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Rex Brynen (65)

arabian peninsula.odt

6 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 340
Rex Brynen

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ARABIAN PENINSULA YEMEN – up until 1990s, there was a North (never under colonial control, maintained independence) and South Yemen (under colonial control) – civil war devastated South Yemen so the two Yemens were mashed together, there is still considerable dissatisfaction in South Yemen – approximately 95% Arab – over 50% Sunni Muslims, 40-50% Zayadi Shi'ite Muslims – significant regional and tribal differences North Yemen – under control of Zayadi Imamite (9th-20 century) and Ottoman Empire (although not ruled very closely) – Kingdom of North Yemen (1918-62), in 1962 there was a military coup followed by a long and bloody civil war (1962-70) in which Egyptians and Saudis were opposed on who they supported- expression of broader regional politics – leads to formation of YemenArab Republic South Yemen – Aden occupied by Britain – protectorate established, British tried as they were leaving to establish a federation of pro Western monarchies (Federation of SouthArabia), but it failed in context of civil war – leftist NLP emerge as victors, establish People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1967) State Formation – periodic conflict between North and South Yemen – civil war in South Yemen (1986) – unification of Yemen in 1990, secessionist civil war in South in 1994 with the South feeling they got the short end of the stick Regime Dynamics – AliAbdullah Saleh, president of former North Yemen and then of unified Yemen (1983-) – multiparty elections starting in 1993: first relatively free and fair and became less so as time went on – Saleh's General People's Congress wins majority of seats, Islah second, YSP doing poorly and Ba'thists/Nasirists etc doing even worse – first direct presidential elections in 1999: Saleh wins – unfair access to electoral resources, patronage, intimidation, fraud- ensures president and his party are winning elections – opposition coalition (JMP) and civil society demands electoral reforms which postpones the 2009 election Weak central government, corruption, with weak institutions, crisis, and rent-seeking – some oil, but not enough to lift country out of poverty – various actors manoeuvre to get access to limited amount of resources flowing from central government – Saleh's style is constant juggling of political crises by playing one side against the other and recruiting outside help, threatening complete anarchy if he didn't get resources/help Socioeconomic underdevelopment – poorly functioning economy – limited oil wealth does not lead to job creation or much development Continued importance of the military, tribalism – military remains very important, regime was birthed from a military coup – tribal regions as much under control of tribes as they are under the central government – even more so in South where tribal autonomy is compounded by weak institutions – informal associations like tribalism, patronage remain in military too, key military officers are chosen for relationship/loyalty to President and some officers are able to call upon support of tribe/region when needed Insurgent challenges – Southern grievances – Houthi rebellion in Northwest (2004-2010): group near Saudi border – growth of AQAP (2009-):Al-Qaeda franchise, go to Yemen because it has low state capacity to crush them- Saleh uses very realAl-Qaeda threat to leverage assistance out of the West and to blunt any criticism of corruption/authoritarianism because he is against terrorism Impending succession issues – will Saleh's son take over, or will it be a military officer? Yemen's protest movements th – major demonstrations start in Sana'a on January 27 , starting with students and ballooning – Saleh announces in February that he won't seek a second term – Saleh backs out of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) brokered deal in May at the last minute, which wanted to manage transition, Saudi has very important interests in Yemen because of border disputes with tribes spilling across – due to failure of Saleh to sign GCC deal, violence, stand-off between security forces and protesters escalates, with some military defecting in March and the Hashid tribal confederacy joining protesters in May – lack of clear protest leadership (JMP, students, tribal leaders, civil society groups all involved but no one group is in charge) – Saleh injured in June bombing, hospitalized in Saudi, returns to Yemen in September and is set to transfer powers under a new GCC deal in November Transition – al- Hadi (VP) assumes presidential powers, confirmed in February 2012 because he wasn't seen as a particularly strong political figure National Dialogue conference convened – new constitution to be drafted by government appointed committee, implementing NDC recommendations – NDC proposed federal system to address South with more female representation in parliament – new constitution to be approved in referendum New elections to be held in 2014 Continued (very serious) challenges of the semi-failed state – factionalism: political rivalries, state as weak as ever, weak penetration into rural areas – poor security situation:AQAP taken advantage of extended political transition to recruit, get resources, build local alliances with tribes seeking more control over government – economy: oil income stagnant, no other growth sector Gulf states: composition Sunni majority, Shi'ite minority: Kuwait, SaudiArabia, UAE, Qatar Shi'ite majority, Sunni minority: Bahrain Ibadi majority, Sunni minority: Oman Large expatriate population (easily deportable foreign workers who don't engage much in politics) in Bahrain, Qatar and UAE SAUDI ARABIA Recently elected to UN security council after a campaign, declined offer after recent actions of the UN regarding Syria and US regarding Syria, Palestine, increasing relations with Iran, failure to support Saudi in repressing protests in Bahrain Rentierism – oil income used to rent political loyalties of population Religious establishment – ulema, mutwwa'in – historic role of Wahabbi movement The Royal Family – institutionalized dynasticism: very large royal family which can be strategically placed in key political positions (key military commanders etc.) in order to sustain monarchy- strength in numbers Tribalism –
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