Yemen: U.S. Policy Implications of President Saleh’s Resignation Offer
Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has conditionally agreed to step down from power 30 days after a tentative agreement is signed with a coalition of opposition parties. But this face-saving deal, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, has already been rejected by tens of thousands of protesters who demand an end to Saleh’s 32-year rule. If Saleh steps down, none of his successors is likely to cooperate as closely with the United States. But if he continues to cling to power, his regime will be unable to defeat Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a major terrorist threat to the U.S. The U.S. has a major stake in averting a civil war that would enable AQAP to become entrenched in sanctuaries in Yemen’s tribal badlands. Washington should work to encourage a peaceful transfer of political power to a government with enough popular support to halt Yemen’s slide into chaos.