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High-Value Target: Countering al Qaeda in Yemen (ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy) Hardcover – April 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Few Americans know more about Yemen than Hull, who served there in the years immediately following 9/11.”—Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes
(Steve Kroft 60 Minutes 2011-04-17)

High-Value Target is important reading for anyone wishing to understand the complicated nature of Yemen. I witnessed the terrorist threat there firsthand, having served as the FBI case agent for the investigation into the USS Cole bombing and for subsequent threats and attacks after 9/11. I appreciate Ambassador Hull’s efforts to balance very real counterterrorism needs in Yemen with political pressures from Washington that seek to put U.S. counterterrorism emphasis elsewhere.”—Ali Soufan, former FBI supervisory special agent
(Ali Soufan 2011-04-16)

“Former U.S. Amb. Edmund Hull provides fascinating insights into how al Qaeda in Yemen was crushed between 2001 and 2004 and why it was able to return, with greater virulence, as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in 2009. This book is must reading for those trying to divine what lies ahead for Yemen in a changing Arab world.”—Trudy Rubin, Worldview columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer
(Trudy Rubin 2011-04-15)

"[High-Value Target] suggests what much of American diplomacy is going to be like for the coming decades, and deserves close attention."—Amb. Marc Grossman, Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan
(Amb. Marc Grossman 2011-04-18)

"High-Value Target is not only a fascinating firsthand account by the ambassador who helped defeat al Qaeda in Yemen the first time but also a playbook for defeating them the second time."—Gregory Johnsen, an expert on Yemen based at Princeton University and author of the Wag al-Waq blog on Yemen
(Gregory Johnsen 2011-04-14)

About the Author

Amb. Edmund J. Hull is a retired Foreign Service officer and fluent Arabic speaker whose service includes Jerusalem, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. He earned the CIA’s George H. W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism for service in Washington (1999–2001) and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award for service in Yemen (2001–4). Following his retirement, he has taught at Princeton University and he currently consults for the U.S. military. He enjoys offshore sailing and resides in Washington, D.C., when not at sea.
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Product Details

  • Series: ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597976792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597976794
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edmund J. Hull is an acknowledged expert on counterterrorism and Yemen. During the Clinton administration, he served as Deputy, then Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the State Department for which he was given the CIA's George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism. President George W. Bush appointed him ambassador to Yemen where he arrived shortly after 9/11. During his tenure, Ambassador Hull coordinated an inter-agency campaign to assist the Yemeni government in eliminating Al Qaeda's leadership and fostering political reform generally and development in remote tribal areas where Al Qaeda sought safe haven.

Hull graduated from Princeton University and studied at Oxford University. Upon retirement from the Foreign Service, he was named as Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School's first diplomat-in-residence. Hull has been featured on "60 Minutes," the New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera and other media. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also enjoys offshore sailing.

To see "60 Minutes" comments on Yemen visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV32bCzKpJ8

To read NY Times op ed visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/opinion/12hull.html

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ambassador Tom Miller on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a former colleague of author Amb (ret) Edmund Hull, I can attest that the author not only knows but has lived first-hand what he has written about in this excellent book. Edmund was one of our nation's premier experts on the Arab world and spent his entire career trying to understand and explain the nuances of this fascinating region to our policymakers. Later in his career, he got the opportunity to be one of those key policymakers.

His posting to Yemen in 2001 gave him the opportunity to apply a lifetime of knowledge to understanding this difficult country. Make no mistake, Edmund is anything but a Lawrence of Arabia suffering from clientitis to the country in which he was posted. His years as a senior counterterrorism official gave him the realistic perspective that one sees in this book, where he is not afraid to take on senior Yemeni officials for their failings. The book also gives a remarkably candid perspective on how the US government actually works from an insider who knows--our successes, failures, shortcomings, micromanagement, and ignorance hiding in the guise of a know-it-all perspective. Bravo for Edmund in that he also recognizes the indispensable but often unappreciated role that spouses in the Foreign Service play.

