There are signs Yemen's war is no longer "forgotten," but is it any closer to coming to an end?
Ambassador Stephen A. Seche
Executive Vice President
Ambassador Stephen A. Seche is the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
He spent 35 years as a career U.S. Foreign Service officer. From 2011-13, Seche served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, with responsibility for U.S. relations with the GCC states and Yemen. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10.
During the 2006-07 academic year, Seche was a visiting fellow at the University of Southern California, where he taught public diplomacy in the master’s degree program. On his return from Yemen, he spent a year at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, leading a graduate seminar in the School of Foreign Service.
From February 2005 to August 2006, Seche served as charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria; he was deputy of chief of mission for the six months prior. This was his second tour in Damascus. From 1999 to 2002, Seche was the counselor for public affairs and the director of the American Cultural Center. He spent the two years between his Damascus assignments as director of the Office for Egypt and Levant Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
Seche spent the first seven years of his Foreign Service career in public diplomacy positions in Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia. Other overseas assignments have included Ottawa, Canada and New Delhi, India. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and spent four years as a journalist before entering the Foreign Service.
He is married to Susan Canning; the couple has three daughters.
Given the military stalemate on the ground in Yemen, it may be that the next meaningful battle in that war is about to be fought on the floor of the U.S.
A simmering conflict between separatists in Southern Yemen and Aden-based elements of Yemen’s exiled government spilled out into the open in late January.
The death of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, will create an enormous vacuum in the country’s political life — one that is unlikely to be filled easily or quickly by anyone else.
It would be no small irony if, in death, former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh advances the cause of peace in his impoverished homeland far more than he ever seemed interested in doing during the final years of his life.
Meetings in Riyadh with senior Yemeni and Saudi officials offered little hope that the war in Yemen is anywhere near its end.
As the contours of the United Arab Emirates’ ambitious agenda in southern Yemen continue to become more evident, so do the differences between the UAE and the government of Yemen’s exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ignited hopes again this week that Yemen’s protracted war may come to a negotiated end, when he announced upon arriving in Abu Dhabi that both the armed Houthi insurgency and the Saudi-led military coalition have agreed to a cessation of hostilities to begin November 17.