Yemeni forces continue to push against fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda. Their major victories come on the heels of the inauguration of Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, who is now entrusted with the task of leading the country through a peaceful transition. A new constitution and presidential elections are expected by 2014.
Faced with the most strenuous of circumstances – the unyielding ruling family, the US-lead war on al-Qaeda, sectarian tension, unsettled political divides between south and north, and unforgiving poverty - the youth of Yemen have successfully managed to introduce a hopeful chapter to an otherwise gloomy modern history. While they should be proud of this, they must also remain wary of the challenges awaiting them in the next two years.
The next phase will be decisive one for Yemen. It will either take the country a step forward towards real reforms - which should resolve some of the country’s most protracted regional strife and confront the rampant inequality – or leave it to suffer a worse fate than that under Saleh’s family. The early signs are worrisome, compelling regional experts to warn that Yemen may be heading the same route as Somalia. “With two conflicts carrying on simultaneously, that of the Houthi Shia in the north and the secessionist movement in the south, the militarization of Yemen and the primary US focus on it as another battlefield in which to engage al-Qaeda, is only set to continue,” wrote David Hearst in The Guardian.