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Yemen: state weakness 
and society alienation


Yemen: state weakness and society alienation

by Ahmed Abdelkareem Saif

Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Politics,
University of Exeter, England


AFTER EIGHT years of unification, socio-economic development and democratisation in Yemen are still lagging behind. Unification and pluralism had raised high expectations among many Yemenis. Unification was assumed to be an aggregation of resources, and democracy was supposed to rationalise their exploitation in order to achieve sustainable development. This rosy scenario soon evaporated. After the smoke of the ferment cleared and the popular momentum slowed down in the face of reality, the situation was worsened. Borrowing Dudley Seers' criteria: unemployment has sharply increased; poverty has reached degrees never known decades ago and inequality has been sharpened.  [1]

The combined process of unity and pluralism in 1990 was followed shortly after by the imposition of a structural adjustment programme at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank. This programme has mainly targeted the financial problems and consists of merely stabilisation policies to rehabilitate the economic system according to the prevalent world order, whereas the deep socio-economic structural distortions that Yemen is suffering from have not been tackled yet. This triaxial strategy-unity, pluralism and economic reforms- is hardly likely to succeed in the light of deep social fragmentation, vulnerable legitimacy and weak administration, and in a situation where security issues outweigh economics.

Many writings have ascribed Yemen's problems to neo-colonialism, regional politics and the domestic power struggle. Though these factors have contributed, they are only the tip of the iceberg. It is an endemic problem rooted deeply in the nature of the society and the evolution of the state. If development means transforming state and society from pre-capitalism to capitalism, from dependency to inter-dependency, and from despotism to democracy, then, because all of these values and mechanisms are interrelated, development ultimately depends upon a pattern of collaboration between state and society.

This paper, therefore, tries to highlight the state-society relations and to reveal how and why a gap has developed between them to the extent that the state has been misperceived and the society has increasingly been alienated.

Scientific theories are abstract and not universally applicable. As Homa Katouzian has argued, abstraction enables a theory to specify the conditions in which it claims to hold. Thus, it excludes many situations in which it would be inapplicable. [2] A successful theory is one that takes into account the endogenous as well as the exogenous determinants and mechanisms for the development of a given society. Therefore, differences between societies in terms of their social structures, modes of production and their incorporation into the world economy entail different tools to approach each case.

If development is perceived as a complementary and accumulative evolution of social, economic and political processes, then this can be reflected in democracy and capitalism. Democracy and capitalism, however, are co-related and depend upon a pattern of collaboration between state and society. The state in Yemen, historically, has had very insubstantial roots in society. The weakness of the state and the relative autonomy of society in Yemen made the state unstable throughout its history and obstructed the development of civil culture. This, however, does not mean that Yemen is an exceptional case, as both neo-Orientalists and classical Orientalists claim that the key to building an effective state and a successful democracy lies in the proper balance of power between state and society. Scholars have abandoned the quest for the mysterious essences that prevent democratisation in the Middle East and have turned to the matter-of-fact itemisation of the forces that promote or retard this process.[3]


The salient feature of Yemen throughout its history is the limited capability of the state to penetrate and regulate society. Two factors played a crucial role in deepening social division, which in return has weakened the state's institutions.

The first is the base of production and distribution. There were two main modes of production in Yemen dictated by the nature of the terrain. The fertility of lower Yemen and its coastal plain led to the creation of patterns of social relationship based on land ownership that can be traced back to the Himyarite era. [4] These areas were also subjugated to a progress bureaucracy during the Ayyubids' rule, in which civil servants replaced tribal leaders as intermediaries between the people and the state, [5] which had developed a sort of feudalism. In contrast, aridity had shaped upper Yemen. Subsistence agriculture, sharecropping, the inheritance system and the principle of kinship corporation all made the arable land incapable of a high level production. Thus, land ownership was organised in small households. [6] This division of the mode of production created, over time, two different societies. In the former, the society is submissive, well settled and dependent on the functional role of the state in terms of regulation and distribution. By comparison, the latter society has evolved as autonomous and independent. It relied to a great extent on the war as a mode of production to survive, and it has acquired the reputation of having tough warriors.

