WASHINGTON (AP) -- The hasty maritime departure of Yemen's US.-backed president on Wednesday illustrates how completely one of the most important American counterterrorism efforts has disintegrated.
It also raises the prospect of a deeply destabilizing proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Driven weeks ago from the capital by Shiite rebels, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi abandoned the country, leaving from the southern port city of Aden on a boat. His departure comes as rebels were advancing toward his position.
Three years ago, American officials hailed Hadi's ascension to power. Now, U.S. officials acknowledge their efforts against Yemen's dangerous al-Qaida affiliate are seriously hampered.
Beyond terrorism, the latest developments in Yemen have worrisome implications for a Middle East already wracked by Sunni-Shia conflict.