

Inside Story presenter Sohail Rahman is joined by Hussein Shobokshi, a columnist for Asharq Alawsat newspaper; Hakim al-Masmari, the publisher and editor of the Yemen Post; and David Newton, a former US ambassador to Yemen.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, January 26, 2010.

Al Jazeera
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