few of the world's poorest countries better exemplify American interests in government performance than Yemen. Long overshadowed by its oilrich Persian Gulf neighbors, Yemen gained attention as both an occasional target and a natural haven for militant regional paramilitary groups (including but not limited to al Qaeda). Headlines were made at a time when development analysts were already worried about ecological and economic stresses exacerbated by the strains of structural adjustment and critical water scarcity. In view of these circumstances, analysts began wondering if Yemen is an example of the combustible mix of poor governance and economic stagnation that could blow up or melt down. Realizing that the stability, safety, and welfare of the most populous and poverty-stricken country on the Arabian Peninsula matter, the Bush administration promised substantial U.S. assistance for the first time in Yemeni history. The question is, can American aid fix Yemen's problems?

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Copyright © 2006 Center for Global Development. This chapter first appeared in Short of the Goal: U.S. Policy and Poorly Performing States.

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