This short volume is easy to read, in large part due to the author's fluid prose and well-organized style. It should be must-reading for university students seriously interested in following a diplomatic career as well as for diplomats from all nations who want to get a better understanding and appreciation of how the US foreign policymaking system actually operates. Indeed, its appeal is really to a much wider audience--all those who are interested in understanding how the foreign policy process actually works.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dagmar Painter on May 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ambassador Edmund Hull has written a fascinating account of his efforts to work with the Yemeni government to neutralize al Qaeda in Yemen during his tenure there 2001-2004. He gives an unvarnished, insider's account of the difficult personalities, the egos and the conflicting agendas in both the Yemeni and the US government. Trying to convince skeptics on both sides of his innovative approaches in linking development to security and security to development, he details in readable and often humorous terms both successes and failures. Descriptions of high level meetings in Washington and risky trips to remote tribal outposts are equally entertaining to the layperson, as are his capsule characterizations of the principal players. A refreshing book written by a real expert who is able to translate his expertise for the rest of us to understand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Brown on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a must-read for those who seek to understand how effective diplomacy can contribute to countering terrorist networks abroad. Hull describes how, in Yemen, his embassy was able to convince both a reluctant host government and a divided American administration that they could work together successfully to check the spread, and even roll back, dangerous terrorist cells. Using imagination as well as bureaucratic skills to marshal the necessary American resources, balanced by diplomatic skills to sell the Yemeni government on a program of active cooperation, Hull and his country team were able to create a model "whole of government" approach. Along with a flowing narrative and good descriptions of people and events, Hull also includes useful comments on the practical considerations of creating an appropriate balance between military and diplomatic approaches to combating terrorism. Terrorist networks can be neutralized only when they are both lethal to their participants and unwelcome to their host populations; Embassy Sanaa was able to find the right combination for the time. That conditions subsequently changed for the worse in no way negates the valuable lessons that can be learned from this account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Banach on June 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anyone, not just professionals, can read this insightful account of Ambassador Hull's years in Yemen (2001-2004) to learn what has worked in the past to shutdown Al Qaeda in one of its primary training grounds. The book is very readable and engaging. Hull personalizes the work done in Yemen so the reader gets a feel for the human factors involved for Americans and Yemenis alike. Ambassador Hull laid the groundwork for a path to peaceful coexistence for the USA and Yemen.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some readers of this review may have flunked 9th grade Latin and their knowledge of the Middle East is/was similar to that of Alan Jackson's "Where were you..." following the 9/11 attack. Other readers may be their high school valedictorian, on their way to speaking five languages and looking forward to attending Princeton. The latter group may even plan to take courses from the author of the reviewed book such as The Middle East Peace Process, Democratization in the Middle East and National Intelligence. Whichever group one may belong or tend you can be assured that the detail and clarity of thought that is High Value Target will propel you forward in your understanding of our Foreign Service efforts and in particular their counterterrorism methods. The detail, 217 very informative footnotes, is unlike anything that can be gleaned from reading news columns or books by journalists. This is not a dry recitation of events by Ambassador Hull of his three years plus in Yemen. It is rather a highly readable effort to share his reasoning and interactions with a foreign government that was on the United States Target vs. Partner bubble at the time of his appointment. Ambassador Hull is no talking head. He is a live, flesh and blood, albeit gifted human being who references siblings, his father and his wife Amal in his writing. We all, Yemen and US citizens alike, have benefited from his time in Yemen. There is a debt of gratitude to the people in our foreign service that unfortunately in most cases goes unpaid. This work will be appreciated by professionals and professional wanna be's, but, as written above by, Marguerite Wilson, this is also a "stimulating read for those of us who watch from the sidelines, but still care deeply." As of this morning President Ali Abdllah Saleh has returned to Yemen and the story continues.
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