Skip to main content

Don't look to Yemen model for solutions in Iraq

US President Barack Obama and others have referred to the “Yemen model” as an option to transition power from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and restore order in Iraq, but Yemen's own results have been disastrous.
A portrait of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh hangs on the wall of the former headquarters of his General People's Congress party in Sanaa May 12, 2014. The building was damaged during the 2011 clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and tribal militias opposing him during the uprising against his rule. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3OTK8

At a May 19 press conference in Washington, US President Barack Obama had expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the Islamic State's (IS) control over Iraqi cities. As a solution to that political and security crisis, he suggested the possibility of what has become known as the Yemen model, which stems from the transition of power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The process also included a plan to restructure the army, launch an inclusive national dialogue and for all participating parties to put down their weapons.

Obama is not the only one to praise the Yemen model, which is laid out in the road map of the Gulf Initiative. In discussions with Al-Monitor, various diplomats and international envoys have also praised this model of international intervention in Yemen, an Arab Spring country. In fact, however, the Yemen model about which Obama and international reports speak — a model efficient at both the security and political levels — has nothing to do with the current reality.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.