As drone technology advances and proliferates ever further, national and international security interests will increasingly come to be seen being served better by drones than by expeditionary campaigns. That said, the temptation for more state (and non-state) actors to use drones and to do so more often, will not necessarily make the world a safer or less violent place.
Western powers can and must play a key role in containing the threat posed by al-Qaeda, if only to to create the space in which local political, religious, civic, and business leaders can eradicate the fertile ground of regime illegitimacy from which al-Qaeda will otherwise, more likely than not, rise and rise again.
Managing expectations inside and outside of Yemen about what the National Dialogue can accomplish will enable broadly acceptable outcomes to be achieved by participants in the conference and their subsequent sustainable implementation by all stakeholders.
The international community’s capacity for conflict management remains a potentially highly effective, albeit not flawless, instrument for managing a wide range of security challenges, which, however, will be applied, as it always has, selectively and in line with the national interests of the great powers.
Three ‘ingredients’ are essential in managing processes such as the Arab Spring and their aftermath successfully: leadership, diplomacy, and institutional design.
The National Dialogue in Yemen is an attractive concept to frame many of the difficult challenges that lie ahead of Yemen but there are also some significant challenges related to it.
The post-election national dialogue in Yemen faces a multitude of serious challenges and there is a wide range of potential spoilers inside and outside the country, but it is Yemen’s perhaps only chance at negotiating a transition.
The key priorities for domestic and international crisis management in Yemen must be to work with all political forces in Yemen to prevent an outbreak of major violence as they compete for power and influence in the country, to contain and delimit the threat of AQAP, and to initiate a process of economic stabilisation and recovery.
The international community must remain realistic about the speed and comprehensiveness of the success of the Arab Spring but should remain committed and determined in its support of the genuine democratic aspirations of the people who have started these revolutions.