The second factor is the sectarian division. The population embraces either the Shafi'i or the Zaydi Islamic sect. Zaydism prevails in upper Yemen, while Shafi'i has spread in the rest of the country. This was one of the factors behind the southerners' frequent attempts to gain separation from the Imamate in the north until separation of the south became de facto with the British occupation in 1839.

In the south, most of the fragmented entities were ruled by stateless princedoms in a manner of elite circulation, which was fixed by the British colonial administration. The British ignored the hinterland in terms of modernisation and institutionalisation and concentrated on the Aden Colony. It was late in the 1960s when the British eventually decided to establish a state-like federation comprised different entities in the south, but they shortly after left the region in 1967. On the other hand, the north was ruled for over a millennium by Imams, who derived their legitimacy from the Zaydi Islamic jurisprudence. In both north and south, the society had not integrated with the state. The concept of the state was misperceived, as it was viewed as a monopoly of wealth and power limited to the nobility in the south and to divine right in the north and both were represented to the people by the tribute collection system and the predatory system.

Paradoxically, the abolition of these two systems after the revolutions in the south and the north has resulted in widening the gap between the state and the society. The Marxist-style regime in the south, by using repression, destroyed the social structure in an attempt to create a classless society and imposed transformation policies that were implemented through tools and procedures that were culturally strange and reprehensible. The regime found itself isolated from, and standing above, the society. This resulted in an unrepresentative system that was inclined to control social order by coercion through institutions such as the army, bureaucracy and schools. This might be the reason that most of the values and socio-economic changes that the regime in the south tried to create were only shallowly rooted in the society and were abandoned once unification was launched.

By the same token, the abolition of the Imamate system in the north has had two results. The first was that the revolution brought about the incorporation of tribal leaders in the state apparatus and has created a new elite who, through their social status and governmental posts, have accumulated wealth and power. This elite has gradually relinquished their historical role as coalescent social power by distancing themselves from their tribesmen as they have transformed into a commercial-bureaucratic elite. The second result was that the Zaydi Imamate was not replaced by a consensual one, a matter that has revived the endemic regional, tribal and sectarian divisions. The outcome is that the state has not acquired legitimacy based on a developmental or structural basis, nor has the society maintained its previous degree of strength. The divisions between social units and their leaders, on the one hand, and continuous educational and modernisation changes, on the other, have given the society a transitional character.


The evolution of the political economy of Yemen has resulted in a dependent capitalist state. This is combined with the rentier nature of the state, which dependent on foreign aid and expatriates remittances. [7] The problem derives from the fact that citizens receive large rents from abroad that the state can tap into only with difficulty, while the state itself benefits from relatively more limited transfers. The circulation of external rent outside the formal banking system [8] enables citizens in the countryside to implement their own local developmental initiatives. [9] This makes those in the countryside unconcerned about national government. They have neither contributed to, nor been affected by, central decisions. Also, due to the state's weakness and its limited capabilities, society has developed its own legal framework, which mixes Islamic law and tribal customary law. These legal codes have regulated and brought order and discipline to the relationships between state and society, as well as those within the society itself. Despite this, the isolation of society and the sectarian division have resulted in unsystematic legal interpretations and there is considerable variation in the application of laws. This makes the society heterogeneous and inconsistent.

The relative autonomy of the society, however, does not translate into civil society. In addition to the legal inconsistency, the parochial culture has retarded the development of a civil society. The social vertical relations based on kinship, patronage and clientelism and the absence of the culture of individual contracts and the collective awareness of common interests among professionals have resulted in ill-defined classes. In spite of the manoeuvring room that the society has, the distortion of the class structure, the lack of professionalism and the strong inherited culture have impeded the development of a civil society.


