Risks: Yemen's 15 minutes of fame in the U.S. media following the failed 2009 Christmas bombing plot have ended, but that doesn't make the capital city of Sana'a any safer. One year before the bomb plot, Yemeni militants used grenades, assault rifles, and vehicular bombs to stage an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a in which 10 people were killed. This January, one day after a visit from Gen. David Petraeus, the embassy was forced to close for two days in response to threats made by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack what a State Department release referred to as "American interests" in Sana'a -- which could be a diplomatic euphemism for the embassy itself. Information on the threats remains scarce. Upon re-opening, the embassy issued a short, cryptic press release stating that "successful counter-terrorism operations conducted by Yemen[i] security forces... have addressed a specific area of concern, and have contributed to the Embassy's decision to resume operations."
Precautions: Unfortunately, the embassy in Sana'a doesn't have the security resources of, say, the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, whose fortress-like fortifications dwarf those of its comparatively tiny, poorly guarded counterpart in Yemen. Consequently, the embassy can do no more to ensure the safety of its employees than restrict their travel to Sana'a and recommend that they follow some very commonsensical security precautions: exercise caution when going out in public places, avoid large gatherings of foreigners and expatriates, and avoid attending political or religious demonstrations.