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the arabian peninsula.docx

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Political Science
POLI 340
Rex Brynen

Yemen: richer gulf countries particularly saudia plays an imp role inn domestic politics. immigration. Large no of Yemenis have worked in suadia and gulf countries but many of the Yemenis were expelled out of the gulf countries after 1990 91 gulf war cos yemens perceived leaning towards Iraq in that war Basic data slide: only one of the countries was classified by freedom house as being partly free: Kuwait which has a some what imperfect and crises riden parli process. Yemen is very low on hdi relatively. Saudia at the top is not quite so rich in hdi but not as high as in gdp per capita Up until 1990s there were 2 yemens. North yemen and south yemen Southe yemen was former british colony. War of liberation. In 1960s. british left. Left leaning regime allied with soviets established. North yemen had never really come under colonial control although it sufferd poli instabilities in 50s and 60s of civil war. South yemen  instability  split within the socialist ruling party  virtual collapse in south yemen leading to unification of north and south in early 1990s There continues to be dissatisfaction in former south yemen. population overwhelmingly arab. Over half sunni with considerable zaydi shia muslim minority in former north yemen. very sig regional and tribal diff. local tribal identities quite imp in Yemenis politics. North yemen: part of the ottoman empire but a part which wasn’t ruled over very closely. It was a kingdom from its independence till 1962. Coup in 62 and a long civil war in which the Egyptians under nasir supported the new military regime and Saudis supported the royal forces and so the civil war in yenem was kinda the Syria of the day where regional politics was being played. Nasty civil war. Egyptians used chem weapons. Ultimately monarchy lost and YAR established. South yemen: aden: strategic for brits royal navy and so taken over and protectorate established. In UAE british succefully established pro western pro british monarchy federation was set up as a successor state to the british protectorate. Brits tried similar thing with south yemen and establish a Saudi Arabian federation thngy but it failed amid civil war and anti colonial warfare. Ultimately the leftist national liberation front established yemen. 94 war  south facing that it got the wrong end of the deal. But theres less population in south as well. Saleh was pres of north yemen. then unified yemen. from 1983 uptil the arab spring. He wasultimately removed from power during the arab spring. 93 elections. First one was relatively free and fare but they became less so as time went on. Pres saleh’s general peoples congress generally wins majority of seats. Islah (Islamic poli party) does quite well. YSP  old Yemeni socialist party that previously governed the south doesn’t do well. Saleh wins pres elections. Increasing access to resources, patronage and a lil bit of froud insures that the president and his party are winning elections. In the eve of the arab spring you see civil society and opposition parties increasingly demanding fundamental poli reform and saying they will no longer support the current unjust system and so you already have this voice for reforms and change. Increasingly vocal for change. increasing dissatisfaction key context mey arab spring occurs. Rit of central govt really doesn’t apply once you get outside of the sana and major cities. Tribal regions are as much under control of the govt as of tribes. Even more so in the south. Where kind of tribal autonomy and a history of weak gove is compounded by southern resentment at salehs power. Corruption, constant crisis. Yemen discovers some oil. Not enough to lift the economy out of poverty. But some oil money gives govt resources to fuel the patronage. Great deal of rent seeking too. And actors shift around trying to get the resources flowing from the central govt. It can also be argued that salehs governing style was in part 1 was juggling poli crisis. In other words saleh used to play actors against each other. Like go to outside actors like Saudi and americans and say I need some help or otherwise my country will go down and look like Somalia. So both internal and externally saleh was adapt at using crisis to play one side against another to find resources. Very poor country. Poor economy. Nor does oil wealth leads to a lot of secondary development. Cos u bring a rig drill oil and export it. Not really generates lot of employment and secondary tertiary industries. Regime is ina sense a direct descenedent of a military coup in 60s. saleh was ana army officer pehley. Military, tribalism very imp. Tribalism, patronage  sort