The “Yemen Model” as a Failure of Political Imagination
International Journal of Middle East Studies — February 2015
Unfortunately, there is something of a vicious cycle in this process. The seeming irrelevance of formal institutions to crisis management—let alone to the more robust standard of accountable governance—is at once a symptom and a contributing factor to activists’ turn outward. Yet activists will find it difficult to effect change without engaging state actors and institutions. How will the informal meet the formal without being subsumed by its impoverished logic of representation? By failing to account for the role of informal practices in building formal institutions, scholars and policymakers may overlook a critical ingredient in the development of the kind of state capable of responding to Yemen’s current crises and to the broad and diverse aspirations of Yemeni society.
The Failure of the Transitional Process in Yemen
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik — February 2015
In the end, only the Yemeni stakeholders can lastingly counter the political crisis in Yemen, and then only through political action. Given the complex mesh of Yemeni actors, external military intervention is more likely to aggravate the situation. Since the international community no longer has any real influence on these stakeholders, it can only attempt to exert pressure by either approving or disapproving of specific Houthi actions. Germany and its partners therefore need to urge the Houthi movement to make real compromises; and they must reject its unilateralism. At the same time, they should insist that all stake holders participate within the framework of the existing political institutions. It is especially important to integrate the Hirak leaders so as to prevent further radicalization of that movement.
In Yemen, Hard Times Remain a Constant as Rebels Take Charge
New York Times — 6 February 2015
Difficult is just how life is in Yemen, yesterday, today and every day. It does not matter that the president and his cabinet have resigned, that the government has not functioned for weeks or that the gunmen in control of the streets say they plan to set up a new regime to their own liking. Families have always had to struggle to get through their days in a country where the government has long been incapable of delivering essential services. There is hardly any running water now — and there was hardly any before the political crisis. Continue reading