Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Security Interests in the Horn of Africa

**PDF of Keynote Speaker Daniel Benjamin’s speech included below**

Thursday, April 15, 2010

9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

Root Conference Room

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace  

1779 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C.

$80 Per Person (Admission fee includes Jamestown’s new book on Yemen)

To register online, please click HERE!


8:30 A.M. to 9:00 AM



Glen E. Howard

President, The Jamestown Foundation

Opening Address

9:00 A.M. – 9:40 A.M.

Bruce Riedel

"Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the al-Qaeda Core: Who’s in Charge?"

Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution

Panel One:

Al Qaeda’s Resurgence in Yemen

9:45 A.M. – 10:45 A.M.

AbdulElah Hider Shaea

“Trends and Developments in al-Qaeda in Yemen”

Yemeni Journalist and Terrorism Expert

Murad Batal al-Shishani

"Analyzing the Tribal Makeup of AQAP"

Analyst, The Jamestown Foundation

Michael Ryan

“Yemen’s Role in al-Qaeda’s Grand Strategy”

Senior Research Associate, Jamestown Foundation


Coffee Break:

10:45 A.M. to 11:00 AM

Panel Two:

Yemen’s Internal Politics and Security

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM

Christopher Boucek

"The Huthi Rebellion and its Implications for Yemen Stability"

Associate, Carnegie Middle East Program

Rafid Fadhil Mohammed Ali

“Yemen’s Southern Secessionist Movement”

Analyst, The Jamestown Foundation

Abdul Ghani al-Iryani

“Power and Patronage in Yemen: Is Reform Still Possible?”

Development Consultant and Political Analyst

Dr. Mohammed al-Maitaimi

“Yemen’s Food and Water Security”

Vice Chancellor, International University of Technology,

Sana’a, Yemen


Joost Hiltermann

Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group

Q & A


12:15 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.


Keynote Address

1:00 P.M. to 1:45 P.M.

Ambassador Daniel Benjamin

Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State

Q & A


Coffee Break

1:45 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.

Panel Three:

International Dimensions of Yemen’s Security

2:00 P.M. to 3:15 PM

Andrew McGregor

“Wooing Bin Laden: Cooperation Between Somalia’s al-Shabaab Movement

& Yemen’s al-Qaeda Movement”

Director, Aberfoyle International Security and Global Terrorism Analysis Senior Editor, The Jamestown Foundation

Andrew Black

“Arms Trafficking and the Horn of Africa”

Founder and Managing Director, Black Watch Global

James Brandon

"A Looming Threat: the U.K.-Yemen Nexus"

Senior Research Fellow, Quillam Foundation


LTC David W. Alley

Middle East Staff Officer, Near East South Asia (NESA) Center, National Defense University

Q & A

Coffee Break

3:15 P.M. – 3:30 P.M.

Panel Four:

The Future of Yemen

3:30 – 4:30 P.M.

Victoria Clark

"Where is Yemen Going?"

Author, ‘Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes’

Christopher Boucek

"U.S. – Yemen Relations: The Way Forward"

Associate, Carnegie Middle East Program


Ambassador Edmund Hull

Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen


4:30 P.M.

Participant Biographies

David W. Alley

LTC David W. Alley, U.S. Army, is the Middle East Staff Officer on the faculty of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center at the National Defense University. He is a U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer (FAO) and a U.S. Army Aviation AH-64 Attack Helicopter pilot.

LTC Alley has spent extensive periods of time as an Army FAO in North Africa and the Middle East. He conducted his in-country training in the Office of Defense Cooperation in Morocco in 1999-2000. He later served as the Acting Defense Attache in Sana’a, Yemen, from 2004-2005 and as the Assistant Army Attache in 2006.

LTC Alley served as a Political-Military Advisor to LTG David Rodriguez, the Commander of Task Force Freedom in Mosul, Iraq in 2005. He also served as the Political-Military Advisor to BG H.R. McMaster, Commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, during combat operations in the city of Tel Affar (Talafar).

