YEMEN: GEOGRAPHY AND POLICAL HISTORY
A CONFLICT MATRIX OF YEMEN
LITERATURE REVIEW: CAUSES OF YEMEN’S STATE FRAGILITY
FROM UNIFICATION TO STATE COLLAPSE: THE REPUBLIC OF YEMEN BETWEEN 1990 AND 2020
CONCLUSION: YEMEN’S COLLAPSED STATEHOOD RECONSIDERED
The unification of the two Yemeni states-the northern Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the southern People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), respectively-in 1990 has been a resounding failure. Merging the tribal-dominated northern and state-party dominated southern regimes meant increasing the number of factions competing for access to state resources to satisfy material and security needs of their respective networks of influence. In particular, efforts at growing the resource base of the unified state after 1990, by means of an expansion of oil and gas exploration and extraction, raised the revenue base of the state in an unsustainable manner. Such growth in national oil and gas rents increased rather than decreased competition over state authority to control the spoils.
The major subsequent events, such as the 1994 civil war, the 2004-2010 “Saada wars” against the Houthi movement, the Yemeni version of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, the failure of the National Dialogue Conference (March 2013-January 2014), and the start of the Saudi and Emirati bombing campaign and subsequent ground war in Yemen since March 2015 all triggered major clashes between different factions of the Yemeni state bureaucracy, army, and civil society. On each of these occasions, efforts to freeze out some Yemeni actors produced escalating conflict between the remaining factions instead of a winning coalition that could have reestablished a degree of stability. The article explains how local, regional, and global factors have jointly overwhelmed the Yemeni actors, and how foreign intervention has led to the further deterioration of the pre-existing national crisis.
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