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**Free Online Access to New Research on Islamic Radicalization in Yemen and Saudi Arabia**


**Free Online Access to New Research on Islamic Radicalization in Yemen and Saudi Arabia**

January 19, 2010

The December 25 attempted terror attack of a U.S.-bound Northwest Airlines flight raised additional concerns about security measures at airports and Islamic Radicalization abroad. The Yemen branch of Al Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the incident, also had ties to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. START has supported research on Islamic Radicalization in Yemen and Saudi Arabia by Mohammed Hafez of the Naval Postgraduate School. An article from the project, "Radicalization in the Persian Gulf: Assessing the Potential of Islamist Militancy in Saudi Arabia and Yemen," was recently published in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict.

Free online access has been provided by the publishers until March 9, 2010 at http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1746-7586&volume=1&issue=1&spage=6.

According to the article by Hafez, "While Islamist militancy potentially threatens the entire Gulf region, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are pivotal states that deserve an in-depth look because of their ongoing troubles with radical Islamism."

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Yemen are the two main groups responsible for the violence, and they both have carried out a number of deadly attacks since 2000.

However, "Saudi Arabia appears to be in a better position to deal with radical Islamism than Yemen. Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the world with a strong state capacity to monitor borders, track militants, and suppress radical Islamists. It also employs elements of ''soft power'' through a campaign to discredit the ideas of radical Islamism and a deradicalization program that seeks to reintegrate captured militants. Yemen, on the other hand, is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a weak state with strong internal sympathies for jihadists. Yemen lacks the capacity and will to address the facilitators of radicalization, and its deradicalization program is understood to have a revolving door policy toward captured jihadists? A major vulnerability for Yemen is the lack of state capacity to govern and control all the regions within its territory."

Radical activity within the country is growing. "Yemen has been described as a ''rest stop,'' ''transit point,'' and ''staging ground'' for radical militants and transnational jihadists associated with Al Qaeda. Yemen, however, is increasingly becoming a major arena of operations for Al Qaeda."

The situation in Yemen poses not only a domestic threat, but an international threat as well, as was witnessed recently. "Although radical Islamists in Yemen are mainly Yemeni nationals with a mix of foreign militants, these radicals appear to be pursuing a transnational agenda more than a national one. They have two objectives: strike Western economic and military targets to serve Al Qaeda's broader strategy of harming Western economies, and serve as a safe haven, supply store, and recruitment ground for jihadists in the Gulf and Horn of Africa."

Hafez goes on to warn that both Saudi Arabia and Yemen may face additional risks of radicalization in from "returnees from Iraq" and regional sectarian violence.