From 2006 to 2008, LTC Alley served in Beirut, Lebanon. As a member of the Defense Attaché office, he participated in the Non-Combatant Evacuation (NEO) from Lebanon in the summer of 2006. From 2007 to 2008, he served as the Defense Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. This period saw many events unfold in Lebanon including the Nahr Al Barid crisis when the Lebanese Army fought against the al-Qaeda affiliated group Fatah al-Islam, the Hizbullah take over of west Beirut in May 2008, and the first ever Joint Military Commission between the Lebanese Army and the U.S. Department of Defense.

LTC Alley’s tactical assignments as an Army Aviator were in the Republic of Korea, the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC and the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY. LTC Alley is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and received an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. He has a B.S., Mathematical Economics and French Literature from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Rafid Fadhil Mohammed Ali

Rafid Fadhil Mohammed Ali is an Iraqi journalist, writer and researcher. He is currently a senior broadcast journalist at the BBC World Service in London. From 2003 to 2007, he covered the Iraq war and the events that followed. Rafid worked for different Iraqi, pan-Arab and foreign media organizations as a TV reporter. Rafid is an expert in Iraqi politics and militant groups in the Middle East. He writes frequently in Arabic and English for publications such as the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor and Terrorism Focus, and the daily Arabic newspaper, al-Hayat.

Andrew Black

Prior to founding Black Watch Global, Andrew worked for a government contractor serving the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Department of Energy as a senior counterterrorism analyst. In this capacity, Andrew supported Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan with intelligence collection and analysis, planned and executed various red team exercises against U.S. energy facilities, and wrote numerous strategic intelligence products on threats to the U.S. homeland. Previously, he was the head terrorism analyst at a leading terrorism risk management consultancy which serviced U.S. federal, state, and local organizations. In this capacity, Andrew was a principal author on the Department of Homeland Security’s risk-based resource allocation metric. He also wrote analytical reports for various state and local authorities detailing actual and potential terrorist threats to their areas of responsibility.

In addition to his publications for federal clients, Andrew has written numerous academic papers and journal articles on emerging trends in intelligence, warfare, and international terrorism. He is a regular contributor to the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor and Terrorism Focus as well as Jane’s Intelligence Review and West Point’s CTC Sentinel. He has spoken at the Jamestown Foundation on al-Qa’eda’s Resurgence in North Africa and the International Terrorism and Intelligence (ITI) Conference on terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa. Andrew is a member of AFCEA International and the Terrorism Research Initiative. He holds an MA Honors in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) and an MA in International Security Studies from Georgetown University.

Christopher Boucek

Christopher Boucek is an associate in the Carnegie Middle East Program where his research focuses on regional security challenges. Before joining the Carnegie Endowment, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University and lecturer in Politics at the Woodrow Wilson School. He was also previously a media analyst at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., and worked for several years at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London, where he remains an associate fellow. From 2003 to 2005, he was a security editor with Jane’s Information Group.

Boucek has written widely on the Middle East, Central Asia, and terrorism for a variety of publications including the Washington Post, CTC Sentinel, Jane’s Intelligence Review, Journal of Libyan Studies, Strategic Insights, and Terrorism Monitor. He received his Ph.D. and M.A., from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and his B.A. from Drew University.

James Brandon

James Brandon is a Senior Research Fellow, author of Unlocking Al-Qaeda: Islamist extremism in British prisons (November 2009), and also Head of Communications. He joined the team in November 2008.

Before Quilliam, he was the Deputy Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion where he was the author of several reports on Islamic extremism and honour-based violence. From 2002 – 2007, Brandon worked as a journalist for a wide-range of newspapers and broadcast media, reporting on Islamic issues from more than a dozen countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2003 – 2004 he was based in Baghdad where he worked for two local English language newspapers and in 2006 – 2007 he lived in Qatar where he worked for al-Jazeera’s English-language satellite news channel. Brandon regularly appears on British and international broadcast media to debate Islamic extremism and he also contributes articles on the subject to a range of think tanks and academic journals in the US and the UK. He has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Joost Hiltermann

Since 2002, Hiltermann has managed a team of analysts based in the Middle East and North Africa to conduct research and write policy-focused reports on factors that increase the risk of and drive armed conflict.  From 1994-2002, he served as Executive Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch and 1992-1994, as the Director of the Iraq Documents Project, also for HRW.  Hiltermann received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California in Santa Cruz.

