National Geographic : 2012 Sep
and have carried out terrorist attacks in other regions, including the oil-rich eastern province of Hadramawt and the capital, Sanaa. Islamist gunmen patrol the region in trucks draped in black banners that proclaim, " ere is no other God but Allah." So far the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars arming and training Yemen's Central Security Forces to ght al Qaeda as well as car- rying out air strikes against militant leaders. In September 2011 a drone attack killed Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki, the U.S.-born militant who galvanized Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber." is past May the CIA used a Saudi double agent to foil an AQAP plot to blow up a U.S. airliner. Al Qaeda struck back soon a er, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Sanaa, killing more than 90 soldiers. Besides al Qaeda and the separatist factions, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi---the former vice president who was elected president in February 2012 for a two-year transition period---faces dire domestic problems. With a per capita income of $1,140, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Over half a million desperate Somali immigrants are burdening the already overstrained economy. Yemen's water is running out, and its oil supplies are expected to be ex- hausted by 2022. Its population is both young and growing; unemployed youths are a threat to stability. Hadi has moved boldly to solidify control over the military, sideline Saleh-family politicians, and begin a national dialogue on civil society, but his hold on power remains tenuous. In the face of these grave challenges, what kind of society will take root in Yemen? Will it become a modern nation, grounded in the rule of law? Or an even more anarchic state, torn by tribal, ethnic, and religious con ict and a threat to Western security? always been so blighted. e Greek-Roman geographer Ptolemy called the region Eudaimon Arabia---Happy Arabia--- and marveled at its stability and prosperity. Wearing his ceremonial dagger, Yemen's top tribal leader, Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, and his tribesmen stand by his Sanaa residence, with its portrait of al Ahmar's politician father. The sheikh's followers fired on government troops in May 2011; they retaliated, attacking his home.