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Yemen, afflicted by internal crisis, is slipping towards the precipice of state failure. Over the last year, there have been idespread protests against the regime, a bloody crackdown, the promise of political transition, and fighting between rival factions of the military.
Pessimists fear that Al-Qa’ida will flourish in another lawless haven for terrorism. Of particular concern for Western security has been the terrorist group, Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, which has developed a sophisticated media strategy for mobilising and radicalising recruits not just in the Middle East, but also in the West – as highlighted by the online English-language jihadist magazine, Inspire.
This Whitehall Report analyses how Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has built and uses this communications apparatus. It argues that while this shows the terrorist group to indeed be a real threat to the West, it is nevertheless important not to overstate its capabilities. Though Yemen teeters on the brink of political upheaval, the UK and partner states can pursue a selection of policies, from strategic communications to counter-terrorism, to mitigate the Al-Qa’ida threat and defeat its narrative.