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Thread: The Birth of Modern Yemen

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    Default The Birth of Modern Yemen

    The birth of modern Yemen

    Birth Modern Yemen
    An e-book by Brian Whitaker exploring Yemen's political development since unification of north and south in 1990
    IT IS MORE than just coincidence that at the time when Communism was collapsing, the two Germanies were re-uniting and new democracies were being born in Eastern Europe, two states at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula embarked on a sweeping transformation of their own, simultaneously unifying and democratising. North and south yemen had long been a distant outpost of the Cold War, and reverberations from the upheaval in Europe had an impact there, too.

    The united Republic of yemen established in May 1990 was a marriage between what, at first glance, seemed unlikely partners. The north, though theoretically in the “capitalist” camp, was one of the world’s poorest countries; a highly traditional Arab-Islamic society, with a strong element of tribalism. The south, on the other hand, partly secularised and partly de-tribalised, had taken the Marxist route. Even poorer than the north, it was one of the Soviet Union’s largest debtors. In some respects the move towards multi-party democracy in yemen was even more surprising, given the history and inclinations of the two newly-unified states.

    Inevitably, such radical changes to Yemen’s constitutional and political structure proved far from straightforward, occurring as they did against a background of continuing rivalry between the former regimes of north and south, and in a country where state institutions were often ill-equipped to resist the competing demands of powerful social and political forces. Despite persistent talk of unification long before 1990, these difficulties had led more than a few seasoned observers of Yemeni affairs to believe that it would never happen. When it did, many predicted that unification would fail – and, indeed, their pessimism was not entirely misplaced. A two-month armed conflict four years after unification almost tore the country apart again.

    Democratisation, meanwhile, was greeted by Yemenis with much initial enthusiasm. In the space of a few months, press freedom and the general openness of political debate reached unprecedented levels. The 1993 parliamentary elections, contested by more than 20 parties, were the first to be held under universal suffrage in the Arabian peninsula. Gradually, however, optimism faded as the limitations of instant democracy became apparent. Since 1993, a succession of parliamentary, presidential and local government elections has not delivered the peaceful rotation of power that is the hallmark of established democracies and President Ali Abdullah Salih’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress, has further consolidated its hegemony over the political scene.
    more about this book here...
    المصدر: YIAL FORUMS

    The Birth of Modern Yemen birth modern yemen



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