of informal associations remain important in the military too. Key military officers chosen cos of loyalty to pres or family relations or friends of pres. Some military offcisial and state officials were able to call upon support of thei tribal links etc too. Yemen is a case where the formal legal structure of the state (formal posts people had) didn’t really tell you what their power base was etc. the kind of informal identity or patronage based politics was extraordinally imp. Prior to arab spring: faces various insurgent challenges. It faced southern grievances which sometimes exploded in violence. For several years  rebellion in the houthi groups near the Saudi border in the north. And faced a growth of one of the alqaeda franchises: alqaeda in the Arabian peninsula. Alqaeda ffiliations in the gulf state really cant stay there given the efficiency of counter terrorism efforts so they go to the ungoverned place (yemen or Iraq) where they grow. Saleh uses this aqap threat (which is a seriours threat) but pres uses it to leverage assistance out of US and to blunt any critizism of corruption and authoritarianism cos after all he is a valuable counter terrorism partner. US is allowed to conduct air and drone strikes with Yemenis claiming that its either not happening or claiming responsibility itself that Yemeni airforce did these attacks but which are actually being done by the US. For saleh alqaeda was quite useful as a way to get resources from other states cos of the threat of ebeing a collapsed state. Final in yemen you has as u had in Tunisia and Egypt: some pending succession issues namely whose gonna follow saleh. Uni student initially and later broader section of population begin to protest. Same pattern. Sit down in the capital. Protest in the capital. Over time. More and more actors began to jump on this protest thing. Opposition parties and civil society. Civil society is weak cos of other linkages people have of tribes and clan but there is a civil society. Some of the tribes jump on board. Some military commander jump on board. So parts of Yemeni army kinda protecting protestors from other parts of the Yemeni army. Saleh announces in feb that he is not seeking another term. No need to protest. Ill leave at the end of my term. Which no one believes and the guld cooperation council worried about whats happening in yemen was worried and wanted to manage the transitional process after the gcc, although were enthusiastic supporters of the protest against qaddafi were not happy to see ben ali go, were not happy to see Mubarak go. They thought saleh had a number of weaknesses but a revo on their doorsteps so gcc and Saudi had interest in this transitional process. Saudi interest: 1) it’s the most imp of the gcc countries 2) go back to the map and see Saudi is yemen borders with. That border wasnt demarcated fully until relatively recently. Tribes spill across that border. The area of saudia next to yemen was the last area incorporated in suadia and the Yemenis kinda think of it as Yemeni and Saudis kind of think of bits of yemen as Saudi. 3) The Saudis have or were major actors of Yemeni civl wars. Although the royalist lost in the civil war, the Saudis maintain influence by throwing money at tribes and central govt. bribes for tribes  Yemeni politics Gcc  in march april tries to negotiate a smooth transition. And they get a deal. In may when the pres was to sign it. He backs out. Classic saleh: play along with time. Ride the crisis. Hoping something will happen to survive it. Gcc deal fell apart. Violence escalated. Some of the secuite forces defected to the protesters. Some security force commanders had ambitions that were better persued if the pres was removed. Neither the security forces suddenly became democrats. Hashid tribal confedernacy joins protest. But never is their any clear leadership of the protest. Theres the (JMP  joint opposition parties) the parli opposition, students, civil society, tribal leaders. Very lose coalition with absolutely no core leadership and saleh saw that and so played along for time hoping that it will fall apart and bits of it will break away. Or will fight amongst them self. In june of 2011 someone tried to resolve the issue by blowing the pres up in his palace. Don’t know who did it. He was badly injured and was hospitalized in saudia and with pres remove and Saudis have em in an hospital, now its time to negotiate transition accept that what the pres does aftera few months that the pres just leaves the hospital and he flies back to sana. And Saudis thought he was under arrest but he was a pres and he didn’t negotiate going or cut any deal he just literally stood up and left. Which annoys the gulf countries and so finally in nov they managed for him to leave but he wouldn’t leave so what they finally