Yemen Proves Tough Test for New Middle East Strategy

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced Thursday plans to reform Yemen’s constitution and to shift to a parliamentary system by the end of 2011. What on the surface looks like a concession to the protesters calling for the end of his regime may actually be a calculated measure meant to shore up U.S. support for his embattled government.

A March 5th article in the Wall Street Journal set out what appears to be Obama’s new strategy for managing unrest in the Arab world: maintain support for autocratic allies who are willing to reform. Saleh’s concessions may be aimed squarely at conforming to this new position.

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