The establishment of northern hegemony in the process of Yemeni unification

by Michael Welton

(MA dissertation, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1997.)


1. State and civil society: Gramsci's concept of hegemony in the Yemeni context

2. Historical foundations of northern dominance

3. Separate paths to unity

4. Northern hegemony in the unified state; democracy, and the eclipse of the southern elite





ABSTRACT: Since the unification of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) and the Yemeni Arab Republic (YAR) in 1990, the northern political elite of the former YAR - led by President Ali Abdullah Salih and the General People's Congress (GPC) - has come to dominate the united state. This dissertation seeks the explanation for this outcome in the process of national reconciliation pursued by President Salih and his Republican predecessors, in contrast to the intra-elite conflict that characterised the southern political elite of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP). The origins of these developments are sought in a comparison between the traditions of government by coalition developed in the north under the rule of the Imamate, and the highly localised structure of political authority that has been the norm in the politics of the south throughout its history. Drawing on the writing of Antonio Gramsci, it is argued that implicit within the north's national reconciliation is a hegemonic strategy combining consent with coercion, essential to the effective governance of a state such as Yemen, surrounded by strong social forces that cannot be ruled by force alone. Through a combination of a broad national-popular ideology and the development of a corporatist military/commercial complex, Salih and the GPC have successfully constructed such a hegemony bloc, able to incorporate diverse interests and sentiments such as tribe, religious and conservative groups, modernist elements and nationalism.


THE YEARS since the unification of the two Yemens have witnessed the eclipse of the socialist ruling elite in former PDRY by the Northern dominated 'General Peoples Congress' (GPC). Despite the two parties entering into unity arrangements as technically equal partners, the GPC's unexpectedly large majority in the parliamentary elections held in April this year represents the culmination of a process through which it has successfully extended its hegemony over the country's political system, and incorporated the leading political, tribal, social, and religious constituencies into its broad nationalist, liberal-Islamic coalition.

The objective of this work is to analyse how this hegemony has been achieved in the context of a weak state surrounded by strong and diverse social forces exhibiting centrifugal tendencies. Here, the concept of hegemony is given its Gramscian meaning, rather than its original Greek sense of the predominance of one nation over another.1 It implies the leadership of one class or group over society based on consent as well as coercion, a necessary combination where the state lacks the physical means to impose its authority by force alone. Gramsci constructed his theory of hegemony in the context of the socio-economically and politically developed countries of Western Europe. However, it will be suggested here that that his concepts are also applicable to Yemeni politics given that the state in both cases faces considerable restrictions on its scope for action by the interests of powerful social forces who have the power to undermine its authority.

In particular, Gramsci's concern with the relations of forces in society and the need to build coalitions of support in order to achieve state power appear highly relevant in the Yemeni context. Throughout its history Yemeni rulers have enjoyed only a limited personal power base, and have often been threatened by the existence of alternative structures of authority to the state.2 They have therefore relied on the support of other groups in society (in particular the tribes) to provide the military and economic resources necessary to maintain its authority, and extend it through society. A consequence of this has been the development of a tradition of consensual rule in the political culture of North Yemen, where political authority is based on a combination of religious, nationalist, and tribal leadership, the distribution of economic resources, and the role of mediator between different social groups. In the south however, no such political traditions existed given its extremely localised division of political authority, a factor that has important implications for the balance of power in the united Yemen.

In the consensual political traditions of the north we find the precedent for the complex strategy of coalition building combined with coercion developed by President Salih in order to strengthen his regime's authority in first the YAR, and subsequently in the united Yemeni state. Only by keeping as many forces in society as possible 'on-side', has Salih been able to mobilise enough support to subdue opposition by force when necessary. For example, in the early 1980s it was the support of the northern tribes that helped Salih survive instability in the south instigated by the NDF (National Democratic Front). Later on, it was his power base in the armed forces and extensive popularity within northern society, which enabled him to inflict a crushing defeat on a contrastingly divided southern elite in the internal war of 1994.

Salih has been careful to root his power in several different areas. Firstly he has established an inner-circle controlling the key state apparatus and party organisation (often from his own tribe, the Sanhan), and sought to incorporate leaders and interest groups from all important areas of society into a corporatist structure of political and economic patronage - what Renaud Detalle has described as 'the military/commercial' complex' surrounding the Yemeni state. Secondly the hegemony of the GPC over Yemeni political life has been achieved by presenting a very broad ideological front covering traditional conservative, tribal and Islamic values, nationalism, developmentalism, and a limited commitment to political and economic liberalism. As such the GPC has been able to incorporate or form alliances with factions from most parts of the political spectrum when necessary, and maximise the advantage of the numerical superiority of the northern population at the ballot box.

The relationship between a regime's ideology and its ability to achieve hegemony was of particular concern to Gramsci. He emphasised the role of the political party as the organisation capable of transmitting the ideology of a leading class through civil society, in a form capable of mobilising the support from the mass of society necessary to gain and maintain control over the state3. Indeed, the struggle between two parties - the GPC and YSP - has been fundamental to the recent the politics of the new Yemeni Republic. Both parties and their predecessors have sought to monopolise what Gramsci described as the 'national-popular' dimension to hegemony, requiring "the unification of a variety of different social forces into a broad alliance expressing a national popular collective will."4 Each sought to legitimise their rule by presenting themselves as the true government of Yemen and clothing their respective ideologies in nationalist rhetoric5. However, given the ideological polarisation of the PDRY and YAR before and after unity, it will be suggested that the GPC's implicit, inclusive ideological stance enabled it to present itself as the 'national' party, a feat the explicitly secular, socialist ideology of the YSP lacked the flexibility and mass appeal to achieve. This was a struggle the YSP finally lost when it handed the GPC the mantle of national leadership by attempting succession during the inter-elite war of 1994.

The possible applications of the Gramscian concept of hegemony in the context of the politics of weak states and strong societies, and Yemen in particular, is considered further in chapter one. The subsequent chapters seek to demonstrate the role hegemony and coalition building have played in the evolution of the political balance in the Republic of Yemen. Chapter two looks at the historical precedent for northern hegemony in a united Yemeni state, and examines the way in which the divergent paths of political and social development experienced by pre-revolutionary north and south Yemen created the underlying conditions for southern weakness and the potential for northern hegemony after unification. In particular, it contrasts the extensive administrative autonomy and division of the south under British rule with the centralising tendencies of the Imamate, and also the foundation of the Imam's power in a coalition of social groups.

The rivalry between the PDRY and YAR, and their often-conflicting attempts at nation building and development is the subject of chapter three. Despite the apparent weakness of both of the new states, the increasing cohesion of the north through its process of national reconciliation is contrasted with the destructive intra-elite rivalry in the south. The impact of changes in the international environment in the late 1980s are also considered regarding their role in revealing the growing fragility of the elite of the YSP after the 1986 civil war, and the growing cohesion of the GPC by comparison. Chapter four discusses the efforts of both the YSP and GPC to extend their hegemony in the newly united state. It examines the failure of the YSP to combat the bias towards the more populous GPC implicit within the democratic process, and the progressive monopolisation of the nationalist ideology by President Salih and the GPC elite, by means of the alienation of the southern leadership from the united political apparatus. The final chapter asks whether - in the light of the GPC's recent election success - its hegemony is sufficient to allow effective government, and whether it is such that even in the south the GPC is regarded as the legitimate ruling party.

1. State and civil society: Gramsci's concept of hegemony in the Yemeni context

THE CENTRAL RELEVANCE of Gramsci's political thought to the politics of the Yemen is located in his concern with civil society and its relationship to the state. He recognised that within civil society lay forces with the potential to threaten or bolster the state, depending on the extent to which they were organised and aware of their corporate interests. Where civil society was weak and divided, he stressed that only 'a war of movement' -a military struggle - was necessary to capture the state, because power was based on control of the state's coercive apparatus alone. However, where a state's foundations were deeply embedded in the institutions, ideology and practices of a strong, and complex civil society, political power was instead founded on an evolving combination of force and consent.

For Gramsci, this had great implications for the strategies to be employed by movements attempting to seize or maintain state power in different political environments. To illustrate this point, Gramsci compares the achievements of Lenin in the Russian revolution with the more limited possibilities for a direct, violent seizure of the state apparatus in the Western European states. His doubts about the model of revolution presented by the Russian experience of 1917 were based on his appreciation of the strength of the superstructure developed by the capitalist mode of production in Western Europe. He saw that the institutions of state and civil society, which transmitted the capitalist ideology, had a consensual basis, as well as the coercive power of the state behind them. "In Russia the State was everything, civil society was primordial and gelatinous; in the West ... when the State trembled a sturdy structure of civil society was at once revealed. The state was only an outer ditch, behind which there stood a powerful system of fortresses and earthworks."6 Thus in Western Europe, unlike Russia, a direct revolutionary attack on the state would fail because it had failed to disturb the hegemony of the ruling class in the institutions of civil society, leaving the insurgents exposed to counter-revolution even if they had succeeded in breaching the coercive defences of the state.

Instead, Gramsci believed that a more complex political strategy was necessary for both the maintenance of power by the ruling elite, and the strategy of revolutionary movements seeking their overthrow, based upon the establishment of ideological hegemony in civil society. In order to achieve this, he suggested, a class needs to develop an ideology which goes beyond a concern with its own narrow corporate interests, to form a 'world view' to which other elements in society can subscribe. For example, it may seek to incorporate popular political sentiments such as nationalism, religion, demands for civil liberties and popular representation, or a return to 'culturally authentic' customs and practices within its class based ideology, to the point where they appear contiguous. In so doing, Gramsci writes that, "the development and expansion of the particular group are conceived of, and presented, as being the motor force of a universal expansion, of a development of all the 'national' energies."7

However, if hegemony is a strategy fundamental to the politics of states surrounded by an 'advanced' civil society, it must be questioned whether the concept has relevance in societies where the associations and identities associated with capitalist development are less well formed8. In Yemen, in parallel with many less developed countries, society is often said to be dominated by "parochial cultures ... where citizens are not concerned about national government ... [and] ... see themselves as neither contributing to, nor being affected by, central decisions9. The result is assumed to be a state with shallow roots in civil society, and a national politics that forms the arena for zero-sum conflict between praetorian political elites10. Therefore, if Gramsci's logic is to be followed, the principle means of transferring political power in Yemen can be expected to be violent. Indeed, revolutions, coup d'etat, civil wars, and intra-elite conflict have characterised the politics of the YAR, PDRY, and unified state, suggesting that the element of coercive power is the over-riding factor in the organisation of political authority in the country, rather than the expression of consent from its society.

However, to infer from the absence of a 'modern' civil society and the continuation of 'pre-modern' forms of identity and association, the existence of a weak society with a limited role in national politics, is to underestimate the complexity of Yemeni politics and the role of social forces within it. Despite the limited development of 'formal' civil institutions and practices, it can still be argued that the state in Yemen is as dependent on society as it is in the West. Pre-modern institutions such as the tribe and religious organisation can themselves form an intricate and politically important associational life, which those seeking political authority must take into account11. The extent of the dependence of the state on society rests on the military, economic, and political resources held by the groups and structures that comprise it. Where these resources are concentrated in the hands of the state elite and otherwise scattered thinly through society, the state will have a large degree of autonomy. However, if as in Yemen, the reverse is true, then the state must be responsive to the demands articulated by the powerful interests within civil society.

The principle limitation to the power of any central authority in Yemen throughout its history has been its military weakness in comparison to the armed strength of the tribes. Yemeni leaders have traditionally relied on the tribes to provide them with the forces required to impose and maintain their authority over the country. As a consequence, the process of mobilising military support has necessitated the development of an important element of consent in the relationship between tribe and state. This reflects Gramsci's concern with the dual nature of political authority when significant power is held within society, and also has a clear parallel in Ibn Khaldun's concepts of 'asabiyya and iltiham.

Khaldun, like Gramsci recognised that political authority has two inter-related components. Firstly the actual capabilities of the state based on the strength of its 'asabiyya'12, and secondly the extent to which other groups recognise the superiority of that 'asabiyya, and accept it, obey it, and shift their political loyalty to its possessors. Khaldun describes this process of coalition building as 'iltiham', noted by Salame as "the ultimate form of hegemony in its insistence on social integration by and around the ideology professed by the ruling 'asabiyya."13 Nevertheless, he also recognised the particular difficulties facing a state seeking to extend its hegemony in a land of many different tribes and groups,14 where there existed no significant unifying factor capable of generating a higher loyalty. For example, he regarded the call of a religious movement as vital to the da'wa of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab in 18th century Saudi Arabia.

In the Yemeni context there is no single ideology or identity that can play this role. Almost all Yemenis are Muslim, however the divisions between the Zaydi and Shaf'i sects would make almost it impossible to form hegemony around a shared religious ideology. Meanwhile, many other fractures exist in society between town and tribe, traditionalist and modernist organisations, and occupational interests and classes (such as industry/labour unions and agriculture). These serve to inhibit the development of mass movements based on shared socio-economic and class interests, or political ideology. A belief in Yemeni nationalism appears to be the one value with mobilising potential shared throughout society. It combines a historical perception of Yemenis as one people with modern conceptions of the nation-state, and the right of a nation to self-rule. Nevertheless, its organising power is also limited, primarily by the strength of regionalism and loyalties to kinship groups, as well as divergent ideas about the shape that the nationalist project should take.

Presented with these difficulties, how can hegemony capable of supporting a stable and legitimate government be achieved over a society such as Yemen's? Hudson identifies three possible strategies to be pursued by regimes searching for legitimacy. Firstly the transformationist model, similar to that pursued in the PDRY, which takes the form of a fundamental system change from the starting point of a violent seizure of the state apparatus. The revolutionary regime seeks to extend its hegemony by replacing loyalty to kinship group and religion, with a commitment to a political ideology and new mechanisms of representation and mobilisation, such as the party, workers organisations, and popular committees. However, as the socialists in the PDRY found, "it is not certain whether the revolutionary legitimacy formula can sweep away traditional values and become deeply rooted". This is especially the case where the state faces severe economic constraints. If the transformation of society is partial and pre-existing identities continue to hold political weight, there is the possibility that the new political institutions will be subverted by these interests, or face their opposition from outside the state.

Hudson's second model envisages a society undergoing a gradual evolution into a pluralist political culture, with legitimate political authority achieved through increasingly institutionalised economic and political competition between interest groups. This assumes that economic development, urbanisation, increasing literacy and education, and an expanding media will bring increasing demands for participation in national affairs from the politicised masses15. Indeed, the forces of modernisation in Yemen have generated strong modernist political movements, on both socialist and liberal wings. However, as Hudson himself predicts, there is no guarantee that this will lead to a more cohesive political environment. Improved communications and greater access to economic resources may be appropriated by particularist groups to reinforce their own identities. Meanwhile, the effects and benefits of modernisation are not necessarily shared evenly through society, and may therefore increase conflict within and between traditional and new groups over access to resources and the direction of change.

It is Hudson's third, 'mosaic', model which appears to present the strategy best suited to achieving legitimacy in the Yemeni context. It requires the state to recognise the relative permanence of parochial and traditional orientations in society, and follow a strategy of accommodating them within the structures of the state and national politics. This formula is advocated by Illiya Harik, who writes, "the new states of the Middle East are in need of accommodating particularistic tendencies, and by a constructive policy channeling them in the service of civic order with patience and endurance."16 Such a task has similarities to Gramsci's concept hegemony. It requires an inclusive national-popular ideology, capable of coalescing as many elements of society as possible into a hegemonic bloc. For example, to win the support of conservative forces it must respect religious authority and tribal autonomy, while maintaining a commitment to rapid economic development, a fair distribution of income, and political liberalisation in order to appease radical and modernist groups, often powerfully concentrated in urban areas.

The mosaic model bears a significant resemblance to the process of national reconciliation undertaken by the YAR after the impasse between modernist and traditional forces in the civil war, and goes some way to explaining its growing cohesion in the twenty years that followed before unity. It is a strategy that allows a greater diffusion of political authority throughout society, and therefore an apparently weaker state than the transformative model. However, its principle benefit is an emphasis on political stability and the dangers of alienating powerful elements of society. A settled political environment allows the state to progressively extend its hegemony over society, and conversely over time increases the likelihood of potentially divisive forces developing a vested interest in the status quo. In stark contrast is the political upheaval implicit in a revolutionary strategy such as that pursued in the PDRY. The immediate seizure of the state is likely to be followed by a long period of instability while the traditional structures of authority are progressively disabled, but not yet effectively replaced by the new revolutionary state. The socialists in South Yemen particularly suffered from violent intra-elite conflict, suggesting that the constitutional mechanisms for allocating and transferring authority were ineffective. In contrast to the growing cohesion of Salih's regime in the north, the civil war of 1986 left the Southern State a weakened entity in the pre-unification period.

In 1984, John Peterson wrote, "It may be only realistic to assume that the mosaic model provides the most likely avenue for future changes in the Yemens." It is also the conclusion of this discussion that a consensual or hegemonic strategy is most likely to be successful in view of the powerful but heterogeneous nature of Yemen's civil society. The next chapters will suggest that such a strategy was elemental in ensuring the dominance of the northern political elite in the united Yemeni state, and seek to locate its origins in the political traditions of the north and the environment in which YAR developed. By way of contrast the source of southern weakness is traced from the south's localised political culture, through the factionalism of the revolutionary period, and into the united Yemeni State.

2. Historical foundations of northern dominance

THE HISTORY of Yemen is often characterised as one of social and political division between tribe and tribe, town and tribe, Zaydi and Sha'fi Islam, north and south, and traditionalist and modernist. In the face of these multiple cleavages, the leaders who sought to unite the country over the centuries faced insurmountable obstacles if their base of support rested on too narrow a constituency, and failed to incorporate the multiple other centres of power and authority into their sphere of influence. In other words, the achievement of unity required the establishment of hegemony over society, the gaining of a vital element of consent from potentially hostile groups. As a result, Yemeni leaders have achieved lasting success only by practising a consensual style of rule. It will be argued here that this tradition was reflected in the strategy of national reconciliation and coalition building followed by the GPC in the 1970s and 80s, and an important explanation of its greater coherence and unity in the struggle with the YSP for control of the unified state.

In spite of the efforts of many rulers in its history and with the exception of short periods subdued by overwhelming forces from the outside world, the unity of Yemen has been impossible to achieve by force alone. The major explanation for this is that military strength in Yemen has traditionally rested in society, and especially with the tribes, rather than with any 'centralised' authority. A ruler had therefore to achieve the support of the tribes if he was to command significant military power17. This required one or more unifying factor with the strength to overcome tribal, religious, and political divisions and form a Khaldunian 'Iltiham', legitimating the ruler's authority. Such factors included religious, kinship and tribal ties, a reputation for justice and good government, the successful leadership of campaigns of conquest and bounty, and movements against oppression from outside or within. However, in the face of an absence or decline of these bonds, crisis was inevitable when a leader proved to be unable firmly to dominate other group feelings and draw them to accept its domination formalised into state power18.

Over the past centuries the tribes of the Zaydi 'state' of north Yemen have been particularly autonomous, given their isolated and strategically defensible mountain locations, and their strong tribal organisation. Having endured "numerous changes of fortune for over a thousand years."19, but remaining unconquered by the likes of the Rasulids and Ottomans, it may be possible to say that the first rule of Yemeni politics is that in order to control a united Yemen, a leader must incorporate the northern tribes into his coalition of support. Indeed, the only periods of unity in Yemen since the Middle Ages have been achieved under the leadership of an expansionist Zaydi Imamate, drawing its military power from the northern tribes and its authority from an 'asabiyya' based on religious leadership, tribal affiliation, and the leadership of a campaign against the Ottoman's which "took on the character of a genuine national rising against corrupt and unjust foreign rule."20 This combination of military strength and moral and national leadership enabled the Zaydi state to add many Shaf'i areas to its dominion. However, while the Imams succeeded in nominally reuniting Yemen within the old Himyarite borders as far as Dhofar21, tribal unrest and civil war prevented the their authority being fully recognised in provinces such as Lahaj, Asir, Hadhramawt and the Yafai mountains.22 This illustrates the problem of legitimacy faced by the Imams who sought to establish hegemony over largely Shaf'i areas when their authority was based on religious leadership of the Zaydi faithful, and tribal organisations not represented in the south of Yemen.

The precedent set by Zaydi rule has been carried over into the politics of Yemen in the modern period in three important ways. Firstly, it demonstrated that the ruler of a united Yemen would have to accept the existence and power of the tribes, and secondly seek to incorporate them into a supporting coalition of important social groups. The GPC was successful in attempting this in the form of its program of national reconciliation, aided by its lack of explicit ideology, the tribal links of its leaders, the incorporation of tribal elites into government, and its courting of Islah in the period after unity23. Meanwhile the YSP sought to eradicate tribalism and replace it with alternative forms of socio-economic identity. For example, high ranking party member Jarallah 'Umar said that "The tribe in Yemen is no longer a social and economic institution ... our party rejects the use of tribal concepts to impede development or oppose law and order."24 Although this policy was intended to reduce the divisions in Yemeni society, it also served to alienate important tribal constituencies in the south in the post-revolutionary period, and then again in the north after unity.

Thirdly, the Imamate gave the north the longest tradition of continuous central authority in Yemen, and a precedent for leadership of campaigns for national unification. Despite the fluctuating scope of the its power, its continuous existence for a millennia can be contrasted with the more localised "parallel structures of social and political power in uneasy relation with one another"25 which characterised the south. The southern provinces were often the first to break away from the Zaydi attempts at unification and were never themselves the base for efforts to control the whole of Yemen, leaving the PDRY a fractured legacy on which to build.

The different political legacies faced by north and south were accentuated by the period of colonial and monarchical rule in the 19th and first half of this century. The north experienced the centralising efforts of Ottoman rule, which failed to subdue the Zaydi tribes, but did succeed in creating an administrative/bureaucratic apparatus that could form the basis of a viable state. This process continued under the Imamate's of Yahya and Ahmad who sought to combine the development of a modern state apparatus with traditional forms of legitimation. They relied principally on their religious authority and the support of the northern tribes, but also sought to use nationalism and limited liberalisation in the attempt to legitimise their rule over Shaf'i areas. Indeed Bidwell writes Yahya, "was so successful that in 1933 the delegates from Aden travelling up to the capital for negotiations ... expressed astonishment at the security and order which prevailed, in striking contrast to the anarchy of most of the Aden Protectorate."26 The Imamate was a weak state, facing opposition from modernists, who sought more rapid economic and political development, and traditionalists disapproving of the Imams centralising tendencies. In other words it faced similar contradictions to those confronted later by the YAR. But in the longevity of the Imamate - achieved through the necessities of coalition building and multiple legitimacy - lay the basis for the success of the inclusive strategy pursued later by the GPC, which enabled it to achieve hegemony over the north and extend it to the south after unification.

In contrast to the centralisation occurring under the Ottomans and then the Imams in the north, British rule tended to accentuate divisions in the south. Apart from the colony at Aden, Britain employed a policy of indirect rule in the rest of the Protectorate, trusting administrative authority to the sultanates, which appeared -in the eyes of the colonial administrators - to rule in a patchwork of fiefdoms. Therefore the divisions in south Yemeni society, so vague in practice, were legitimated on paper and formed interests for the different ruing elites to protect27. Meanwhile, Aden was developing into a modern town with an ideologised political culture and level of development far in advance of the rest of the country. Although the British sponsored the creation of the Federation of South Arabia in an effort to give Yemen an integrated political system, it was by then too late. The Sultans and chiefs were unwilling to give up their autonomy, and the new structures appeared a continuance of colonial and traditional rule to the Adeni radicals. South Yemeni politics at the end of British rule was therefore violently divisive, with important consequences for later southern weakness after unification.

Firstly, the south was left with no history of 'legitimate' centralised rule, and only the most basic institutions and structures for government outside Aden. Particularly vital was the lack of a tradition of authority based on consensus building such as that existing in the north, which could have brought together a moderate coalition of reforming and conservative forces28. Secondly, there was a fear of division in the new revolutionary state. Rather than attempting to develop a coalition of existing social forces in support of its rule, it attempted to create new social identities and roles through ideology and coercion. Successive socialist regimes were therefore unable to put down roots in the repressed traditional political culture, limiting the YSP's mobilisational potential as the socialist ideology lost its power in the late 1980's. As the next chapter will show the party was thus left in a very weak position to maintain its hegemony over the south, and extend it to the north, after unity.

3. Separate paths to unity

THE 1960s were a period of immense political upheaval for both North and South Yemen. By the end of the decade the two countries had clearly embarked on the different strategies of nation building whose evolution would see a weakened and divided southern political elite eclipsed by that of the north in the process of unification. In the south the prevalent dynamic was intra-elite conflict, and the progressive emiseration of the Socialist's hegemony. Meanwhile, the north was undergoing a process of national reconciliation through which the leaderships of powerful social forces were incorporated into the ruling coalition, enabling the state to progressively extend its authority into society. This process was interspersed with periods of reaction and instability when the objectives of particular regimes became removed from those of powerful social groups, until a formula could be found enabling a further rapprochement between state and society.

However, during the decade of revolution and independence such an outcome was by no means evident, indeed the reverse appeared to be the case. It was the leading southern nationalist group, the NLF, which seemed most effective in coalescing several groups within a broad ideology committed to nationalism and social justice, drawing on a number of bases of support ranging from urban workers to rural and tribal populations29. As Adams writes, "Directed against a foreign, colonialist enemy rather than a native tyranny, it had had a far more coherent national following" than the republicans in the north30. The latter were proving unable to defeat the Royalists by force, and were reliant on a massive Egyptian intervention of questionable popularity, with increasing autonomy being achieved by tribes on both sides during the conflict31.

Only with the end of foreign influence in the form of the British withdrawal from South Yemen and the Egyptian retreat from the YAR did the distinctive political dynamics of the two states truly begin to reassert themselves. In the south, despite the popularity of the nationalist movement in society, divisions existed from the outset reflecting the regionalism and class stratification that dominated its political culture. Differences over the extent and direction of change were the explicit cause of division. The more conservative South Arabian League attempted to rally rural and urban populations behind its call for a united state, but was willing to work in coalition with the aristocracy and rural notables to preserve the traditional pattern of Yemeni politics. However, its elitist politics were soon challenged by more radical groups influenced by the labour movement and the rising ideologies of Arab nationalism, socialism, and communism, in particular the National Front.

These divisions were brought to a head by Egyptian attempts to impose unity on the competing nationalist movements by incorporating them into the united body FLOSY. According to Ismael and Ismael, the National Front presented "strong ideological opposition to the programme and composition of FLOSY, and in particular to the participation in it of Sultans, Princes, Sheikhs and members of the Adeni elite."32 At the root of this dissent was the left-wing of the NF, the increasingly dominant force in the party which eventually succeeded in forcing a break-away in November 1966.

During the civil war which followed, a large scale purge of the nationalist leadership occurred, causing the alienation of conservative or liberal leaders such as al-Jifri and al-Habashi, and the exclusion of more moderate National Front members from party membership, or positions of leadership. Over the following years of National Front rule such a shrinkage of the ruling elite was to become the principle dynamic of southern politics, a pattern that had its roots in the South's lack of a tradition of central authority able to bind different social groups into its hegemony. No social or institutional mechanisms for the peaceful sharing of power between regions and social groups had developed, leaving the state vulnerable to seizure by a well-armed minority group such as the NLF. Power was therefore zero-sum game, with the achievement of power by one faction meaning the absolute loss of power by another, often meaning exile or loss of livelihood and even life unless the state could be recaptured by force.

During the 1970s and 80s the divisions in the leadership of the NLF exhibited themselves in several forms, severely inhibiting the regime's efforts to extend its socialist hegemony throughout society and into neighbouring states. The most explicit splits were on matters relating to foreign and domestic policy. However, personal, class, tribal and regional divisions often lay behind these differences33, despite efforts to build new identities based on the socialist ideology in order to overcome these cleavages. Already in June 1969 a leftist coup had removed Qahtan al-Shabi and the moderate Arab Nationalist leadership of the party, who had enjoyed support in the Lahej. However rivalries soon revealed themselves between Muscovite scientific socialists such as Abd al-Fattah Ismail, and the more pragmatic Ali Nasir Muhammad and Salim Rubay, despite attempts to resolve divisions in the party congress. As Fred Halliday writes "The conflict of policy and personality that characterised the YSP leadership...were not to be contained by the apparently stabilising resolutions of the early 1980s. As in some other Third World revolutionary regimes, most notably Afghanistan, the dynamic of factionalism seemed to reproduce itself, however dire the consequences of such indulgence by the leadership might be, for themselves and the people they were supposed to lead."34

Each purge of the nationalist leadership reduced the NLF/YSP's ability to achieve hegemony over society. This was compounded by the leftward movement of the party towards a doctrine of uncompromising scientific socialism. The state had committed itself to a complete reconstruction of the southern political culture on Marxist principles: including an end to tribal forms of organisation and identity, the subordination of religion to secular ideology, the complete removal of traditional structures of authority such as the sultanates, the shift to a command economy, and the creation of new structures of representation, such as the party, and organisations for workers, women, and youth. In the context of the Italian Communist party, Gramsci believed that the ideological inflexibility of such a stance prevented the party from placing itself at the head of a national-popular movement.35 In the words of Anne Showstack Sassoon, "The party, by refusing to take part in a whole range of struggles [for fear of ideological contamination] had remained an isolated sect, detached from the masses."36 In South Yemen this was also the case, despite the party being in power and not opposition. The Communists were to a large extent successful in removing the pre-existing forms of political authority and legitimation. However, they failed to inspire a great ideological commitment in the new ones from a people for whom "traditional goals and institutions...persistently retained the primary allegiance of most of the people."37 Power remained concentrated in the hands of a small elite and based on control of the security apparatus and party, despite the existence of institutions of popular representation. Meanwhile, especially during periods of hard-line dominance, the regime's rigid adherence to the Marxist left it regionally isolated, and committed to an inflexible economic strategy unsuited to Yemen's needs, and more concerned with the allocation of resources than their production.

As the international hegemony of the USSR declined, the PDRY's principle pillar of economic and political support was no longer willing to support the its unproductive economy and factionalised regime. Under these circumstances the failure of socialist party to build its hegemony around the socialist ideology was revealed. Its authority had been founded on its security apparatus, and the distribution of economic patronage, rather than the genuine commitment of society to the communist cause. Like other communist regimes in this period the YSP was forced to seek alternative forms of legitimation, such as nationalism, economic liberalisation and democratisation, or face extinction. However, the party's ability to expand it's coalition of support had been severely hindered by the civil war of 1986 which saw the more pragmatic wing of the party under Ali Nasir Muhammad ousted from the country by hard-liners supporting Ismail and al-Bayd. This was a conflict which saw many high-ranking leaders killed or exiled and which revealed the extent of divisions between party factions, popular militias, tribal groups and civilians.38

Given the political and economic crisis that followed it is unsurprising that, as Brian Whitaker indicates, "the new government failed to provide and clear direction or evidence of strong leadership"39. The government was constrained by its attachment to the hard-line ideology for which it had fought, and was unwilling to undergo a process of national reconciliation with the thirty thousand supporters of Ali Nasir Muhammad estimated to have fled abroad. Elements of the new leadership, particularly al-Bayd, therefore turned to unification as a solution to the regime's lack of legitimacy, and the economy's stagnation. However, as members of the ruling elite who opposed this move feared, the YSP was moving into unity as a severely weakened force, especially in comparison to the growing hegemony of President Salih's regime over the YAR and the Yemeni nationalist movement in general.

In the north the Republican movement was also divided from the start on social, ideological, and religious grounds. Robin Bidwell categorises its principle bases of support as: Merchants disputing government monopolies, Shafi's seeking an end to religious persecution, Qadis railing against the pretensions of the Sayyids, conservatives who objected to the pace of reform and the election of al-Badr as Imam, and intellectuals reacting to the Imam's break with nationalism. However, as he stresses, the most important element of support required by the Republicans was the military power of the army and the Zaydi tribes, in particular the Hashid40.

Such a coalition of anti-royalist forces could not be could not be achieved while the state was in the hands of the Egyptian backed regime of Sallal, and following strictly Nasirist policies. The commitment to a radical transformation of society along Egyptian lines was at odds with the values of conservative tribal forces, and lacked roots in Yemeni political culture. As Hudson writes, "tribalism and religiosity were so deeply rooted in Yemeni society that no mere change of government, even if supported by a large external military force could replace them easily with a civic culture and loyalty to a modernising central government."41

The withdrawal of Egyptian troops following its war with Israel in 1967, and the following demise of Sallal's regime enabled the new government under President Iryani to embark on a more moderate strategy of state building and national reconciliation. Tribal conferences at Amran in 1963, and Khamir in 1965 had previously allowed contact between elements on both sides who sought a compromise solution as it became increasingly obvious that neither side was strong enough to defeat the other by simple military means42. These initiatives had been inhibited up until this point by the ideological and strategic rigidity of Sallal's regime and the Egyptian government. However, the new regime under Iryani presented a much less radical front, enabling it to successfully pursue a strategy of co-opting those tribes which had supported the Royalist cause, but had no fundamental attachment to the institution of the Imamate. With their principle objections to the republican state removed, and the end of substantial Egyptian and Saudi intervention, support for the Royalist cause drained away43. Several tribal leaders went over to the republicans in the remainder of the war, such as Qasem Monasser of the Beni Husheich, while other Sheikhs and royalist politicians, such as Abdullah al-Ahmar and Ahmad Mohammed ash-Shani were incorporated into the post-settlement Republican Council.

Iryani's accomodationist strategy became the blueprint for future northern regimes to pursue. Indeed, the GPC's own version of the history of Yemen praises Iryani for winning "the trust of all Yemeni's", and enabling the achievement of "peace with honour" for those involved. As both Peterson and Hudson note, his style of rule had its roots in the Yemeni tradition of state as intermediary between competing factions, which had also been a principle legitimating factor for the Imamate's influence in the country for many centuries. As such "His authority ... resided in his capacity to act as an honest broker between the two real centres of power, the army, which controlled the main towns, and the relatively autonomous tribes of the north and east."44 In order to achieve this balance Iryani sought a broad ideological hegemony, combining respect for the tribal and religious values held strongly in the Zaydi north, with a developmentalist attitude towards the economy and the consolidation of state power, representing the wishes of the largely Shai'fi urban intelligentsia and the progressive elements of the armed forces. The new constitution of the Republic sought to institutionalise this balance of power, in what Bidwell describes as "a real attempt to find a political system appropriate to the country."45 However, despite his efforts, Iryani found it impossible run an effective administration at the same time as holding together such a disparate coalition in the context of an extremely weak state, and social forces which had enjoyed a decade of near autonomy. In particular, as a 'neutral' he lacked a significant power base in society, or Khaldunian 'assabiyya, such as the links to tribe and the military which were later to provide a greater degree of stability to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Salih.

Colonel Ibrahim Hamdi's rule in the YAR was in many ways a reaction to the problems of weak institutional capacity and highly autonomous social forces that had defeated his predecessor. His priority was to strengthen the State's institutional capacity and extend its reach into society, entailing new limits to tribal power including the abolition of the Sheikh dominated consultative council. Unlike Iryani, Hamdi had a more powerful base of support in the army from which to draw support, however he also sought to pursue a similar consociational path where possible. For example, he had support from influential Zaydi tribal leaders, and also tried to incorporate the Shaf'i community and leftist groups into the political system46. "He realised the necessity of broadening his appeal to all sectors of the population through such methods as ... leadership of the co-ops and anti-corruption movement, and by maintaining close personal relations with figures from all parts of the political spectrum47.

Nevertheless, the extension of state power and the more rapid economic development which occurred during Hamdi's regime could not be achieved without an increasing encroachment upon tribal autonomy which would put it at odds with leaders such as Sheikh al-Ahmar. According to Bidwell, Hamdi "came to realise that his dream of a "modern civilised state" was impossible while much of the country was dominated by implacably conservative Sheikhs supported by masses of armed followers."48 He sought to break their restrictions on state action by moving towards are more pluralistic political system49, making overtures to the PDRY about unity, and eventually in the summer of 1977 fighting in the Zaydi strongholds. However, his efforts were cut short by his assassination in October of that year.

The foundation of President Ali Abdullah Salih's success over the following twenty years was a return to the basic elements of political power in Yemen -the support of the northern tribes, in particular the Hashid confederacy50 and the military. As Bidwell notes, "Salih's first move was to attempt to conciliate the northern and other shaykhs were brought into the Assembly...[He] appeared to have little option but to try and revert to the old Imamic policy of using the Hashid and Bakil, if he could command their loyalty, to coerce the rest of the country."51 The ability to mobilise the armed forces and tribes was vital at this time due to the increasing threat from the National Democratic Front based in the south of the country and supported by the PDRY. Indeed, according to the GPC's own history, in the border war of 1979 the YAR was almost defeated, save for the intervention of fighters from the tribal confederacies52.

However, as the regimes of Hamdi and Iryani had shown, an effective administration could not be developed merely by pacifying the tribes. Salih sought to strengthen his hegemony over the state in two further ways. Firstly he set about building what Kostiner describes as "a network of power", and Detalle as a "military/commercial complex." Vital to this structure were high ranking military appointments from within Salih's extended family and clan, and leading members of important tribes, through whom the regime could "operate a broad network of clients in the army and appointed officials in the public administration and government offices."53 Over time this network was effective in linking the interests of the state to those of powerful interests in society. For example Dunbar writes of the changing position of tribal leaders that, "from being the predominant sources of power and patronage they found themselves increasingly in the position of vying for favours that the government could increasingly give, and so they were co-opted into the emerging Yemeni establishment."54

Secondly Salih sought to acquire political legitimacy for his regime, and mobilise popular support through the formulation of a new national charter, and political organisation - the General People's Congress. For this purpose a working group was formed comprising representatives from a wide range of political movements in the country, assigned with the task of formulating a document acceptable to all. Local plebiscites were held to allow citizens to debate the proposed national accord, and elect 1,000 members of the new Congress with power to amend the charter. According to Brian Whitaker, the charter was "described by the President as a guide to national life to which all national elements could subscribe...[and] allowed much scope for publicity, ceremony, and popular participation."55 Like the President himself, the GPC professed to adhere to no specific ideology, and was therefore able to present itself as representing all political interests in the country56. Made up largely of local notables from the different regions, it reflected this diversity in its combination of economic liberalism, respect for tribal and regional interests, religious conservatism, and political populism and nationalism. An additional advantage for the regime was that the GPC contained political disputes within a single organisation, and limited the scope for organised opposition outside it57.

The culmination of Salih's search for popular legitimacy came in 1988 when he was asked continue in the presidency by a legislative assembly that for the first time was largely a popularly elected body. Despite the absence of official party competition, the factions within the GPC fought these elections keenly, giving some indication of the broad popularity of Salih's regime across the ideological spectrum. Behind this support lay the success of a regime which had been able to extend it hegemony over state and society during a decade of good economic growth and infrastructural development, combined with increasing political stability, state capacity, and institutional reform. In particular, as Dunbar writes, "by degrees...the government gradually extended its control into tribal strongholds in the northern and eastern areas, for example by constructing schools and hospitals in tribal areas, enabling Sana'a to dispense services and jobs to tribal members and thus obtain their acquiescence to a growing official presence."58 While tribes retained an often high degree of military and administrative autonomy, they were coming to desire a part in the national system and the resources it could provide, and were therefore to see themselves in relation to that system, rather than separate from it.

The growing authority of Salih and the GPC in the north was especially marked in comparison to the economic disintegration and discontent developing in the PDRY, and the divisions in communist regime on regional and ideological lines. Since the civil war the YAR had developed a flexible system for incorporating the diverse interests in its society. However, the Southern regime had relied on coercion to suppress the divisions within and outside the regime with negative consequences for political stability and legitimacy. The greater coherence and flexibility of the GPC was to enable it to extend its hegemony over the idea of Yemeni nationalism, the process of unification, and eventually the united Yemeni state itself in the years that followed.

4. Northern hegemony in the unified state; democracy, and the eclipse of the southern elite

"In a unified state there can be only one ultimate centre of power. Whoever has power controls the army, the security forces and the whole state apparatus. When two states are unified, there has to be a mechanism for determining where ultimate power lies, for turning two centres of power into one."59

DESPITE its formal unification, hegemony over the new Yemeni State remained divided between the GPC and YSP, given the extremely limited extent to which the institutions of the PDRY and YAR had been merged. As unity proceeded the divisions between the two systems were to be eradicated by administrative reform and elections. Both political elite's were threatened with the prospect of losing the powers they had enjoyed as separate states, and sought to preserve their interests by engaging in a struggle for hegemony within the new state60. However, as the previous chapter showed, in reality the process of determining where the balance of power lay in Yemen had begun years before. The two regimes were entering into unity arrangements with markedly different economic and political records and levels of popular support in their respective territories. As Fred Halliday has written, the resulting northern dominance "has in effect, turned Yemeni unity into that experienced in Germany - a formal fusion on equal terms concealing a take-over by the stronger partner in the process."

President Salih was able to use his relatively stable position, and the comparative weakness of the southern regime after the 1986 civil war, to take the initiative in pressing unification on an uncertain and divided YSP, and received acclaim in much of the north and south for doing so. The argument of this chapter is that once gained, the northern elite never lost its hegemony over the nationalist movement, and was able to progressively assert its hegemony over the developing political process of the united state. Vital to this process were three factors:

  1. The GPC's establishment of national-popular hegemony through its leadership of the nationalist movement.

  2. The democratic, and non-federal structure of the new state which allowed the GPC to turn the political support of the more populous north into political power.

  3. The GPC's ideological flexibility, which enabled the party to pursue the northern political tradition of incorporating key political and social groups into the ruling coalition, a task it achieved more effectively than a Southern elite burdened by its communist past.

At various points in their history, the regimes of the two Yemen's used nationalist rhetoric to enhance their legitimacy in the eyes of their citizens, acknowledging that the idea of 'the Yemen' and of being 'Yemeni' give the prospect of unity popular appeal and mobilising power61. However, they had only been willing to consider it on their own terms, given that "Unity would have signified that one or the other side was prepared to sacrifice its political value system for the sake of a higher goal."62 Therefore when President Salih's unity initiative appeared for the first time to put the goal of Yemeni nationalism above narrow issues of regime stability, he enabled his government to present itself as the expression of what Gramsci described as the 'national-popular' interest. The northern government was able harvest its reward for this bold step in the form of popular support. "Sana'a decided to bypass [the southern leaders] by appealing directly to the people...the huge crowds that greeted Salih in Aden were not the staged demonstrations sometimes organised by the YSP and reflected genuine popular enthusiasm for unity."63

The extent to which the YAR had embraced the aspiration for unity put (probably calculated) pressure on the southern leadership. "Well aware of the south's current weakness, it had identified a window of opportunity which, if missed, might not occur again for many years."64 As a consequence of its economic and political difficulties, the YSP faced a unenviable choice: To enter into a unity in which it was the weaker force, but which held out the prospect of greater legitimacy for the regime, or to remain independent and confront mounting popular discontent. The southern leaders were therefore understandably cautious about the pace and direction of arrangements, favouring "a transitional federal formula as a step along the road towards a subsequent merger between the two parts."65 However, this enabled Salih's regime to portray the YSP as reluctant partners who were not fully committed to the cause of unity. As Dunbar has written "the government in Sana'a tended to devise unity strategies...creating the impression that the YAR was all for unity and that the PDRY, viewed with almost universal suspicion in the north, was the obstacle to achieving this goal."66

This was a tactic that Salih pursued successfully after unification as well. Southern leaders such as Vice-president al-Bayd, unhappy with many political developments in the first years of unity,67 registered their unhappiness by leaving Sana'a and returning to the south calling for "a federal regime which would grant more autonomy to the south."68 Salih was thus able to portray the YSP as creating a de-facto separation, in preparation for eventual secession, undermining the nationalist project. When war eventually broke out between the two elites, the failure of many elements of southern society to rally to their former leaders illustrated the strength of support for the nationalist project in the south, if not yet direct support for the northern regime69. Al-Bayd may have demonstrated an implicit recognition of this fact by only declaring secession after two weeks of fighting, by which time Aden was already almost cut off by northern troops. "He knew it would be unpopular with the Yemeni public; it cost him what support he had among disaffected northerners; and it risked splitting his own party"70

The progressive extension of the northern elite's hegemony over the nationalist movement was matched by its increasing command of the political process and institutions of the united state. It was aided in this by the adoption of a non-federal system in which power would be shared, rather than formally distributed, between the two parties71. In such a system, where a member of one of the two former regimes held a position in the new government, one member from the other was out of a job, causing a surplus of leadership and encouraging competition between parties for positions of authority. The GPC held the advantage in this kind of struggle, given that the government was based in Sana'a, the numerical superiority of its officials, the organisational strength of the party, and the well established northern patrimonial network. According to Hudson, "YSP ministers found that the real decisions in their ministries were being taken by the GPC directors-general. There were not enough YSP or Southern civil servants at lower levels in the ministries in Sana'a to prevent the more numerous northern bureaucrats from dominating them."72 This feeling of powerlessness within the new order was one of the major factors pushing the YSP towards secession, and it was intensified after the 1993 election with the incorporation of Islah into the government. Where it wished the GPC could now easily over-ride southern opposition by appealing to the support of this strongly anti-socialist party, whose leader Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar had close links to the president.

Democracy was another important mechanism for the articulation of northern hegemony, given that it's far larger population was guaranteed to given it a decisive majority in the elections. The YSP faced an impossible struggle to undermine the GPC's support in the north, and indeed for a while it looked as if its best course was to merge with its rival. Antipathy towards socialism was widespread among the strongly conservative elements of northern society, and in particular towards a regime known for its economic mismanagement and factionalism. "North Yemeni visitors to the PDRY returned with the impression that whatever its faults, the YAR system had produced obvious progress whereas Aden's brand of Marxism had transformed the PDRY into an economic backwater with limited prospects for advancement."73

The different parties did campaign to increase their popularity in constituencies where they had not previously been represented. However, the results of the 1993 elections demonstrated that the political allegiance of the two communities remained regionally divided. In theory this represented a continuation of the status quo, with the YSP continuing as a partner in government. Nevertheless, with the inclusion of Islah into the ruling coalition the government "ultimately resembled the coexistence of conservative and socialist elements that had prevailed in the YAR under the GPC umbrella"74, in which the GPC could dominate by playing its partners off against each other.

The GPC was set up as an 'Egyptian' style political organisation to represent a multitude of opinions and interests within one body. Within the YAR it had played this role virtually unchallenged, and now in the united Yemen the GPC continued to function in a similar way, using its hegemony over the political process to mould the pliable form of the new political system into one similar to its northern predecessor. The tactic of co-opting leaders from different sections of the community has been extended to the south, for example a number of supporters of the formerly exiled southern leader, Ali Nasir Muhammad, ran for the party. As Detalle writes "In putting together their State, the GPC looked for persons well rooted in their communities, with party affiliation taking second place."75 This strategy did not bear great electoral fruit in 1993 principally because, up until a short time before the polls, it seemed likely that the YSP might actually merge with the GPC. Certainly, with both parties still at least nominally in power together, a vote for the YSP was a vote for the unity government, rather than a vote against the GPC as such. However, the GPC benefited from its strategy to a far greater extent after the YSP boycott in the 1997 parliamentary elections, with several former members of the YSP successfully elected under the GPC banner76.

President Salih has also sought to bring southerners into leading governmental positions. At present there is a southern Prime Minister - Dr Faraj bin Ghanem, Vice President, Minister for Legal Affairs, Minister for Planning, and Interior Minister. Sheikh Tariq Abdullah, founder of the 'Local Government Party', argues that although the men appointed to these positions do not have a real power base in southern society, their selection by the president is an attempt to overcome the lack of a genuinely representative southern leadership with whom to work, after the final failure and dispersion of the YSP old guard during the war of 1994.77 It may also be a manoeuvre aimed at reducing the influence of the less progressive members of the northern elite, although Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar was re-elected parliamentary speaker, and Sheikh Tariq al-Fadli the leader of the 'Afghan' guerrillas - a fundamentalist group - was a surprising appointment to the consultative council78.

As Dr S Abd al-Aziz al-Saqqaf, editor of the 'The Yemen Times', and himself a co-optee onto the Consultative Council, said in interview "The President's ideology is to stay in power. He is a very clever man and successfully co-opts all the elders in society, from the tribes, heads of newspapers, military, to business men and the senior families."79 However, at the same time Saqqaf also believes that "This enables the President to neglect the population and hold on to the leaders." In moving to the conclusion that Salih's regime has achieved hegemony over the Yemeni State, it must be asked whether the sacrifices that a strategy of broad coalition building entails for the weaker elements of society are sustainable, or whether at the height of the President's political hegemony, the limits to this strategy are being revealed.


BEFORE POLLING in this year's elections, Fred Halliday posted this bleak view of the future of Yemeni politics: "The North won the war and reunited Yemen under one regime for the first time in two centuries. But economic and social difficulties have worsened, tension between the political parties continues, and few believe that any government that emerges from the election will be able to tackle the severe difficulties Yemen now faces."80 Fears of escalating conflict between political parties appear to have been ruled out by the extent of the GPC's electoral victory, and the divisions within the two main opposition parties81. However, although the GPC can now stand alone in government, there are doubts about whether the extent of its hegemony is such that it permits effective government, or merely the maintenance of power.

The construction and holding together of a hegemonic bloc such as that created by President Salih and the GPC is not without costs. For each interest group it incorporates, the government must be prepared to re-distribute economic or political resources in the other direction. Whether in the form of direct patronage or implicit understandings on policy, such bargains put considerable restrictions of the government's freedom of action and its ability to govern effectively. This is particularly the case with regards to the President's inner network of relatives and placemen in the military, bureaucracy, and party. As Dr Saqqaf comments, "entrenched people become a security threat. The President has increasingly limited room for manoeuvre, but finds it difficult to allow changes to his entourage."82 Meanwhile, despite outwardly impressive statistical signs of an upsurge in economic activity in the country, the standard of living for many has stagnated or fallen over the period of unification, the Gulf crisis, the war of 1994 and the adoption of a far reaching programme of structural adjustment measures. Salih's regime may as a result find itself facing the conflicting priorities of distributing resources through its patronage network, and the need for a welfarist response to mounting poverty in rural and urban areas.

The GPC also still faces challenges to its hegemony in wider society, although perhaps presently not enough to seriously threaten the regime. The south, lacking in leadership as it was, failed to convincingly throw in its lot with the GPC at the election. With the YSP not standing, the turnouts in al-Mahrah (44%), Lahaj (44.9%), and Hadhramawt (45%) in the south were the lowest in the country. In Hadhramawt itself, the GPC won fewer seats than Islah, and won a lower percentage of the vote (29%) in the province than in the country as a whole (43%). Certainly, much of the South does not yet look to Sana'a to express its political demands, and particularly in Hadhramawt "its history of migration still makes it more likely its people will look outside the country to pursue their interests."83 Therefore the government needs to continue with its long-term strategy of winning "acceptance by ensuring that southern interests are well represented in government and by smothering discontent with investment."84 However, spending a disproportionate share of its revenues in the south is likely to stimulate discontent among both urban and rural populations in the north. In particular recent kidnappings of tourists have demonstrated that the tribes still have the ability to inconvenience the government, even if they seem unprepared to take joint action against the government at present. According to both Paul Dresch, tribal concern is centred around the dominance of Hamdan Sana'a and Sanhan in the military and administration, and the separation of major sheikhs - such as Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar - from their followers as they become increasingly men of parties and of government. As a result, "Wide-spread popular frustration with the behaviour of those in power has continued to find expression in sporadic outbreaks of violence, usually with strong tribal overtones"85.

If the government finds itself unable to meet its obligations, it may abandon its hegemonic strategy and operate a more repressive strategy towards dissident groups with the aid of an increasingly all encompassing security apparatus. While certainly still more liberal than most Arab States, the scope of political freedom has noticeably reduced from its remarkable flowering in the period after unification. Amnesty International believes that political prisoners are more commonly being held, and meanwhile the Ministry of Information, already in control of the TV and Radio has been exerting increasing influence on newspapers through a combination of harassment and subsidy86. According to Eric Watkins, "through the control of the media the Yemeni government undermines the very democratic processes it claims to promote."87

However, despite such caveats, the extent of the hegemony of the present political establishment is unprecedented in Yemen's history. While many elements of society may not articulate support for the personnel within the regime or the direction of their government, for the first time in Yemen's history no powerful group or rival authority appears to be attempting to undermine the authority of the state and extend its own hegemony. This is particularly the case with the tribes, who had the opportunity to rise against the northern establishment in the 1994 conflict, but preferred to remain neutral and call for peace, unity and a "more tolerant and fairer state"88 from the safety of their tribal conferences. Meanwhile, with the vested interests of the old southern elite vanquished, the failure of a new regionally based opposition and leadership to develop suggests an implicit acceptance of the status quo on the part of the communities of the former PDRY89. Indeed, rather than indicating its weakness, the repression of political dissent in the south may indicate that the government now feels strong enough to make its power felt in southern society given the unlikelihood of a serious backlash by opposition groups90.

By pursuing a hegemonic strategy, based on a combination of consent and coercion, President Salih has not only survived in power for twenty years, but been able to build substantially on the state's capacity to govern. In so doing he has largely filled Gramsci's two criteria for the building and maintenance of hegemony. Firstly he has built a broad social and ideological coalition in support for the state, and secondly he has done so without compromising the economic and political interests of his own 'class' - in the Yemeni case the military/commercial complex and patrimonial network surrounding the state. In Gramscian terminology, he successfully fought a long and on-going 'war of position', one which put the northern elite in position for victory in the final 'war of manoeuvre' of 1994 against a southern elite whose hegemony over state and society had already been progressively undermined in the preceding years. Meanwhile, the flexible nature of the State's coalition and ideology has enabled it to adapt quickly to the changing ideological and political climate, seizing on the opportunity to make Yemeni nationalism a political reality, and meeting demands for a democratic opening. In so doing it has successfully enacted what Gramsci described as a 'passive revolution', heading off possible opposition through reform from above, enabling the ruling elite to renew its hegemony.

Such a strategy is likely to remain the optimal course for the governing of Yemen, as it has been through its history, although the electoral success and increased institutional capacity of Salih's regime have given it a degree of autonomy from the direct intervention of social forces that was absent in the 1970s. As Brian Whitaker says "the fractious make-up of Yemen means that even now ... [the GPC] ... cannot afford to be perceived as domineering."91 Consent and legitimacy will therefore be a continuing priority for the government, whether expressed through modern means such as democratic elections, or more traditional linkages of tribal 'asabiyya, and the patrimonial system. President Salih has certainly become expert in the survival strategy of a weak state faced by a strong society. What remains to be achieved however is the political mechanism for passing on of political leadership over his coalition without sparking the factional conflict that could prove its undoing.

Copyright © Michael Welton 1997


1. Simon R: Gramsci's Political Thought, an introduction. (Lawrence and Wishart, London 1991) p.22

2. For example, Peterson JE: Yemen, the search for a modern state, (Croom Helm, London, 1982) p.170, or Michael Adams: One Yemen or Two?, in: Ed. Ian Richard Netton, Arabia and the Gulf, form traditional society to modern states, (Croom Helm, London, 1990) p.121

3. Showstack Sassoon, Anne: Gramsci's Politics, (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2nd Ed. 1987) p.63

4. Simon R: op.cit. p.25

5. For example, the change of South Yemens name from 'People's Republic of South Yemen', to the 'People's Democratic Republic of Yemen' in what Ursula Braun described as "an open claim to the whole of Yemen under the banner of socialism." From 'Prospects for Yemeni Unity', in: Ed. Pridham B.R: (Contemporary Yemen, politics and historical background, Croom Helm, 1984) p.263

6 Gramsci, A: Selections from the Prison Notebooks: (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1971) p.238

7 Gramsci, A: Op. Cit. P.181-2

8 For example, organisations such as business associations, trade unions, political interest groups and parties, schools and universities, church and community organisations, the media and identities such as economic class and national, rather than regional affiliations.

9 Hague, Harrop and Breslin: Comparative Government and Politics, an introduction. (Macmillan, 1992) p.145

10 Peterson J: Yemen: The Search for a Modern State, (Croom Helm, London) p.177. "The problem of consolidating or extending the states authority is compounded by the fragmentation of Yemeni politicians into competing factions or cliques."

11 Hague, Harrop, and Breslin: Op.cit. p.147.

12 Ghassan Salame defines Khaldun's concept of 'asabiyya as a group whose strength lies in their blood ties, and the extent to which they are a closely-knit group with common interests. In 'Strong' and 'Weak' States: A Qualified Return to the Muqaddimah. Chp. 2 in Luciani G, The Arab State, (Routledge, 1990) P.31

13 Salame, G: Op. Cit.

14 Khaldun, Ibn: "A dynasty rarely establishes itself firmly in lands with many different tribes and groups. This is because of differences in opinions and desires. Behind each opinion and desire there is group feeling defending it" From: The Muqaddimah, (translated from Arabic by Franz Rosenthal), (Princeton Uni. Press, Princeton) 1967, P.130

15 Hudson, Michael C: Arab Politics, The Search for Legitimacy, (Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1977) p.12

16 Harik, I: The Ethnic Revolution and Political Integration in the Middle East. International Journal of Middle East Studies 3:3 (July 1972) P.303-23, P.312. Quoted in Hudson, Michael C: Arab Politics, The Search for Legitimacy, (Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1977) p.11

17 Dresch, Paul: Tribal relations and political history in upper Yemen. In, Pridham B.R. Contemporary Yemen: Politics and Historical Background. (Croom Helm, London 1984) p.154

18 Salame Ghassan: op.cit. p.31

19 Bidwell Robin: The Two Yemens. (Longman Westview Press 1983) p.9

20 Bidwell Robin: Ibid. p.22-23. Also, see John Peterson who suggests that legitimacy and effectiveness of the Imamate was restricted by 1) The need for tribal co-operation 2) The fact that over half Yemen's population was Sunni. Therefore, he argues that for the Imamate to become a 'national' institution', it had to a) Ensure the stability of the Zaydi coalition of tribes and Sheikhs b) Maintain order justly and impartially throughout the community. In: Nation Building and Political Development in the two Yemens, in: Pridham BR, Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background, (Croom Helm, London, 1984). p.86

21 The borders of the old Himyarite state which existed from around 110BC to 525 AD set the precedent for the unifying aspirations of rulers who followed, including the Imams of this century who "still dwelt with pride upon their asserted Himyaritic descent." according to Bidwell Robin. Op.cit. p.4

22 Bidwell Robin: Op cit. p.25

23 Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, (Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996) p.44

24 Hudson, 'Bipolarity'; Interview with 'Umar, in al-Majalla, 9th March 1993; al-Hayat, 11th January 1993; al-Quds, London, 5th January. Quote found in Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, (Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996) p.45

25 Tareq Y Ismael and Jacqueline S Ismael suggest several reasons for the heterogeneity of South Yemeni society. 1. The weakness of Ottoman Turkish rule in the South, preventing significant social change taking place as a result of the homogenising effect of Ottoman administration (particularly the Ottoman land reforms of the mid-19th century), which had affected much of the rest of the Middle East. 2. The resulting continued existence in many areas of the south of near autonomous, localised semi-feudal or slave/retainer-based social structures. 3. The complexity of South Yemen's tribal composition, with an estimated 1300 to 1400 tribal units in Hadhramawt, and a tendency to form a greater number of smaller confederacies than those such as the Hashid and Bakil in the north. (Statistical source: Foreign Area Studies, 1971. Area handbook for the peripheral states of the Arabian Peninsula. Washington, DC, US Govt. Printing Office.) In, Ismael and Ismael: PDR Yemen, politics, economics and society. (Frances Pinter Ltd London, 1986) p.5-6.

26 Bidwell Op.cit. p.106

27 Ismael and Ismael: op.cit p.9. Also see Peterson J, who wrote, "The consequence of the largely indirect British presence in the Protectorate was to fossilise the existing patchwork of fragmented political authority." : Nation Building and Political Development in the two Yemens, in: Pridham BR, Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background (Croom Helm, London, 1984) p.89

28 Ismael and Ismael: Op.cit. p.9 refer to the shared economic, political and social ties which town and tribe shared in the South, and the involvement of both in the selection of a Sultan, to whom they owed allegiance as mediator, co-ordinator between tribal leaders, and as local head of state. Therefore, a consensual tradition did exist in the south in that "the power of the Sultan was thus contingent upon the support given him by the tribes and townspeople." However, unlike the North, this was not reproduced on a 'national' scale. No Imamate style institution existed which could inspire the loyalty of the Southern sultans and tribes through force, necessity, or religious/nationalist movement.

29 Ismael and Ismael: Op.cit. p.25

30 Adams Michael, One Yemen or Two?, in: Ed. Ian Richard Netton, Arabia and the Gulf, form traditional society to modern states, (Croom Helm, London, 1990) p.126

31 Mansfield Peter: The Arabs, (Penguin, 1988) p.364

32 Ismael and Ismael: Op.cit p.27

33 Kostiner J: South Yemen's Revolutionary Strategy 1970-85. (Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv, Westview Press 1990) p.14. Peterson, J: Nation building and Political Development in the two Yemens. in: Pridham BR, Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background (Croom Helm, London, 1984) p.94

34 Halliday, F: Revolution and Foreign Policy. (Vintage Books, 1990) p.36

35 Gramsci: Op.cit. p.181-2

36 Anne Showstack Sassoon: Gramsci's Politics, (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2nd Ed., 1987) p.82

37 Peterson J: Nation building and Political Development in the two Yemens. in: Pridham BR, Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background (Croom Helm, London, 1984) p.97

38 Whitaker, B: Unity, Democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. (Draft Ph.D. thesis) p.15

39 Whitaker, B: Ibid. p.18-19

40 Bidwell Robin: op.cit. p.195/6

41 Hudson, Michael C: Arab Politics, The Search for Legitimacy, (Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1977) p.243

42 Dresch, Paul: Tribal relations and political history in upper Yemen. In Pridham, BR: Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background (Croom Helm, London, 1984) p.167. He writes that "an axis of tribal leaders and the forms of tribalism had provided the basis for an attempt to solve national problems which was suppressed by the supposedly national government", suggesting that within the traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution between tribes lay the opportunity and will for the national reconciliation that later occurred. Despite the royalist/republican division of loyalties, Dresch says that inter tribal truces and means of containment survived the excesses foreign intervention, supplies of arms and extremes of rhetoric on each side, limiting most of the fighting to non-tribal areas, and leaving both royalist and republican tribes undefeated in their own territories. Given the smaller and weaker nature of the tribal system in South Yemen, such natural limitations to factional conflict did not exist, with the victory of one side leading to the complete purge or exile of its defeated opponents who were unable to maintain any power base within the country, illustrating the zero-sum nature of the southern system and its consequently greater instability.

43 Mansfield, Peter: op.cit. p.364

44 Hudson M: Arab Politics - the search for legitimacy. 1977, Yale University Press, New Haven and London p.346. See also Peterson J: Yemen, the search for a modern state, (Croom Helm, London, 1982) p.174. He suggests that "the YAR found itself managing the tribes rather than governing them, in a manner not far removed from the policies of Imams Yahya and Ahmad."

45 Bidwell R: Op.cit. p.229. The constitution contained elements aimed at passifying all sides, including 1. Adherence to Shari'a law sought by religious leaders 2. A conservative, tribal dominated parliament 3. A Consultative Council requiring a 2/3rds majority to approve legislation, with 1/5 of its members appointed to allow modernising intelligentsia a substantial voice.

46 According to Bidwell: Op.cit. p.271-72 Zaydi's close to Hamdi included Chief of Staff, Colonel Ahmad Hussein Ghashmi from the Hashid, and two sons of Bakil chief Abu Luhum who were also members of the military command council. Prime Minister al-Ayni also tribal links, but also had Ba'thist leanings and support among Iryani's followers. Shaf'is appointed included leftist Commander of the Parachute Brigade Major Abdullah Abd al-Alim

47 Peterson J: Yemen, the search for a modern state, (Croom Helm, London, 1982) p.181 See also Hudson M: Arab Politics - the search for legitimacy. (1977, Yale University Press, New Haven and London) p.348. He writes, "In theory, therefore, it appeared that the objective of the coup had been to strengthen the authority of the national government without fundamentally departing from the accomodationist strategy of the former regime."

48 Bidwell: Op.cit p.274

49 In seeking to create a democratic assembly Hamdi may well have seeking a replacement for the former tribal dominated Consultative Council, which could enable his position through the expression of popular support for his regime

50 Of whom he was a member.

51 Bidwell: Op.cit. p.281/2. See also Mansfield Peter: Op.cit. p.366

52 Aleriani, Abdulkarim: Hist. of Yemen, GPC homepage,

53 Kostiner, Joseph: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity, (Chatham House Papers, Pinter, 1996) p.18. Also - Detalle, Renaud: Interview, 18/8/97

54 Dunbar, Charles: The Unification of Yemen: Process, Politics and Prospects (Middle East Journal, 46, 1992. No.3, p.456-76) p.468

55 Whitaker, B: Unity, Democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. Draft PhD thesis, P.32

56 Dr Saqqaf: Editor of 'The Yemen Times' newspaper. Interview 20/8/97

57 Whitaker, B: Unity, Democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. Draft PhD thesis, P.33

58 Dunbar, Charles: Op.cit. p.467

59 Whitaker, Brian: National unity and democracy in Yemen: a marriage of inconvenience. (SOAS conference paper, 25th November 1995)

60 Kostiner, J: Yemen, the tortuous Quest for Unity, (Pinter, 1996) p.18. He suggests that "Both Yemen's leaders...[hoped] to exploit unity to outmanoeuvre the other and take advantage of the assets of unity so as to weaken the other."

61 Burrowes R: Historical dictionary of Yemen. (Scarecrow Press Inc., Maryland, USA, 1995) p.2. See also Halliday, F: Yemen's uneasy elections, The World Today, (Vol. 53 No3 March 97) p.74

62 Braun, Ursula: Prospects for Yemeni Unity, In: Pridham, B R: Contemporary Yemen, political and historical background, (Croom Helm, London and Sidney, 1984) p.263

63 Whitaker, Brian: Unity, democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. (Draft PhD thesis) p.25

64 Whitaker, Brian: Unity, democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. Draft PhD thesis) p.23

65 al-Bayd, Ali Salim: PDRY Radio, Aden 2030 GMT 10 November 1989 (BBC Monitoring Service). First quoted in - Whitaker, Brian: Unity, democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. (Draft PhD thesis) p.25

66 Dunbar, C: Op.cit. p.456

67 Southern grievances included northern domination of the state apparatus and the military, the pace of administrative reform, economic stagnation in the south, and political violence directed southern politicians.

68 Interview with Salim Salih (Deputy leader of YSP), al-Wasat, 7th March 1994. Originally quoted in: Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, (Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996) p.74

69 For example the Yafi'i and 'Awlaqi tribes, seven southern brigades from Abyan and Shabwa exiled in 1986, and three members of the YSP Central Committee who condemned the declaration of secession of Sana'a radio. See Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, (Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996) p.89, and Whitaker, Brian: Unity, democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. (Draft PhD thesis) p.198 and 201. See also Mackintosh-Smith, Tim: Yemen - Travels in Dictionary Land, (John Murray, London. 1997). He writes, "such public support as al-Bayd had enjoyed plummeted with the declaration to secede...Brigade after brigade deserted." P.251

70 Whitaker, Brian: National Unity and Democracy in Yemen: a marriage of inconvenience, (SOAS conference paper, 25th November 1995). He suggests that secession was declared mainly for external reasons, to be able to openly secure arms from sympathetic states such as Saudi Arabia.

71 That the southern leadership was rushed into a non-federal system by a combination of the force of events and pressure from the north is a vivid illustration of its lack of control over the nationalist project and its own destiny by the end of 1980s, unless the southern leadership grossly over-estimated its capacity to compete for power with the GPC in the unified system.

72 Hudson, Michael C: Bipolarity, Rational Calculation and War in Yemen. Chapter 1. In: al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994 (Saqi Books. 1995) p.24-25

73 Dunbar, C: Op.cit p.460

74 Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, (Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996) p.23

75 Detalle, Renaud: The Yemeni elections up close, (Middle East Report, Nov-Dec 1993, Vol 23(6), No185) p.8

76 Abdullah, Sheikh Tariq: Founder of 'The Local Government Party' and Adeni Lawyer'. Interview 26/8/97.

77 Abdullah, Sheikh Tariq: Founder of 'The Local Government Party' and Adeni Lawyer'. Interview 26/8/97. See also Whitaker, Brian: 'Surprise Prime Minister' (Middle East International, 30th May 1997)

78 Whitaker, Brian: 'Surprise Prime Minister', (Middle East International, 30th May 1997)

79 Dr Saqqaf: Editor of 'The Yemen Times' newspaper. Interview 20/8/97

80 Halliday, Fred: Yemen's Uneasy Elections, (The World Today, Vol 53, No 3, March 1997, p.73-76) p.73

81 Islah is divided between conservative tribal elements and its religious wing, leaving great potential for conflicts over the alternative pre-eminence of tribal law and customs or Islamic rules and obligations.

82 Dr Saqqaf: Editor of 'The Yemen Times' newspaper. Interview 20/8/97

83 Cameroon, Silvin: French anthropologist studying the social divisions of a town in Hadhramawt. Interview 19/8/97

84 Whitaker, Brian: Salih's Election Knockout.(Middle East International. No 550 16th May 1997)

85 The Economist Intelligence Unit: Yemen, (3rd Quarter, 1996) p.23. See also: Dresch, Paul: The Tribal Factor in the Yemeni Crisis. In: al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994, (Saqi Books, 1995) p.55

86 Dr Saqqaf claims to have been imprisoned six times since the Civil War. Ahmad al-Sofi, former head of the National Institute for Democratic Development (NIDD) attests to being arrested with fifteen Yemeni's and three Americans whilst attempting to set up a new Human Rights group in Aden. Interview: 19/8/97

87 Watkins, Eric: Yemen, a Thin Veil of Democracy. (The Middle East, April 97, No: 266) p.7. See also: The Economist Intelligence Unit: Yemen, (3rd Quarter, 1996), p.23 which claims that "The government is using its monopoly of the state controlled media, state funds, and the security forces, and support of their campaign."

88 Dresch, Paul: The Tribal Factor in the Yemeni Crisis. In: al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994, (Saqi Books. 1995) p.54

89 Such neutrality is resonant of Gramsci's concept of passive revolution, in which the non-involvement of social groups in bringing about political change allows the leading class to reform its social and economic basis from above through state action, with the effect of disorganising and dampening down opposition.

90 The Economist Intelligence Unit: Yemen, (3rd Quarter, 1996) "Opposition parties ... suffer from a lack of any apparent sense of unity of a platform of coherently focused politics." P.23

91 Whitaker, Brian: 'Salih's election knockout', (Middle East International, 16th May 1997)


Several people deserve thanks for their help in the research and writing of this dissertation. Anwar, Salah, and Dr Saqqaf at the Yemen Times, Christine Welch and the staff of the Sultan Palace Hotel in Sana'a, Wim, Eric Watkins, Renaud Detalle, and my tutor Ziba Moshaver. Most of all I must express my appreciation of Brian Whitaker for all his helpful advice and information, and the valuable preview of his draft PhD dissertation. As ever I have been grateful for the support of my dad, John, and particularly my girlfriend Emma.


Books and journal articles

  • Adams, Michael: One Yemen or Two in: Ed. Ian Richard Netton, Arabia and the Gulf, form traditional society to modern states, Croom Helm, London, 1990

  • al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994, Saqi Books. 1995

  • Braun, Ursula: 'Prospects for Yemeni Unity', in: Ed. Pridham B.R: Contemporary Yemen, politics and historical background, Croom Helm, London, 1984

  • Bidwell, Robin: The Two Yemens. Longman Westview Press 1983

  • Burrowes R: Historical dictionary of Yemen. Scarecrow Press Inc., Maryland, USA, 1995

  • Carapico, Sheila: From Ballotbox to Battlefield, The War of the Two Alis. Middle East Report, Sep-Oct 1994, Vo.24, No.5, 190, p.24-27

  • Detalle, Renaud: Zaydistan Votes for Imam Ali. In the Yemen Times April 28th-May 4th 1997. Vol.VII Issue No.17 p.10

  • Detalle, Renaud: The Yemeni elections up close, Middle East Report, Nov-Dec 1993, Vol. 23(6), No.185. p.8

  • Detalle, Renaud: Yemeni Politics, Israeli Orientalism, and a Britons' Embarrassment. Draft copy of article for Yemen Times, December 1996

  • Dresch, Paul: The Tribal Factor in the Yemeni Crisis. In: al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994, Saqi Books. 1995

  • Dresch, Paul: Tribal relations and political history in upper Yemen. In, Pridham B.R. Contemporary Yemen: Politics and Historical Background. Croom Helm, London,1984

  • Dresch, Paul and Haykel, B: Islamists and tribesfolk in Yemen. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 27, No.4. November 1995 p.405-431

  • Dunbar, Charles: The Unification of Yemen: Process, Politics and Prospects, Middle East Journal, 46, 1992. No.3, p.456-476

  • Economist Intelligence Unit: Yemen, 3rd Quarter, 1996

  • Gramsci A: Selections from the Prison Notebooks: Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1971

  • Gulf States Newsletter: Electing Salih, Vol.22, No.560, 5th May, 1997, p.4

  • Hague, Harrop and Breslin: Comparative Government and Politics, an introduction. Macmillan, 1992

  • Halliday, Fred: Revolution and Foreign Policy. Vintage Books, 1990 P.36

  • Halliday, Fred: Yemen's Uneasy Elections, The World Today, Vol. 53, No. 3, March 1997 p.73-76

  • Harik, I: The Ethnic Revolution and Political Integration in the Middle East. International Journal of Middle East Studies 3:3 (July 1972) p.303-23

  • Haykel, Bernard: Al-Shawkani and the Jurisprudential Unity of Yemen. Revue de Monde Musulman et de la Mediteranee, No. 67, Jan-March 1994,p.67-77

  • Hudson, Michael C: Arab Politics- the search for legitimacy, Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1977

  • Hudson, Michael C: Bipolarity, Rational Calculation and War in Yemen. In: al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. Ed.: The Yemeni War of 1994, Saqi Books. 1995

  • Ismael, Tareq Y and Ismael, Jacqueline S: PDRY, politics, economics and society. Frances Pinter Ltd (London), 1986

  • Khaldun, Ibn: The Muqaddimah, (translated from Arabic by Franz Rosenthal), Princeton Uni. Press, Princeton, 1967

  • Kostiner J: South Yemen's Revolutionary Strategy 1970-85. Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv, Westview Press, 1990

  • Kostiner J: Yemen, the tortuous quest for unity 1990-94, Chatham House Papers, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996

  • Luciani, Giacomo: The Arab State, Routledge, 1990

  • Mackintosh-Smith, Tim: Yemen- Travels in Dictionary Land, John Murray, London. 1997

  • Mansfield Peter: The Arabs, Penguin, 1988

  • Nagi, Sultan: The Genisis of the call for Yemeni Unity. In: Pridham, B: Contemporary Yemen- Political and Historical Background. Croom Helm, London. 1984

  • Peterson J E: Yemen, the search for a modern state, Croom Helm, London 1982

  • Peterson, John: Nation Building and Political Development in the two Yemens. In: Pridham BR, Contemporary Yemen: Political and historical background, Croom Helm, London, 1984

  • Salame, Ghassan: 'Strong' and 'Weak' States: A Qualified Return to the Muqaddimah. Chp. 2 in Luciani G, The Arab State, Routledge, 1990

  • Showstack Sassoon, Anne: Gramsci's Politics, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2nd Ed. 1987

  • Simon R: Gramsci's Political Thought, an introduction. Lawrence and Wisehart, London 1991

  • Van Hear, Nicholas: The socio-economic impact of the involuntary mass return to Yemen in 1990. Journal of Refugee Studies. No.7. 1994, p.18-38

  • Watkins, Eric: Yemen, a Thin Veil of Democracy. The Middle East, April 97, No: 266, p.6-8

  • Whitaker, B: Unity, Democracy and the struggle for power in Yemen 1990-94. Draft PhD. thesis

  • Whitaker, Brian: 'Surprise Prime Minister', Middle East International, 30th May 1997

  • Whitaker, Brian: National unity and democracy in Yemen: a marriage of inconvenience. SOAS conference paper, 25th November 1995

  • Whitaker, Brian: Salih's Election Knockout. Middle East International. No 550, 16th May 1997

  • Young, Penny: Yemen: A Test For Deomcracy. The Middle East, March 1997, No:265, p.13-14


  • Abdullah, Sheikh Tariq: Founder of 'The Local Government Party' and Adeni Lawyer'. Interview 26/8/97

  • al-Sofi, Ahmad: Former head of the National Institute for Democratic Development (NIDD) Interview: 19/8/97

  • Cameroon, Silvin: French anthropologist researching PhD on the social divisions of a town in Hadhramawt. Interview 19/8/97

  • Detalle, Renaud: French politics student researching PhD on Yemeni politics. Interview, 18/8/97

  • Dr Saqqaf: Editor of 'The Yemen Times' newspaper. Interview 20/8/97

  • Dr Hadash: Salah ad-din Hadash: Managing Editor of 'The Yemen Times' newspaper. Interview 16/8/97

  • Whitaker, Brian: Managing Editor of the Guardian and PhD student of Yemeni Politics. Interview 9/8/97


Newspapers and Periodicals

  • Al-Quds al-Arabi

  • Economist Intelligence Unit Country Surveys

  • The Guardian

  • Gulf States Newsletter

  • International Journal of Middle East Studies

  • Journal of Refugee Studies

  • Middle East Economic Digest

  • Middle East International

  • Middle East Journal

  • Middle East Magazine

  • Middle East Report

  • Middle East Studies

  • Revue de Monde MusulmanWorld Today

  • Yemen Times

    Last modified on 08/07/2015 15:08:22