Yemen: Testing a New Coordinated Approach to Preventive Counterinsurgency

Yemen: Testing a New Coordinated Approach to Preventive Counterinsurgency

by Robert E. Mitchell

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An American-designed strategy attempts to link counterinsurgency and traditional development programs in Yemen and thereby provide a model that can be applied elsewhere. Rapidly changing conditions with simultaneous multiple small wars impair the ability to design and implement such a challenge. At the same time, there are legitimate questions about the thinking that went into the original formulation.

Download the Full Article: Yemen: Testing a New Coordinated Approach to Preventive Counterinsurgency

Robert E. Mitchell earned degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard's China Area Program, and Columbia (Sociology), has been an academic in the US and overseas, a Foreign Service Officer with USAID (including a tour in Yemen in the late 1980s), consultant on various international challenges, and published widely on a variety of topics (most recently in MIT's Journal of Interdisciplinary History). He is retired, living in Brookline, Massachusetts and an active leader and member in Harvard's Institute for Learning in Retirement.

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Comments

There is a significant concern involving the protection of US foreign policy and security interests in the face of a massive fiscal crisis a post Iraq/Afghanistan war weary public.

How does the US and its steadfast allies remain fully engaged in this region, pushing deeper into newish territory such as Yemen with fewer funds? I dont have a problem with DOD driven development with a small but sharp footprint.

I would also support DOD's more tribal focus and dont see that being mutually exclusive to AID's Government focus. Ignore the tribal system at our peril.

It is a bleeding indictment that M&E is so poor on the AID side. There are ways of doing M&E that do not involve driving out to project sites in nice new 4x4s, flags waving and highly visible PSDs. There are a few organisations that do M&E in seriously dangerous areas and do it well. USAID isnt the only one - many NGOs use the security issue and an excuse for poor M&E. In this fiscal climate taxpayers deserve to know how effective their money is being spent.

We also have to manage our expectations - dont try build a wonderful place to live; just ensure there are fewer people who hate us so much they want to come and blow us up.

Jason

Isn't this a tad dated, given current events in Yemen? I would have expected some discussion of whether past US engagement with the (authoritarian) Saleh government might have generated certain liabilities in the changed local and regional environment.