Abdul Mutallab thrust Yemen into the lime light, thus increasing the media's coverage of our attempt at a collective solution in 2010. It is important enough for Secretary Hillary Clinton to be in London tonight, instead of attending the State of the Union address. Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late January to provide the State Department's way forward. Feltman outlined a two front strategy that focuses on strengthening the government's ability to provide security, and address the economic crisis. Surprisingly, there is more information about our counter terror efforts than our economic efforts.
The Washington Post sheds some rare light on the counter terror partnership between Yemen and the United States, here. Yemen will most likely be a successful template for future terror hot spots. The US footprint on the ground is minuscule, which allows the host nation government a degree of deniability. This should prevent a mass appeal for disenfranchised Yemenis to attack Ali Abdullah Saleh's government due to having Western soldiers on their land. The soldiers and civilians who are supporting Ali Abdullah Saleh's CT efforts are second to none. In addition to man power, our government will pony up $63 million solely for increased security efforts. We will continue to see success by enabling Yemen's lethal targeting against AQAP, here, here, here, and here. Where I am most concerned is the economic front, Jeffrey Feltman's second front.
The Yemeni government quantifies their economic needs as $50 Billion of aid over the next 10 years. The Yemeni calculus behind this figure is what they believe is needed to raise their rank on the list of the least developed countries. Today in London, World leaders are meeting to discus ways and areas that the collective community can pull Yemen from the brink of economic collapse. The United States is pressuring Saleh's government to follow a 10 point plan to improve economic and government accountability. This is a crucial aspect. The reason being, Europe and the West pledged over $5 billion in aid, but only 20% ever made it to Yemen. The corruption in Yemen is so great that it basically equates to lining Yemeni pockets with aid money. If the US and other world leaders fail to fix the corruption aspect, we will never be able to stop the inevitable disaster heading for us when Yemen runs out of oil, in 2017. Secretary Clinton is also making the cease fire for the Houthi Rebel conflict a top priority. The conflict with the Houthi Rebels alone soaked up over 10 million dollars in aid from the USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
I tittled this post "Promising Beginnings" because I believe Yemen may be the first true holistic governmental approach to foreign policy from the United States. The right military foot print is in place and the State Department can effectively act in Yemen due to the size of the problem. Iraq and Afghanistan were just too big for the State Department's budget and personnel size to effectively handle. Al Sahwa will continue to follow Yemen closely, stay tuned.