SD: My book fits into a category of new studies in the field of contemporary history, politics, culture, religion, and international relations concerning the underlying dynamics of the Arab democratic spring. I like to draw a distinction between Yemen and other countries involved in the Arab spring.
Readers of my book will learn that Yemen stands out as a unique participant in this dramatic moment of world history. As the months passed by, Yemenis remained the most disciplined protesters without exception. Among other countries in the Arab world, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria, the massive uprisings came as a total surprise. At the beginning of the year, there was practically no anticipation that rulers in these countries could be overthrown in less than twelve months. Salih had already endured four years of open rebellion.
The previous year, in January , when US and British officials met in London, there were genuine fears Yemen could become the next Somalia, another failed state with no central authority.
Minoritarian attempts at insurrection in Greece
This was nearly twelve months before events in Tunisia. Throughout , they tried to prop up Salih with greater foreign aid. For all of these reasons, the circumstances inside Yemen as it entered were notably different from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. This dimension is how the uprising in the streets afforded Yemenis a chance to rebuild their flawed national union.
Before , it seemed almost inevitable that Yemeni unity would fail.
We Are an Image from the Future: The Greek Revolt of 2008
Once again, they were demanding secession. Even groups in central desert regions began seeking autonomy. This changed in early By the early spring, supporters of al-Hirak in Aden and other southern cities and towns stopped waving the southern flag and adopted the chants of protesters in Sanaa and Taiz. Many of these chants were the same ones heard on the streets of Tunis and Cairo.
Greece during World War I
The shared language and rituals of these street protests had a unifying effect in Yemen, as citizens felt called upon to participate in something greater than their regionally specific causes. Even Huthi rebels joined students in the streets around Sanaa University to chant slogans. All citizens realized that they had strength in numbers. Many protest leaders in Sanaa cautioned supporters of al-Hirak and the Huthis that Salih would attempt to exploit regional divisions.
Indeed, Salih warned of threats to unity, stating that if he left office the country would fragment into warring states. He constantly exploited regional and tribal divisions to stay in power. Finally, in , his gamesmanship had caught up with him. Now that he is deposed, it remains unclear whether national unity can be guaranteed.
Spring riots 2016, France
Supporters of al-Hirak and the Huthis rejected the GCC-sponsored deal granting Salih immunity from prosecution for war crimes. They also boycotted the national referendum on 21 February , designed to give popular legitimacy to the transitional president, Abd al-Rabo Mansour Hadi. When voting took place, al-Hirak activists raided polling centers in Aden and other areas of the south, stealing ballot boxes and setting fire to government offices.
There was also renewed fighting north of Sanaa by Huthi rebels. Thus, the transition in Yemen is fraught with difficulties and challenges. In the first week of March, tragic suicide bombings and massacres occurred in the capital of Hadramaut province in the east, and Abyan province near Aden. In carrying out the analysis in my book, the main literature that I draw upon concerns national identity and state formation.
The influential work of Benedict Anderson in his book Imagined Communities is important.
wheelwhertbraverco.tk In addition, I refer to the work of political scientists, and a few anthropologists, who discuss the importance of resource competition in the formation and maintenance of group identities. Instead of grievances about corruption and the inefficient use of national resources fragmenting the population, she proposed that it could just as easily bring the population together, because everyone shared the same misfortune and unease. As I demonstrate in my book, this certainly became true in when people in many regions united to remove Salih and seek change in the hope that a new government would better represent their interests.
But there were also temporary strategic reasons for regional groups to unite in the removal of Salih. Whether these groups will continue to be united, now that Salih has been removed, is a separate issue. I suggest in my book that Yemen will likely remain a fragmented nation with rival regional interests in competition with one another. The sources of competition are simply too high. Before Salih resigned, leaders of the protests in Sanaa wanted to believe that people from all regions of the country could work together and move forward to build a brighter, common future.
To admit otherwise risked creating a political advantage for Salih, who always claimed that he was the only person capable of maintaining Yemeni unity via his old divide and rule tactics When pressed to explain why a political settlement in Yemen had taken so long compared to Tunisia and Egypt, he had a prepared answer based on long experience. I tried to write a book addressing domestic and international forces because I want this contemporary history to appeal to readers interested in both.
Yet, for decades, it has been flooded with foreign money from different sources, each of which buys influence over government and non-government decision makers, especially the tribal shaykhs. The literature on foreign policy and failed states is important for studies of post-Cold War history and the rise of non-state groups like al-Qaeda.
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I think the topic of al-Qaeda in Yemen has been overblown, but it obviously demands better understanding. Few people appreciate the parallels between Yemen and Afghanistan, ones that have existed since the late Cold War. Like Afghanistan during the s and s, Yemen was contested between the Soviet Union and a powerful neighboring US ally: Pakistan, in the case of Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, in the case of Yemen.
Beginning in the s, but especially in the s and s, the US favored Saudi and Pakistani Islamization of their neighbors as a means to prevent the spread of Soviet influence. In both cases, this led to the defeat of Marxists in Yemen and Afghanistan during the early s. SD: As already mentioned, Regionalism and Rebellion in Yemen is partially based on my previous research, although much of this research has never been published because it comes from my PhD dissertation.
The book is actually a compilation of materials I have been collecting for more than fifteen years. In this sense, it offers the reader a comprehensive analysis of Yemen, its people, and their politics and culture, covering the past three or four decades. This historical approach is absolutely critical to understanding what happened in Yemen in The introduction and first chapter of my book comes largely from new research over the past two years. Chapter six derives from the concluding sections of my dissertation, which examined efforts made by President Salih in the late s to consolidate his battlefield gains in In the fall of , President George W.
The invasion of Iraq was deeply unpopular in Yemen. Outside Iraq itself, and possibly Afghanistan and Pakistan, no other country witnessed as much street anger and violence as Yemen. Initially, public rage was directed at the US and British embassies in Sanaa, but when Salih ordered his security to fire live ammunition on the protesters, the public inevitably turned against the regime.
Chapter eight explains the growth of regional opposition movements in Yemen during the mids. Chapter nine largely consists of new material from to , when President Salih failed to placate regional opposition, and gradually lost territorial control. Some of this material was covered in articles I published in Jadaliyya. I offer a few prescriptions of what concerned citizens, both inside and outside the country, should do to meet the tremendous challenges facing Yemen. This is a country caught in a perfect storm of political, economic, social, and environmental crises.
It deserves the full attention of people in neighboring countries and around the world. First, the book is primarily written for non-specialist students of Middle East politics, because I hope it will be adopted for use in college and university courses across many disciplines. The book includes an extensive index and bibliography, as well as a chronology of key events, and lists of key names and abbreviations; in addition, there are instructive data tables, four maps, and twenty photographs, many of which I took during visits to the country.
When I completed the book, I hoped it would be useful for students of the street protests and, more generally, anyone interested in regime-opposition politics in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Yemen is a critically important country in both fields, and this will remain true for the foreseeable future. I hope my book will become a standard text on Yemeni politics. What kind of new things?