For the first time in its exceedingly long history, Yemen now threatens the outside world. It does so in two principal ways.
First, even before the current political upheaval began there on Jan. 15, violence out of Yemen already impinged on Westerners. As President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s weak government controlled only a small part of the country, violence had emerged both near to Yemen, such as attacks on American and French ships, and distant from it, like Anwar al-Awlaki’s incitement to terrorism in Texas, Michigan and New York. With Mr. Saleh’s apparent abdication on June 4, when he traveled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, the central government’s writ will further diminish, leading to yet more attacks being planned inside Yemen for execution outside the country.
But it’s the second danger that staggers my mind: An unprecedented emptying out of Yemen, with millions of unskilled and uninvited refugees, first in the Middle East, then in the West - many of them Islamist - demanding economic asylum.