Speaker: Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani, Independent Political Activist Chair: Professor Martha Mundy, LSE Discussant: Ludmila du Bouchet, Sciences-Po Thursday 21 June 2012, 18:30-20:00, NAB 1.04, New Academic Building, LSE Follow on Twitter: #lseyemen A year ago, thousands of Yemenis gathered in Sanaa’s Change Square, calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In September 2010, Saudi Arabia marked the anniversary of the 1962 Republican Revolution in Yemen by funding lavish parties in the country’s capital. Large numbers of Yemenis thronged the Saudi Arabian embassy in Sana’a to collect the cash dispensed to commemorate this momentous occasion. Such a degree of profligateness in Saudi foreign policy is hardly new, but the pretence of solidarity demonstrated in their celebration of the Republican Revolution is particularly perplexing—even by Saudi standards of prevarication. On 26 September 1962, a small group of army officers in North Yemen ended the thousand-year-old Imamate overnight and established the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). The Republican Revolution, supported by Nasserite Egypt, sparked a number of significant internal upheavals in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. / Yemen relations
This piece was contributed by Bilal Ahmed, a student and activist completing his senior year at Rutgers University who has spent time in Yemen. This piece was primarily written during his stay in Tahrir Square, Egypt. As always with guest contributors, their opinions are their own.
The two films presented here, “One day in the heart of the revolution ” and “Another day in the heart of the revolution,” provide snapshots of the Yemeni uprising in 2011. As a filmmaker, I wanted to show Yemenis who have taken to the streets, the ordinary citizens who fought for change against overwhelming odds. While Al-Jazeera and other international media outlets focused on the calculated remarks of politicians and political analysts, I sought to capture the voices of the revolutionaries, the hope, anger, frustration, and resolve that are the true power behind the Yemeni uprising. At the same time, these films endeavor to document not just people’s physical and emotional struggles and the violence of the regime, but the internal contradictions of the revolution that have materialized at crucial junctures in the past year.
Yemen - curators...
Yemen - reading...
The closest thing the US has to a "Yemen Czar" is John Brennan, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, and so when he speaks on Yemen - as he did recently - it is a good idea to pay attention. On Monday, the eve of Yemen's one-man elections, Brennan was in Sanaa, and during his time there he sat down with some journalists, and the US Embassy has since published the transcript of his roundtable . Brennan has a lot to say, and I would encourage everyone to read his full remarks, but one of the things that stood out to me was Brennan's comments on military restructuring. Obviously military restructuring is going to be one of the most important and most controversial processes of the post-Salih era in Yemen.
Yemen’s upheaval presents a rare opportunity to redefine its flawed and failed political compact. At the same time, however, it has considerably raised the price of inaction. If nothing is done soon to peacefully address both national and Southern deep-seated grievances, a darker and more ominous chapter could yet be written. RECOMMENDATIONS To all Yemeni political stakeholders:
Pour comprendre les enjeux des prochaines élections législatives yéménites, il faut rappeler la logique des scrutins précédents. En 1993, le premier scrutin après la réunification du Nord et du Sud intervenue en mai 1990, avait vu, au sein d’un foisonnement de petites formations, s’affronter trois grandes forces politiques : les deux ex-partis uniques (le Congrès général du peuple du Nord et le Parti socialiste du Sud), auxquels étaient venus se mêler, en soutien au camp du Nord, les islamistes du Rassemblement yéménite pour la réforme (l’Islah ). En récompense de son soutien au régime, l’Islah fut « autorisé » à conquérir 62 sièges (plus que les 56 des socialistes) et il reçut six portefeuilles gouvernementaux. Le Yémen passa alors un temps pour une sorte de préfiguration arabe de la transition démocratique. Mais ce pluralisme était « armé ».
In 2009, Yemeni security forces arrested four men for being Twelver Shias. Yemen's north is dominated by Zaydis, a sect of Shias very distinct from the Twelver Shias who are found in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain and elsewhere. Zaydis are theologically closer to Sunni Islam than they are to mainstream Twelver Shias, and Yemen's president is himself a Zaydi. Sectarian tensions throughout the Middle East increased since the 2003 American invasion of Iraq and the civil war that followed, getting worse after the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al Hariri who was posthumously made into a Sunni symbol, as was Iraq's Saddam Hussein following his 2006 execution.
In recent weeks, Yemeni protesters calling for an immediate end to the 32-year reign of US-backed president Ali Abdullah Saleh have been met with increasing violence at the hands of state security forces. A recent pledge by Saleh to step down, one of many that haven't met demonstrators' demands, has yet to halt the protests or violence by the troops backing his regime. During a demonstration earlier this month in the city of Taiz, protesters marching down a central street were confronted by security forces and Saleh supporters, while government helicopters flew overhead. "The thugs and the security forces fired on us with live gunfire," Mahmud al-Shaobi, one of the protesters told the New York Times . "Many people were shot." In the days since, more demonstrators have been attacked by government forces – with the death toll now estimated to exceed 130.