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Yemen: wrong lesson from Iraq

The recent attacks on western targets in Yemen show the need to fight the terrorist threat there, but America’s Iraq experience is stifling efforts to help the Arab world’s poorest country

By Alice Fordham   October 2010

Ali Saleh, Yemen’s ruler of 30 years: a corrupt “big man” whom the west is propping up

In late September, ministers and diplomats gathered in New York to discuss assistance for the Arab world’s poorest country, Yemen. Fighting the terrorist threat within this fragile state has become an urgent priority for America and its allies. But this time, bruised by mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are taking a rather different approach. In Iraq, instability was deemed a price worth paying for democracy; in Yemen, democracy must now be sacrificed for stability. In one country, a powerful but corrupt “big…

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