This chapter argues that tribes can play a vital role in helping transition processes to overcome the serious challenges that emerge after the removal of former regimes. Specifically, they can help to fill security gaps, mediate between the regime and the opposition during political crises, and resolve communal and sectarian disputes using customary law. This chapter finds that Yemen’s fiercely independent tribes fulfil these roles and their leaders have participated in Yemen’s national dialogue and transition as members of political parties. In the case of Libya, tribes were manipulated by the Qaddafi regime, but now have the potential to aid reconciliation, including by breaking cycles of revenge. The chapter concludes that a major contribution of tribes to reconciliation is their ability to legitimize political processes.
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