Yemen: the absent state

Under the headline "Areas outside state control", the Yemen Post has published a round-up of the country's multiple security problems, noting that in most governorates, the state controls only the main cities. Some key points:

Bani Dhabian, Sanaa: "Bani Dhabian is a tribal district in Sanaa province’s Khawlan region whose tribesmen implement constant kidnapping operations. There is no presence for security or the state apparatuses there ... The tribesmen make big sums of money, as kidnapping is a source for wealth ..."

Amran Governorate: "Armed conflicts are ongoing in al-Sawad area between the tribes of al-Ausimat Hashed and al-Ashah tribes of Bakil. Heavy and medium-sized weapons are used. Around 200 tribesmen have been killed and over 400 others injured. The apparent cause for war is a conflict over lands."

Al-Dhale’ Governorate: "Al-Dhale’, with its four districts al-Azareq, al-Shuaeeb, al-Dhale’ and Jihaf, are completely outside the state’s control and flags of former south Yemen are being hoisted everywhere ... The security presence is almost absent in the four districts ..."

Lahej Governorate: "Secessionist flags are hoisted in Radfan, Yafe’ and other districts of Lahej governorate and these flags are seen everywhere ... There is no presence for the state or its apparatuses in Tour al-Bahah and Ras al-Arah districts. Following the killing of Hafez and Yahya al-Sumali by security apparatuses, the tribesmen revolted and fired all state apparatuses ... Yahya al-Sumali’s brother, Yasser, was appointed as a manager of Tour al-Bahah. The state is completely absent there now. 

"Most people belonging to northern provinces left districts like Yafe’, Radfan, Al-Sabihah, Al-Anad and the commercial investments were shut ..."

Abyan Governorate: "Zinjibar remains of the tense and burning areas and the name of Tareq al-Fadhli stands out and no army or security personnel dare to enter Ja’ar city ... The 312 Brigade is positioned in Zinjibar outskirts ... The Revolution Council led by al-Fadhli and al-Beedh are dominating the scene."

Al-Jawf Governorate: "Sheikh Ali al-Aji, a dignitary from al-Jawf stresses that the security presence is zero and noted that although security sites exist along the distance from Mafraq al-Jawf to the capital city – about 30 km – their existence is formal. Tribesmen are tightly controlling al-Hazm and al-Khalq districts.

"Abu Rawiah, a wanted criminal who belongs to al-Jida’an in Mareb, is roaming the governorate and buys his qat from al-Hazm market every day, though the market is some four kilometres from the governorate’s building and 200m from the security headquarters."

Mareb Governorate: "Security forces have a significant presence in Mareb city and districts like Wadi Abeedah, Hareeb and al-Joubah, but their presence is weak in districts like Rahbah, Bidbideh, Hareeb al-Qaramish and Magzar. Al-Qaeda is strongly present in Wadi Abeedah, a wide desert district with some rugged and mountainous areas."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 15 September 2009.