Unique Authoritarianism: Shifting Fortunes and the Malleability of the Salih Regime in Yemen, 1990-Present
Title: Unique Authoritarianism: Shifting Fortunes and the Malleability of the Salih Regime in Yemen, 1990-Present
Author: BLUMI, Isa
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2009/10; Mediterranean Programme Series
Ever since the political elite of the two Yemeni states agreed to unify in 1989, the dynamics of the newly created country's sociopolitical development has been co-opted by a diverse group of local actors. In the process of forging this union, a shift took place that changed both the institutional and organizational capacities of the principal constituent groups involved in unification. As a result, the rival interests not only harnessed the coercive capacity of the state in a struggle for ascendancy, but the process ultimately created new channels of interaction for an even broader range of interests. This study recognizes that multiple, unconnected dynamics are at work within "Yemeni" society that serve as opportunities, as well as direct challenges, for the regime of 'Ali Abdullah Salih once it secures power in 1994. It is the nature of the regime's failure, for instance, to accommodate South Yemeni concerns over a more equitable share of political and economic power that resulted in further complicating the redistribution of state authority and ultimately the paradoxical diffusion of power throughout some sectors of unified Yemeni society. The nature of this shuffle counter-intuitively, however, strengthened the power of those around the Salih regime and in turn weakened his traditional rivals. This is a story, therefore, of how a new form of authoritarian rule evolved out of set of conditions that, at first glance, seemed to assure the opposite.
Subject: Yemen; Authoritarianism; Political Islam; Democracy; Middle East
Ninth Mediterranean Research Meeting: Workshop 09
Type of Access: openAccess