- Overt Western involvement in targeting AQAP’s leadership risks fuelling the anti-Western sentiment amongst the tribes that would be far more likely to strengthen, rather than weaken, their support for AQAP.
- Tackling al-Qaeda in Yemen also involves tackling the deeper causes of disaffection within Yemeni society.
- Defeating AQAP in Yemen will be a difficult task, but the consequences of not addressing the situation will be felt internationally in the future.
Yemen has been at the centre of increasing concern about the re-emergence of a significant al-Qaeda presence on the Arabian Peninsula. In a country where the government is already facing security threats from a Zaydi Shi’a rebellion in the north and simmering secessionist unrest in the south, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is finding a fertile environment in which to establish a base of operations to continue the radical jihadist fight. Central to AQAP’s ability to cement a long-term presence in Yemen will be its relationship with Yemen's tribes. But long-term relations with tribes are fraught with difficulty. Western policy should focus on degrading AQAP’s leadership and breaking this developing tribal nexus in a timely fashion without becoming too overtly involved.