...there has been a dramatic turnaround in the fluctuating love-hate relationship between the two countries.
And this week's aborted attempt to blow up a U.S. plane by a Nigerian student, with ties to a terrorist group in Yemen, has brought the political spotlight back on a country which is proud of its gun culture.
Yemen reportedly has over 60 million handguns and small arms spread over a population of some 21 million people.
Yehya al-Mutawakil, a former interior minister, was quoted as saying that everyone in Yemen is armed with handguns, while members of various tribes have gone upscale: they are armed with assault weapons, rocket launchers and submachine guns.
Between 2002 and 2008, Yemen received some 69 million dollars in U.S. military aid; and 496 Yemeni military personnel were trained under the International Military Education and Training programme (IMET).
William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New York-based New America Foundation, cites press reports to suggest that Washington will rapidly ramp up U.S. military aid to Yemen over the next 18 months.
The projected total, he said, is about 70 million dollars, or roughly the amount provided during the entire administration of former President George W. Bush.
"U.S. military aid to Yemen is a double-edged sword," Hartung told IPS.
On the one hand, the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh has participated in strikes against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-inspired groups within and around its borders.
On the other hand, he said, "The Yemeni government is one of the most unstable regimes in the world, and there is a danger that U.S. weapons and training could be turned against U.S. interests, if there is a change in government there."
This is my biggest disappointment with Obama. I was hoping he'd get us out of Iraq, wind down the business in Afghanistan and quit policing the world. I thought this was a characteristic of the Bush years. I was wrong. Now the only question seems to be, which will it be next, Iran or Yemen.
What's your opinion?