chapter  9
14 Pages

Good governance and air strikes: America’s awkward toolkit in Yemen


Since former President George W. Bush famously stated in 2003 that ‘Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe’,1 democratisation has been at the forefront of the US Government’s public diplomacy in the Middle East. Despite this, funding for military assistance has always far exceeded democracy assistance aid in the Arab world, with the billion dollars or so in military aid that was provided to Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak alone outweighing the money the US government spent on democracy promotion throughout the entire Arab world every year.2 This prioritisation in Yemen is no different, and by mid-2010, Yemen had been allocated just over US$250 million in Section 1206 Defense Department Assistance funding, making it the largest recipient of such assistance anywhere in the world that year.3