Edmund J. Hull

Edmund J. Hull served as the Ambassador of the United States to Yemen from 2001 to 2004. A career Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Hull has also served in Cairo (twice), Tunis and Jerusalem. Assignments in Washington include Acting Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Director for UN Peacekeeping in the State Department and Director for Near East Affairs at the National Security Council. Ambassador Hull is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and studied for a year at Oxford University with Sir Michael Howard. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mahdia, Tunisia. He is married to Amal Abul Hajj and has two daughters, Leila and Lena.

Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani

Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani is a development consultant and a political analyst. Born in Yemen in 1959, he received a bachelors of arts in Political Science from Portland State University in 1984 and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Boston in 1988. Since then, he worked in the private sector and was involved in public affairs. He has been a vocal critic of the policies of the Saleh regime and of the inability of the opposition to mount a credible opposition. He has been a frequent commentator on Yemeni politics in international media.

Mohammed Al-Maitami

Dr. Mohammed Al-Maitami has served as a professor of economics at Sana’a University in Yemen since 1988. He has also served as a visiting scholar, professor, and researcher at many academic international institutions, such as the Institute for Research Studies for the Arab and Muslim World in France, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown University. He is also the founder and member of many Yemeni NGOs, one of which is the Institute of Yemeni Democracy in Washington, D.C. Professor Al-Maitami is also a Silatech Senior Country Representative for Yemen, Vice Chairman on Non-governmental Counsel of Advisors for the President of the Republic of Yemen, Vice Chancellor of the International University of Technology Twintech, Yemen Branch, Sana’a, since 2009, a founder and member of the board of trustees and the Board of Directors of Sheba Center of Strategic Studies in Sana’a, and a member and affiliate of many international academic and business institutions including the Economic Research Forum, Global Development Network, and others. Professor Al-Maitami has published extensively in Arabic, English and French and in academic journals and newspapers both in and outside of Yemen.

Andrew McGregor

Dr. Andrew McGregor is Director of Aberfoyle International Security, a Toronto-based agency specializing in security issues related to the Islamic world. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations in 2000 and is a former Research Associate of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. In October 2007 he took over as managing editor of the Jamestown Foundation’s Global Terrorism Analysis publications. He is the author of an archaeological history of Darfur published by Cambridge University in 2001 and publishes frequently on international security issues. His latest book is A Military History of Modern Egypt, published by Praeger Security International in 2006. Dr. McGregor provides commentary on military and security issues for newspapers (including the New York Times and Financial Times), as well as making frequent appearances on radio (BBC, CBC Radio, VOA, Radio Canada International) and television (CBC Newsworld, CTV Newsnet, and others).

Bruce Riedel

Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He retired in 2006 after 30 years service at the Central Intelligence Agency including postings overseas. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to four Presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. He was a negotiator at several Arab-Israeli peace summits including at Camp David and Wye River. He was also Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a senior advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. In January 2009 President Barack Obama asked him to chair a review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan the results of which the President announced in a speech on March 27, 2009. He is the author of The Search for al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future published by Brookings Press. He teaches at Georgetown University and SAIS.

Michael W. S. Ryan

Dr. Michael W. S. Ryan is an independent consultant and researcher on Middle Eastern security issues and a Senior Research Associate at the Jamestown Foundation. Dr. Ryan has served as the Vice President of the Middle East Institute as well as Vice President at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (2007-2008), and as a Political-Military and foreign assistance specialist for the Departments of Defense and State with an emphasis on Middle East and North Africa (1979-1997). He is a former Fulbright Fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt. Dr. Ryan received his B.A. from St. John’s College and a PhD from Harvard University.

AbdulElah Hider Shaea

Abdulelah Hider Shaea is a Yemeni journalist and terrorism expert. He has examined the expanding ideology of the Jihadist Global Movement (JGM) in an effort to answer the important question on why the West and the United States are losing the war on terror. He has given presentations on understanding the mindsets and ideas motivating terrorists. His interviews have been published in the world by the interview with journals in the Europe, US and the Arabic world such as al-Jazeera. He has successfully interviewed some of the world’s leading ideologists of the Jihadist Global Movement, such as Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi who had ties to the shooter FH Nidal Hassan, as well as Abdul Mutaleb and Imam Anwar who were accused of having links with two of the 9/11 hijackers. Mr. Shaea also has interviewed several of the prominent leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

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