With the unification of south and north Yemen in 1990, the new state launched a strategy based on three pillars: unity, pluralism and economic structural adjustment. These three concepts are complementary and they are supposed to work in conformity, but in Yemen they have been at odds. The problem is that the application of each of these concepts has not been accompanied by appropriate prerequisites. Also, they have been imposed from above rather than being popular demands and they have been implemented selectively. Political and economic openness was the only available choice for the political elite in order to survive. Thus, it does not mean a full commitment to a genuine political reform, and the fragmented society was unable to exert enough pressure towards that end. The sudden conversion from one politico-economic system to another overnight indicates the weak integration of state and society in Yemen.


In spite of the fact that unity is a popular concept, the achievement of unification by amalgamation instead of integration has discredited the state and increased the distance separating the rulers from the mass populace. Unification was handled hastily by merging the agreed-upon institutions and leaving to the future the merging of the rest. Both the rulers and the people were happy to speed up the process of unity; nonetheless, each party has different motives.

After the changes in the world order and the end of the Cold War, the ruling parties of the two states struggled to survive and to rejuvenate their legitimacy. At the time they agreed on unity, each party set contingency plans to overthrow the other because they distrusted each other and both were obsessed by exclusionary policies. The people, on the other hand, favoured unity. In addition to the nostalgic reasons, unity was portrayed as the way towards economic prosperity through aggregation of resources, expansion of the market and balancing the ratio of people against land. [10] Moreover, the southerners hoped that unity would relax the security grasp and the suppression of the southern state. The northerners, in contrast, hoped that the disciplined southern cadre would diffuse law and order into the northern system. Because of the separation of state and society in Yemen, each has a separate agenda and each perceived unity from a different point of view. The lack of a grass-roots movement towards institutionalising unification caused the state to overlook the multiple divisions that characterised the society.


Dualism is a notion used here to indicate the multiple division in Yemeni society, which is based upon contradicting counter-concepts. Historical, religious and cultural factors have characterised and shaped the heterogeneity of Yemeni society. At this point, there are two kinds of fragmentation. The first is that between state and society. The second is the intra-societal fragmentation: the web-like society means that relations between social units are determined by parochial bonds. The result is that the society is mosaic-like in its fragmentation and division.

Dichotomy becomes apparent if we contrast the following pairs of concepts: north/south, ethnical/regional, tribal/urban, Zaydi/Shafii, modernist/traditional, nobility/humbleness. Each level of division entails subdivisions and all of these levels are superimposed in a complicated manner to the extent that it is difficult to recognise the basic social unit. On the one hand, the nuclear family has not been considered the basic social unit, nor have the professions also been consolidated enough to raise a collective awareness of mutual interests. On the other hand, arguing that the tribe is the basic social unit is invalid now in the light of cross-sectional affiliation, as we have seen that the tribal leaders have been gradually distanced from their tribesmen. Yemeni society is undergoing rapid changes, catalysed by dramatic domestic political, economic and cultural changes and by the unprecedented susceptibility of the state to external influences.

Under these conditions of a highly fragmented society and self-perpetuating political elite, unity was imposed by the stroke of a pen. The state, therefore, failed to establish an ideological hegemony, in Gramscian terms. [11] The failure to develop an ideology that goes beyond the concerns of narrow corporate interests and that the different elements can subscribe to has affected the state's legitimacy and meant that the society is wracked by sub-national loyalties. The various social elements have resorted to narrow symbols and practices to identify and protect their interests. In response, the state, instead of developing an ideology and policies that transcend the problems of dualism, has instituted clumsy survival-oriented policies that have fragmented and divided the society further than ever. In the absence of a well-developed civil society, the regime faces a strong potential for political chaos. Therefore, transferring power in Yemen is to be expected to be a violent in vicious cycle.

