Ali Soufan Interviewed on PBS Frontline: In Yemen, Everyday Life Goes from Bad to Worse
April 7, 2015

In Yemen, Everyday Life Goes from Bad to Worse

Frontline, PBS
By: Sarah Childress


Today, the conflict in Yemen has pulled in the most powerful countries in the region: a military campaign led by Saudi Arabia, whispers of Iranian influence, and even the prospect of ground troops from Gulf countries.

But the problems that started the conflict were homegrown.

“The root of the problems are Yemeni problems,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI counterterrorism agent and CEO of The Soufan Group, a security research firm. “They didn’t suddenly erupt.”

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, with more than half of the country — 54 percent — living in poverty, according to the World Bank. At the same time, it has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. It’s an oil-based economy, but the revenues don’t flow to the people. According to Transparency International, Yemen is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Two of Yemen’s greatest problems are also the most basic: food and water. Many citizens in the capital, Sanaa, get tap water only a few times each week, and access in rural areas can be even worse…


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