Fighting Al-Qaeda in Yemen? Rethinking the nature of the Islamist threat and the effectiveness of US counterterrorism strategy
Hellmich, C. (2012) Fighting Al-Qaeda in Yemen? Rethinking the nature of the Islamist threat and the effectiveness of US counterterrorism strategy. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 35 (9). pp. 618-633. ISSN 1521-0731
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2012.702669
This paper evaluates the US’ perception of and response to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operating in Yemen. It evaluates the empirical evidence on which the present understanding of the group is based, the implications of the socio-political context in which it operates, and the uneasy position of the Yemeni government in the war against terror as it has been affected by US policy from the early 1990s to the present. In the contested Yemeni state, AQAP is competing for political legitimacy and is increasingly dependent on public support. The US’ kill-or-capture response, the “on-off” nature of its support that has made Yemen vulnerable to the influence of al-Qaeda in the past, and the actions of the Yemeni government itself, which depends on the continued existence of the threat to secure financial support vital for political survival, means that none of the measures being taken has the potential to defeat AQAP.