agreed to that he wouldn’t leave right away but he will transfer his powers to the vice president so he wouldn’t cease to be pres nominally but he will transfer his powers to the vice president. No doubt he hoped he could play for a few more months and some how come back. There were a lot of conspiracy theories and so theres the whole thing that what were the Saudis doing why would they let him go. Ther was no controversy. Saudis hoped to keep him in Saudi until negotiations were over but he just stood up and went home without telling them. He does transfer his poli powers to vice pres al hadi Interim pres election  al hadi wins. We do finally get a transition to an interim poli leader. Vp wasn’t scene as a powerful figure and so why everyone prolly agreed that he could act as interim pres. Under the deal that’s been reached: there has been a national dialogue conference which will discuss what they will do in the new yemen. how they will revise the constitution. Etc. etc. And the process is that once ndc comes up with broad poli agreement on reforms, a govt appointed committee lawyers will turn those into constitutional proposal. Takes a long time for ndc to get started. Lots of argument of who should be on it and who shouldn’t. finally meets in 2013. Proposals: federal poli system to address south issues. Greater female representation. And right now those and some other recommendations have been made which have to be turned in to concrete constitution proposals. Now that actually will be a challenge cos the legal lingo will be imp how things will work out. So constitutional stuff to go through referendum and then elections next year. Yemen right now is like a semi failed state with a lot of factionalism. Poli rivilries. State is weaker then ever in terms of controlling what happens outside major areas. Security issues. Aqap has taken advantage of this chaos to recruit, find resources, build local alliances, often with groups tribes locals seeking greater autonomy from the govt. establish defacto control over small parts. Particularly in south where theres alrdy resentment against the central govt. economy remains a mess. Oil income is stagnant. No other growth sector. Protests in yemen have been motivated by econ and socio and poli discontentment. Having said that, given the challenges yemen alrdy faces plus the transitional issues, yemen could collapse into full scale civil war. It could look even more like Somalia then it does. National dialogue committee could have failed. And so on and so on. When one looks at cases like Libya and yemen, they could never have nice clean transtions cos they had very weak systems, traibalism and other identities were too strong, Libya had nasty civil war, yemen was a country where govt dint really control most of the country. So yemenn would never have a nice smooth transition. Its extra ordinarily unstable and risky and problematic but it could be even more worse. The wealthy part of the Arabian peninsula. 2 countries have non sunni majorities. Bahrain is around 70 to 80 percnt shia. The presense of a shiate majority in a country where the royal family is sunni is a major part of poli protest. Oman has ibadi majority which are neither sunni nor shia. Small off shoot of islam only found in oman. Rest have shia minorities. But theres a sig diff in the way sunni shia issues do or do not express them self in the politics. so the mere existence of these cleavages don’t tell you how they work out in the poli arena. Like the berber example. Different scene of berbers in Libya Algeria morocco. Similarly the presence of shia minority operates differently in different countries In saudia. The state adheres to a particularly puritanical view of sunni islam. In that view shia are barely muslims if they are muslims are at all. On top of that saudia shia minorities not evenly distributed across the country but tends to be over the eastern province in disproportionate numbers where the Saudi oil production is based too. So in Saudi the regime has a shia minority which it doesn’t trust. Which is ideologically and theoulogically not regarded as proper islam. Politically views as influenced by iran. And is located in the most imp part of the country. That’s led to historic discrimination and margiunalization of the community. At times they have protested. Those protests have been clamped down upon. The regime has had lil difficulty in mobilizing he support of the sunni majority in support of the clampdown. By contrast in Kuwait: the fairly sizeable shia minority has historically pretty good relations with the ruling family. Particularly the merchant elite shia. And has in recent years when shia MP have been elected tipped towards the palace. Seeing the royal family as allies sharing econ interests. Iraq: 60 percent shia majority and sunni discontempt of marginalization N if you go to northern Iraq and the Kurdish areas. Most kurds are sunni some are shia and theres no sunni shia split btw kurds whose main identity is Kurdish. Large expatriate populations (foreign workers)  overwhelmingly these days from south and south east asia. Pak, india, bangla, sri lanka, Philippines. Some westerns in tech. LARGE NUMBER Qatar  75 or 80 percent of population are infact foregnrs. Easily deportable foregin workers who don’t much engage in politics. In 90s there was a large palestenian population in the gulf. If you go back to the 1990s there was a large yemein population. 