Senate Report: Dozens of American Ex-Cons Disappear in Yemen

Committee Fears Converts Joined al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has reportedly been surprisingly successful in their efforts to lure ‘non-traditional followers’ to their organization, as a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report details.

The report says that some 36 American ex-convicts have traveled to Yemen in the past year after converting to Islam. They went to Yemen ostensibly to study Arabic, but quickly disappeared into the nation’s underground and apparently joined up with al-Qaeda.

A growing number in Congress have expressed concern that, given how little control the Yemeni government actually has over the nation, the tens of thousands of Americans in Yemen are subject to “radicalization” and could pose a difficult to detect risk, as they have American passports.

The growing American role in Yemen is likely to draw further attention from AQAP, which is currently fighting the US-backed government. Yemen’s government is also fighting two other civil wars right now, against secessionists in the north and south of the country.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.