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Unfinished RevolutionsYemen, Libya, and Tunisia after the Arab Spring$
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Ibrahim Fraihat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215632

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215632.001.0001

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(p.39) Two Yemen
Unfinished Revolutions

Ibrahim Fraihat

Yale University Press

Chapter 2 describes the issues Yemen’s transition is facing. It recounts the 2011 uprising and Saleh’s eventual abdication after 33 years in power as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council-backed transition deal. Yemen’s transition has been beset by major security, political, and economic challenges, but as the chapter covers, the two biggest obstacles to national reconciliation are the Houthi rebellion and the Southern movement’s desire for independence. Southerners endured serious social, economic, and political injustices under the Saleh regime and their suffering must be acknowledged. Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference called for federalism, and the author argues that southerners should give this model a chance rather than assume that secession will solve their problems. The Zaidi Shi’ite Houthi movement also has major grievances as it endured systemic discrimination and six military campaigns against it between 2004 and 2010. The chapter notes that the Houthis had not articulated specific demands, but in 2014 their forces advanced rapidly from Saada and ultimately seized Sanaa and staged a coup, disrupting Yemen’s transition and provoking a regional military intervention. The Houthis’ aggression, apparently supported and facilitated by Saleh, has consolidated an additional barrier to Yemeni reconciliation, and led to civil war.

Keywords:   Yemen, Houthis, Southern movement, National dialogue, Political transition

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