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“Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection” by Katz Essay


The articles under analysis are devoted to the examination of the terrorism problem in the context of Yemen. In spite of the fact that both authors study American participation in the fight with terror, they address the relevant problems from different perspectives. Hence, the paper at hand is mainly aimed at analyzing the author’s approaches and the arguments they provide.

In his Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection, Mark Katz focuses on the problem of the cooperation that currently exists between Yemeni tribes and Al Qaeda. The author examines in detail the factors that underpin this cooperation as well as the ways it might be cut off. It is essential to note that the author has a rather realistic vision of the problem. Thus, he does not offer the most apparent variant that resides in the complete destruction of the Al Qaeda group.

Instead, he focuses on alternative solutions to the relevant problem. The relevant approach to the problem’s treatment distinguishes Katz from other authors who neglect the practical side of the question focusing on the abstract solutions that are highly problematic to apply to real-life circumstances.

It is necessary to note that from the perspectives of potential solutions, Katz’s prognosis is quite pessimistic. The author admits that there is a need for external intervention, however, he, meanwhile, points out that there are currently no forces that could carry it out effectively. He refers to the cases of the British and the Soviet Union’s unsuccessful attempts in order to show that foreign interventions are almost apt to fail. It is essential to point out that the reference to historic examples makes Katz’s rationale more consistent and valid.

A particular emphasis is put on the potential participation of the United States in the problem’s resolution. However, according to Katz, the only possible way of succeeding is likely to do harm to the country’s image in the international field (42). In other words, in case the USA tries to perform some financial pressure over the leaders of the Yemeni tribes so that the latter agree to break their connections with Al Qaeda, other countries might accuse the country of supporting terrorism.

Moreover, the author adds that this variant is a “short-term” solution that will only work as long as the USA or any other country continues providing financial support (Katz 43). It is critical that the author tries to analyze the suggested solutions not only from the perspective of their efficacy but in terms of their long-lasting effect as well.

Instead of enlisting alternative steps and methods, Katz prefers to address the problem complexly. Hence, the author suggests that the only possible way out resides in eliminating the cores of the Yemeni tribes “grievances” (Katz 43). In other words, he assumes that in case the problem of the repressive government in Yemen is resolved, the locals will have no more motives to continue supporting their collaboration with Al Qaeda. The focus on the roots of the problem instead of its consequences is the strength of Katz’s analysis.

Moreover, the author tries to predict the outcomes of their refusal to cooperate. Thus, Katz believes that the refusal to maintain contacts might provoke Al Qaeda to retaliate (43). Therefore, the author not just offers a solution but tries to work out a post-strategy considering the fact that as soon as the problem is resolved, the local tribes might need some external protection.

Whereas Kats mainly focus on the particular problem of the terrorists’ financial support and its possible solutions, Terril, in his Drones over Yemen: Weighing Military Benefits and Political Costs, examines the US contribution to the fight against terror and the efficiency of the American approach. The key problem under analysis is the implementation of US drones in Yemen. According to the author, the use of drones is highly complicated by the fact that it requires an official consent from the government of the country on the territory of which the drones will be used. Allowing the United States to perform military operations, the government essentially provokes critics in a certain part of society

Thence, Terrill refers to the example of the former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who would not admit his cooperation with the USA, fearing the public disapproval (17). Terrill tries to address the problem from two standpoints: the American prospects and the Yemeni reaction.

While analyzing the achievements of the US drones in Yemen, the author points out the fact that there is currently little data and evidence that can be easily accessed – most of the relevant documents are considered to be secret (Terrill 18). From this perspective, the most evident strength of the author’s approach in addressing the problem is that he tries to make the best use of the available facts and provide a concise summary of the drones’ deserts – his report is utterly objective and deprived of any personalized vision or attitudes.

It is essential to point out that unlike the previous author, Terrill is mainly focused not on the mechanisms of the fight with terrorism, but on the implications that this fight is likely to have for the USA. As well as Katz, Terrill agrees upon the point that carrying out military operations on the Yemeni territory has a negative image on the country’s image (21). First, foremost, it is the disapproval on the part of the locals that the presence of the drones provokes.

Nevertheless, the author provides a series of arguments that justify this negative attitude. Hence, Terrill notes that as well as any other country, Yemen is highly concerned about its sovereignty and regards the presence of the foreign military forces as a direct threat to it. Moreover, he explains that the inconveniences that the locals have to bear because of the drones. Thus, according to the author, the Yemeni people are afraid of meeting in large groups for special occasions for fear of being mistaking for terrorists. Finally, the Terrill believes that there are some cultural implications that cause the social disapproval of the American intervention (21). Providing a rationale for any presented phenomenon is one of the key benefits of Terrill’s analysis.

In addition, the relevant approach to the analysis shows that the author has deep insight and a profound knowledge of the Yemeni environment which allows him addressing the problem from different perspectives and providing a rationale for the described phenomena. Another peculiar point about his analysis resides in the fact that he employs Yemeni vision while explaining the reasonability of the fears described above.

Whereas the concerns expressed by the locals refer to the US policy, it would be logic to assume that the author will try to elucidate the US response. In the meantime, his focus remains on the Yemeni vision, and he tries to present the problem as it is treated in Yemen. Hence, Terrill shows that it is mainly the residents that share the negative attitude towards American drones, whereas the local government is rather tolerant about it, even though it cannot express its vision openly for fear of being overtly criticized.

The examination of the two conclusions helps to point out the principle differences between the analyzed articles. Thus, Terrill’s examination is mainly devoted to the existing tools and methods of fighting with terror in Yemen. The author tries to provide a multifaceted analysis of the problem, elucidating the vision of both American and Yemeni government. Katz is, likewise, focused on the spread of terror in Yemeni; however, his analysis is concentrated on potential solutions rather on the existing approaches. Moreover, his vision of the American participation in the fight with terror on the Yemeni territory is different from the Terrill’s interpretation.

Katz tries to define the ways in which America might contribute to the common fight and figure out the outcomes this participation might have for the country. Terrill, in his turn, puts an emphasis on the foreign vision of the American military activity in Yemen, trying to eliminate the way the locals treat this problem.

Both authors provide a consistent rationale and relevant examples in order to support their arguments. In the meantime, the key targets of their analysis differ, which is why the articles have different design – whereas Katz tries to work out a strategy for potential activity, Terrill is concerned about examining the current American policy in terms of terrorism.

Works Cited

Katz, Mark. “Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection.” Current History 102.660 (2003): 40-43. Print.

Terrill, Andrew. “Drones over Yemen: Weighing Military Benefits and Political Costs.” Parameters 42.4 (2013): 17-23. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 8). "Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/breaking-the-yemen-al-qaeda-connection-by-katz/

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""Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz." IvyPanda, 8 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/breaking-the-yemen-al-qaeda-connection-by-katz/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz." September 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/breaking-the-yemen-al-qaeda-connection-by-katz/.


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IvyPanda. ""Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz." September 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/breaking-the-yemen-al-qaeda-connection-by-katz/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz." September 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/breaking-the-yemen-al-qaeda-connection-by-katz/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"Breaking the Yemen-Al Qaeda Connection" by Katz'. 8 September.

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