The Republic of Yemen is becoming fertile ground for radical jihadists and the now-year long civil war has cost over 6,000 lives and caused destruction on a massive scale — yes, Yemen remains without a functioning government. Despite what you may think about this relatively unknown Arab country, Yemen has some strategic value to the United States and the region as a whole. 3 million barrels of oil pass through Yemen’s shipping lanes everyday, feeding the energy hungry East. Further instability in Yemen may disrupt the global oil market. More importantly, Yemen is becoming the next Afghanistan. Terrorist groups are always looking for a failed state to exploit. AQAP operates out of Yemen and ISIL is making moves. The United States should be concerned with the direction is Yemen is heading. If Yemen continues to deteriorate, jihadists will have a safe haven from which to conduct terror on the United States and its’ gulf allies.
In order for the United States to effectively degrade and defeat AQAP, it needs to seek to collaborate with the Saudis, while also relying on U.S.’ intelligence and airpower capabilities. Sound familiar? Yes, we should once again implement the Afghan model! By doing this strategy, the United States will avoid its perceived stigma of being an international hegemon that acts unilaterally with impunity. Counter AQAP will indeed require a holistic approach. The United States should also partner with NGOs to give Yemen the basic necessities for life that it lacks. Sound familiar? Yes, we did this in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the U.S. should rely on the Saudis as the cannon fodder, Washington should look to escalate its role in airpower. Maybe also send a few special operators to Yemen to train its local security forces? Sound familiar? Yes, this is what we are doing against ISIL.
In conclusion, the world is a battlefield. The Middle East is a mess. The United States has strategic value seemingly in every country of the world — as one should expect in a globalized planet. Let our millennial generation get use to this new warring world. The security field looks appealing indeed.