Samia Yakub

Despite President Obama’s assertion that the United States’ counterterrorism strategy targeting militants in Yemen and Somalia provide a “successful” model to be emulated in its fight against ISIS, two new Atlantic Council publications assess the use of drones and the US strategy in Yemen, and argue this approach is shortsighted and threatens US national security objectives.

Danya Greenfield and Stefanie A. Hausheer of the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East argue that the US drone program in Yemen undermines the United States’ long-term national security objectives, citing the negative impact of civilian casualties, intelligence and targeting mistakes, and the rise of anti-American sentiment that can increase safe havens for extremist groups.

In “Do Drone Strikes in Yemen Undermine US Security Objectives?” the authors outline recommendations for the Obama Administration to address the negative impact of overreliance on drone strikes and the need to develop a long-term, sustainable policy.

In a second report, former US ambassador to Yemen Barbara K. Bodine and Greenfield contend that any US counterterrorism strategy to stem the growth of extremist groups and potential state failure in Yemen must address the underlying issues such as pervasive lack of economic opportunity, structural unemployment, cronyism, and the inequitable distribution of state resources.

In “A Blueprint for a Comprehensive US Counterterrorism Strategy in Yemen,” the authors outline a long-term and comprehensive approach that provides increased and consistent level of financial and technical assistance to address these issues.

Barbara K. Bodine is director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and was US ambassador to Yemen (1997-2001).
Danya Greenfield is deputy director of the Hariri Center and heads the Yemen Policy Initiative.  
Stefanie A. Hausheer is assistant director of the Hariri Center where she focuses on the Gulf.

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The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East brings North American and European voices together with experts from the Middle East, fostering a policy-relevant dialogue about the future of the region at a historic moment of political transformation. The Hariri Center provides objective analysis and innovative policy recommendations regarding political, economic, and social change in the Arab countries, and creates communities of influence around critical issues.

The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting global challenges.

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