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Yemen: Think things are bad now? Don’t let it run out of water.

WikiLeaks documents that revealed a coverup of US drone strikes in Yemen may complicate security concerns – beyond just the package bombs or Anwar al-Awlaki. But the real challenge is how to head off a water crisis that threatens to bring more instability and violence.

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The security situation in Yemen looks increasingly fragile. The Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the two mail bombs destined for Chicago last month. And now, the release of WikiLeaks documents disclosing a coverup of US drone strikes by the Yemeni president pose new challenges to American national security.

Then there’s Yemen’s rebel movement in the North, a secessionist movement in the South, 40 percent unemployment, dwindling oil reserves, and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people, with more than half of its population living on less than $2 a day.

Yet with all these problems, the most severe threat to Yemen’s future is its water crisis. Yemen is running out of water fast. Experts say that Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, is likely to run out of water by 2020. This kind of water scarcity breeds conflict and instability, in which Al Qaeda groups step in to fill the vacuum. If the US really wants to fight terror in Yemen, it must address its water shortage in meaningful ways.


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