There is a reverse relation between the decaying legitimacy of the political system and the continuation of the sub-national parochial system. The failure to bring about development and the weakness of representative institutions led to the institutionalisation of the tribal, regional and sectarian norms that further deepen the divisions in society. This has also weakened central authority and enhanced local loyalties at the expense of national cohesion. The fragmented society leads individuals and groups in governmental posts to direct the state's agencies and resources according to their associational corporatist patterns.


Solidaristic democracy, by necessity, requires a well defined civil society, which is still absent in Yemen and its development is uncertain. Democratisation in Yemen is attributable to a combination of factors. Some of these factors were specific to the needs of the unification process and domestic politics, thanks to the power-balance between the two erstwhile ruling parties, while others have been related to external influences.

Many scholars have argued against the possibility of a civil society evolving in the Arab World. [12] These arguments are based on the fragility of civil society and its inability to protect citizens from the state and to establish an arena for pluralism. For Yemen, the prevalent hypothesis is that Islamic beliefs and practices and the traditional tribal society are preventing the emergence of a viable civil society. The existence of a civil society is viewed with scepticism by scholars of Middle East, but the capability of society to protect citizens from the state is undoubtable. The weakness of the state and the relative autonomy of the society are conditions that evolved over time. Ecological and religious factors have contributed to diminishing the heavy hand of the state. Yemen is unlike other Arab states; it is built on neither colonial institutions nor oil wealth. It is limited by continuous regional intervention and by its own administrative and financial incapabilities to carry out sustainable development. The state in Yemen, therefore, has demonstrated its inability to channel popular and elite energies to its own purposes. Yemeni society in this regard may be undergoing what Jean Francois Bayart described as the process whereby society seeks to breach or counteract totalization by the state. [13] Sheila Carapico argues that Yemen did get autonomous space that attempted to resist totalization. [14] The repressive state in Yemen, therefore, is limited by its weakness and by the relatively autonomous society.

On the other hand, civil society itself is limited by high illiteracy [15], undeveloped infrastructure, and by the strength of religion and tradition. Thus, it can be said with relative confidence that pluralism in Yemen is distorted. It is manipulated in the urban quarters, where the state has a strong presence, and it is semi-anarchic and dominated by local notables in the countryside, where the state to some degree is absent. The state, therefore, adopts policies of inclusion, accommodation and incorporation toward local strongmen in order to maintain social stability and regulate daily life. The intermediary role of local strongmen has characterised the corporatist politics of the Yemeni state. In this sense there is toleration of the democratic experiment of Yemen, but it has not experienced pluralism yet. [16]


Four factors have driven the implementation of structural adjustment policy in Yemen. First, the radical change in the international economic environment and the integration of the world economy into a single international market have led international agencies to exert pressure on indebted countries to impose economic reforms. Second, the drastic fall in oil revenues has affected Yemen, which in the past benefited from foreign aid and the remittances of Yemeni workers in the Gulf oil countries. Third, the domestic financial crisis inevitably the main factor that dictates the policy of adjustment. The state found itself bankrupt; it was not able to mobilise domestic resources in the light of its limited production base and weak administrative and taxation system. Neither could it stop the depletion of the resources at its disposal because of widespread corruption. Also, external lenders have stipulated economic reform before granting new loans. Finally, countries respond to structural adjustment differently according to their specific strengths and weaknesses. [17] The strength of a state is determined by state-society relations, on the one hand, and its position within the international system on the other. The weak state usually resorted to the IMF and the World Bank for stabilisation in the short term and structural adjustment in the long term. For Yemen, neither its position within the international arena nor its resources have allowed it to escape such economic reforms.

In response to these reforms, different reflex actions have been evoked according to benefit-loss calculations. The Yemeni commercial class has not been consolidated as semi autonomous business bourgeoisie. The private sector is extremely fragmented; the number of establishments with large capital investments and a considerable workforce are limited. There is no single private industrial or trading establishment whose collapse would cause any considerable damage to the national economy.

Moreover, the private sector is highly dependent on the state for both preferential deals with the public sector and to obtain official licences for imports, exports, production and pricing. Also, the dependence of industry on intermediary products provided by the public sector brings a continuous petitionary quality to the relationship that industrialists have with the state. On the whole, the private sector has little organisational power. Decision making on economic policies involves businessmen only in part. Therefore, decisions on structural adjustment and economic liberalisation were confined to the regime and it was the state's project.

In advanced capitalist countries privatisation is in harmony with prevailing ideological norms. There is a relatively high level of congruency between the different aspects of the social structure: the economic base, the legal and political structure and the forms of social consciousness. In Yemen there is a far lower level of correspondence. The lopsided nature of the state demonstrates that several modes of production coexist within the society with insignificant capital accumulation. Simply, the superficial and distorted pluralism is not only because of authoritative nature of the regime, but also and most importantly is a logical reflection to the traditional socio-economic structure. Since Yemen is still in transition in terms of building and consolidating its institutions, it is neither a purely pre-capitalist nor a fully developed capitalist polity or a socialist society. As Bennoune and Hayef described it, the state displays a multiplicity of coexisting and yet contradictory socio-economic forms and cultural traits in a juxtaposed structure, which was inherited from the past in some aspects and borrowed from capitalist and socialist nations in others. [18]

However, the policies of economic reform are not purely technical or financial in nature, but by necessity carry with them social repercussions and therefore require shifts in political allegiances. The workers and industrialists are the losers. The Yemeni bourgeoisie is a primarily commercial whose ties to workers have been indirect. The industrialists, because of their long-term investment and the high capital industry held, want transparency, genuine democracy and an accountable government. Sudden economic and/or legal changes would harm nascent industry, as was seen during this year 1998, where more than 150 factories were closed down. [19]

By contrast, the commercial class has grown up in the shadow of the state and it has an interest in a free market. But the integration of the commercial bourgeoisie and bureaucrats has created a privileged class. This bureaucrato-commercial class has exercised its patronage to skim off profits through trade licenses and access to credit, information, state-owned enterprises' contracts, and employment opportunities. This has resulted in a tribal-military and commercial complex that monopolises wealth and power. [20]

As a result of economic reform policies in incongruent political, economic and social systems, tension has been increased and with unbalanced state-society relations the potential for political chaos is strong. The ruling complex resists political liberalisation if it means power-sharing and sees democracy as entailing a loss of power. Thus, the ruling complex tends to re-impose authoritarianism but is crippled by its limited capability to exercise violence upon the society. Also, the coercive tendency would be increased, as Guillermo O'Donnell explained, because developmental bottlenecks and policies that favour capital accumulation in the more dynamic or efficient sectors are likely to produce increasing social inequality and therefore necessitate political coercion and exclusion. [21]

The corporatist nature of the ruling complex impedes the implementation of genuine development and it resists any new socio-economic arrangements entailing a threat to the complex's survival that the development process would create. Paradoxically, the corporatist strategy in Yemen has largely failed. The efficiency of corporatism, as Augustus Richard has argued, depends upon the ability of the corporate elite to control the underlings. [22] The evidence in Yemen shows that the political class, which includes the corporate elites, has failed to implement economic reform, as it was distorted by the widespread corruption, nor is it capable of controlling the society.

For these reasons, Yemen is passing through a transitional phase in which it lacks an absolute dominant power. It has been wracked by tribal-tribal and tribal-governmental armed disputes in undeclared civil war. On the one hand, the society does not subjugate itself to a central power. On the other hand, the state is unable to control the society and the political elites are unwilling to take further steps towards more democracy. On both levels, state and society, there are subdivisions as well, and the picture is gloomy to the extent that it seems as if each has its own separate track.


