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Quadriga # 08.04.2011

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Yemen is spiraling into violence. The security forces are using live rounds, batons and tear gas to keep down demonstrators and the opposition. Protesters want to see and end to 32 years of rule by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. But he is clinging onto power by all means possible. Many protesters have been killed in street battles. Opponents of the regime are not moved by his promise not to stand again for another term in office at the end of the year. They want him to resign now.

United just over two decades ago Yemen is still riven by conflict. Southerners feel disadvantaged by those in the north. State structures are in decay, corruption and poverty are widespread. This all provides fertile recruiting ground for terrorists. As in Afghanistan, tribal leaders have allied themselves with religious extremists. Yemen has long been regarded as a safe haven for Al Qaeda. And not only that.

US intelligence agencies fear that Al Qaeda could be using Yemen as a base to plan and prepare attacks. Currently the Yemeni government is receiving money, military equipment and training to aid it in the fight against terrorism. But more and more Americans are beginning to doubt that the fight can be won given the current situation. President Barack Obama is putting space between himself and Saleh, saying that reform is unlikely under the present regime.

We'd like to hear your opinion: Unrest in Yemen - Exploited by Al Qaeda?

Write to us at:Quadriga@dw-world.de


Our guests:

Guido Steinberg - He is an authority on terrorism and pursued history, Islamic studies and political science at universities in Cologne, Bonn, Damascus and Berlin. From 2002 until 2005 Steinberg worked as a terrorism specialist for the government under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He is also an assistant lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at Berlin's Free Univeristy, and a member of the Middle East and Africa research group at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

Michael Slackman – The american journalist was the Cairo Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times and the Moscow Bureau Chief for Newsday. Then he changed the paper. He went to the New York Times as bureau chief in Cairo. Today he is based at Berlin as bureau chief of this paper.

Anna Würth - She is a specialist in Islamic studies and has taught at Berlin’s Free University and the University of Richmond in Virginia, USA. Her publications focus on modern Islamic law and human rights. For the past 15 years Anna Würth has been advising development policymakers. She also works with Human Rights Watch and currently heads the working group on development policy and human rights at the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin.