January 17, 2011
(CBS) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid an unannounced visit to the Republic of Yemen this past week, a nominal U.S. ally that has been in and out of the news for the last decade: most of the news bad. It started with a bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden harbor back in 2000.
Today, half the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen, and the last two al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. mainland have originated there. While the United States has been busy with military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, this remote, lawless country has now emerged as the main staging area for attacks against the west.
Wracked with internal strife and political instability, Yemen is presenting a complicated challenge for U.S. policymakers, with no easy fixes and few good options.
Yemen is one of the oldest civilizations in the Middle East, with 3,000 years of history. It is believed that Noah and the Queen of Sheba once lived there, and if they were to come back today they would find much of the countryside unchanged, except for the weapons.