The roots of the antagonistic state-society relations in Yemen extend over its history back to factors of ecology (e.g., isolation and mode of production), religion (e.g., Zaydi revolutionary heritage), sectarianism (e.g., Shafi'i and Zaydi), and social structure (tribally based). The antipathetic relations were worsened by the revolutionary politics in the south and the corporatist politics in the north. The two states lacked adequate power and wealth to undergo a successful social transformation. Also, they failed to implement considerable development. Therefore, the two states were characterised by the politics of survival and they were perceived as booty that the political elites competed to share. In this context, and based on the power, inclusionary and exclusionary policies were prevalent. Thus, the transfer power in Yemen was certain to be violent.

The establishment of the Republic of Yemen by unifying the two former states entailed, for domestic and external reasons, the adoption of pluralism and structural adjustment. Nonetheless, the unified Yemen, instead of transcending the previous conflicts and divisions, has been burdened with the aggregation of the former contradictory features. This is because unity was approached with the same old mentality that sees the state merely as booty. It is no wonder, therefore, that Yemen exercised pluralism and implemented structural adjustment by means of distorted procedures that have resulted in the state's presence as a coercive force and its absence in the productive, distributive and service functions.

Society, by contrast, is following a separate path. It is not being penetrated and regulated by the state because of the state's weak institutions and its limited capabilities. Nor is society capable of forming organised powers to exert enough pressure towards public interests because of the multiple divisions it suffers from. In this situation society has confined itself by fragmented identities based on sub-national parochial affiliations and being frustrated and alienated.

To avoid political chaos and social anarchy, an option still viable is to adopt the elected local authorities within the framework of the unified and democratic Yemen. This process would facilitate a civil society and build an integrated nation. Also, it would provide a good basis for the inculcation, exercising and assimilation of democratic norms. In addition, this process would revive, over time, the situation of 'no taxation without representation', which would balance state-society relations and put them on the right track.

The local authorities, however, needs extraordinary edification and enlightenment activities to be carried out by civil societies and political parties. Though the political parties and civil society have structural and cultural disorders, the success of local development initiatives leads one to contemplate whether expanding these experiments politically is possible.


1 Dudley Seers, What are we trying to measure? Journal of Development Studies, April 1972.

2 Homa Katouzian, Arbitrary Rule: A Comparative Theory of State, Politics and Society in Iran, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (1997), Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 49-73.

3 Yahya Sadowski, The new Orientalism and the Democracy Debate, Middle East Report (July-August), 1993, No. 183, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 14-21.

4 See Fuad al-Hudaithy, ahl-al-Yaman fi-l-Islam [Islamic Phase of Yemen], (Beirut: al-Mouasasa al-Arabia Lil-Dirasat wa-l-nasher, 1978), pp. 66-70.

5 Ahmed Yusif A., al-Dour al-Masri fi-l-Yaman [The Egyptian Role in Yemen 1962-67], (Cairo: al-Haya'a al-Misryah al-A'ma li-l-kitab, 1981), p. 64.

6 Fadhle Abu-Ghanim, al-Bunyya al-Qabbalyya fi-l-Yaman bain al-Istimrar wa-l-taghyyir [Tribalism between Continuity and Change], (Sana'a: Dar al-Hikma al-Yamaniyya, 2nd ed 1991), pp. 135-42.

7 For more details on this issue see Sheila Carapico, Autonomy and Secondhand Oil Dependency of the Yemen Arab Republic, Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1988), pp. 193-213.

8 This is an ironic phenomenon, which was explained in detail in Kiren Aziz Chaudhry, The Price of Wealth: Economics and Institutions in the Middle East (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997), pp. 229-32; and Lee Ann Ross, An Informal Banking System: The Remittance Agents of Yemen, Local Organization, Participation and Development in the Yemen Arab Republic, working note No. 12, Rural Development Committee, Yemen Research Program, Center for International Studies, Cornell University, 1981.

