|USIP's Rule of Law Director Colette Rausch consulted with stakeholders in Yemen to identify concrete steps aimed at improving the nation's justice and security.|
December 12, 2011 - Yemen’s uprising, which began in January 2011 with small, peaceful demonstrations, met with government resistance that increasingly turned violent. Opposition forces led by a prominent army general, declaring support for the protestors in March, defected from the government and joined the protestors. Then, a power struggle between the President's loyalists and opposition members turned violent. The result is hundreds dead and thousands injured.
Some protestors welcomed the opposition's support and protection but more of them grew increasingly concerned that the factional fighting between the government and opposition compromised their peaceful revolutionary aspirations. In addition to these struggles that primarily affected its capital and two main cities, Yemen is dealing with a separatist movement in the south, comprised of groups who are aggrieved by their belief that the government has marginalized those in the south. Yemen is also dealing with a group of minority Shi'a rebels in the North. With all the challenges facing Yemen, observers grew concerned that the country would spiral into a civil war. Compounding these issues is the presence of al-Qaeda in parts of the south, where the threat of instability provides fertile ground for their activities that threaten other countries.
On November 23, 2011, President Saleh signed an agreement to transfer power to his vice president, followed by the creation of a unity government, in a deal that is hoped will end months of deadly conflict between pro-government and opposition members. Protestors, particularly the youth, want to ensure that they will be actively involved in the transition, and that the transition will not be a continuation of the political process as usual. Further, women want to ensure that they will continue to take an active role as they have in the protests, and that the progress they have made will not be rolled back.
While President Saleh's agreement to cede power is a welcome development, as with many transitions following an agreement, it alone is unlikely to end the violence. Continued negotiations will be necessary for a successful transition. USIP is committed to working with stakeholders in Yemen from across the social, economic, and political spectrum to identify steps to improve justice and security in the short term and to develop a long-term vision of inclusive, transparent, and fair civil justice that can be the foundation for peace in Yemen. | Read More: USIP tracks the situation in Yemen.
Publications & Tools
The following are highlights to USIP's publications and tools on Yemen.
- From the Souk to a Field Hospital: Building Peace in Yemen
USIP In the Field
- USIP Building Bridges in Yemen
Q+A with Colette Rausch and Manal Omar
- Eye on the Middle East and North Africa: Experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace are closely following developments throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In a series of reports and interviews, they cover a wide range of issues.
- Sen. John McCain: U.S. Must Sustain Momentum of Arab Spring
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