400000 paletenains in Kuwait alone. A mil yemeins in saudia. But during the Iraq Kuwait war regimes felt that palestenians and yeminis were tilting to Iraq. Gulf states expelled em. Theres also a system in gulf where foreignors can open businesses but only in conjuction with Saudi sponsors. So the business is technically half owned by the Saudis who does nothing but just sign the contract and gets half the income. When Yemenis were deported those sponsors got control of those countries and that explains why Yemeni Saudi tensions remain quite high. With exception of saudia and some extent oman, smaller states gradullay became brit protectorates in which the brits gained the foreign policy, security policy, subsuduzed them and frankly those smaller guld emirates, those now ruling families were happy abt the brits thing cos they were getiin rid of the ottomans or was a way to guarantee a particular families poli fortunes against challenges from other families and tribes. So the expansion of the brit colonialism in the gulf wasn’t where brits were conquering but the brits finding reasonably enthusiastic allies who found british guns, gold, protection quite useful in expanding their autonomy from the turks or in guaranteeing their position against challengers. Brits govern these territories indirectly through sheikhs, tribal leaders etc. in most of the gulf emirates, these cities were imp trading ports. They were the merchant ports of the gulf. Some of them were imp part of the pearling industry and they were sig merchant families. Brit colonialism tended to strengthen the leading families with which they cut deals. So the al sabah family (the ruling family of Kuwait) the khalifas in bahrain. The brit colonialism gave those leading families more power and autonomy from the merchents they had. Leading families got their resources from merchants and so therefore they were heavily influenced by what the merchants wanted and what they din want. Brits changed that. So that they became more autonomous from the merchant families and so not surprisingly in 70s the oil further increases the poli power of ruling families. So quite a transition. So the current pattern of monarchy politics is not the historic one. Indp – Kuwait – 1961 A decade later for the others Never formally became a brit protectorate although in many regards it was. Had brit advisors. Got subsidies. But never entered in a formal protectorate arrangement. Oman was once a regional empire. But as oman became weaker it intered into a defacto protectorate arrangement even though it never formally became an electorate. Saudia however is completely diff from rest of gulf Two sets of alliance btw religion tribe and Saudi family. th th Religion: mid 18 to 19 century. Wahhab was a Saudi preacher, religious figure who argued that islam had become contaminated with non Islamic folk practices. That the weaknesses of muslims were haing lost their way from they way the Prophet had preached and taught islam. To purify islam of these innovations (some of em western but a lot of folk ones too like the mazaar scene) which he argued had no place in islam. His preaching found receptive ear within the Saudi family which was one of the imp families of the peninsula. The Saudis became partially fueled the wahabi scene to conquer parts of the Arabian peninsula. This starting alarming everyone. The brits, the Egyptians the ottomans and they get slapped down. 100 years laters: the triple alliance of family, wahabi and tribal thing again underpins the expansion in arab peninsula under al saud. While hashemites were leading a revolt against ottmans, the Saudis were building their power up and at end of ww1 they defeat hashemites and throw em out. Modern Saudi state is conquered and carved out of the Arabian peninsula. Saudis kept expanding till they ran into brits. Usually royal air force. Cos back in the 1920s airforce helped protexted the protectorates by bombing tribes who were rebelling. Intial oil expolartion 30s and 40s sees the beginning of Saudi oil production. 200000 pbd. Back then oil prices were very low and being ex
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