9 The local development associations have been well established in Yemen since the early 1960s. For more details on this subject see: John Cohen and David Lewis, Capital Surplus, Labor Short Economics: Yemen as a challenge to rural development strategies, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 61, No. 3 (1979), pp. 523-28; John Cohen et al. Traditional Organizations and Development: Yemen's local development associations, working note No. 7, Rural Development Committee, Yemen Research Program, Center for International Studies: Cornell University, 1980; John Cohen et al. Development From Below: local development associations in the YAR, World Development, Vol. 9, No. 11/12 (1981), pp. 1039-61; Jon Swanson, Emigration and Economic Development: the case of the YAR, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1979); Charles Swagman, Social Organization and Local Development in the Western Central Highlands of the YAR, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, 1985; and James Green, Local Initiatives in Yemen: Exploratory Studies of Four Local Development Associations, paper prepared for U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington DC, 1975.

10 Roughly, the area of the south is twice that of the north, while the population of the north is about six times that of the south.

11 See the Gramscian concept of hegemony in Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971), esp. pp. 181-2.

12 This viewpoint is widely expressed. See, for example, Eli Kedouri, Democracy & Arab Political Culture, (Washington DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy Monograph, 1992), pp. 4-6; and Bernard Lewis, Democracy in the Middle East: Its State and Prospects, Middle East Affairs, VI, No. 4 (April), 1955, pp. 101-83.

13 Jean Francois Bayart, Civil Society in Africa, in Patrick Chabal, Political Domination in Africa: Reflections on the Units of Power, trans. P. Chabal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 109-25.

14 Sheila Carapico, Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 290.

15 The rate of illiteracy reached 56% of the population; see 1994 census, Central Statistical Organization, Ministry of Planning, the Republic of Yemen.

16 Giovanni Sartori differentiates between toleration and pluralism: 'Toleration and pluralism are different concepts but they are strongly related. Pluralism presupposes toleration, which is to say that intolerant pluralism is a false pluralism. The difference is this: tolerance respects values, whereas pluralism posits values'. See Giovanni Sartori, Understanding Pluralism, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 8, No. 4 (October), 1997, pp. 58-69, p. 58.

17 Krasner has noted that developing countries with a strong state structure are less likely to want to challenge the existing economic world order than those with weaker state structures; see Stephen Krasner, Approaches to the State: Alternative Conceptions and Historical Dynamics, Comparative Politics, Vol. 16, No. 2 (January), 1984, pp. 223-46. Ikenberry has developed the argument further by suggesting that state's maneuver within national and international arenas, using different strategies aimed at coping with adjustment problems. The strategy may be directed outward at an international regime, as Iraq did when it invaded Kuwait, or inward at transferring domestic structure, or somewhere in between. The chosen strategy stems from the strengths or weaknesses of the state; see John Ikenberry, The State and Strategies of International Adjustment, World Politics, Vol. 39, No. 1 (October), 1986, pp. 53-77.

18 Mahfoud Bennoune and Imane Hayef, Class Structuration and Economic Development in the Arab World, Ch. 4 in Baha Abu-Laban and Sharon McIrvin Abu-Laban, eds., The Arab World: Dynamics of Development, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986), pp. 44-65.

19 Industry has been affected extremely by the smuggling of manufactured goods through borders. The process has been protected by high-ranking officials to collect illegal wealth, and has been encouraged by Saudi Arabia to weaken Yemen's economy.

20 Paul Dresch explains the configuration of this complex succinctly; see The Tribal Factor in the Yemeni Crisis, Ch. 2 in Jamal al-Suwaidi, ed., The Yemeni War of 1994: Causes and Consequences (London: Saqi Books, 1995), p.34.

21 Guillermo O'Donnell, Modernization and Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics (Berkeley, CA: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1972), p. 96.

22 Augustus Richard Norton, Civil Society, Liberalism and the Corporatist Alternative, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Vol. 31, No. 2 (December) 1997, pp. 163-4.


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Last revised on 07 August, 2015