A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Will Yemen's Federation Plan Work?

The conventional wisdom on the "Arab Spring" has long been that Tunisia is the one real success story; Yemen is too complicated, the former President is still influential, and the  country still faces a great many challenges.

But yesterday's announcement that the country will be transformed into a federation of six autonomous regions is a good sign. The former South Yemen has been restless since its failed attempt at secession in 1994; the Houthi uprising in the north is another reminder of the country's centrifugal tendencies.

The southerners are not entirely happy; four of the six regions are in the former North Yemen and only two in the former South Yemen, but Aden will be given a special role in the southern regions. It won't solve all of Yemen's problems, perhaps even the South's complaints, but like the Tunisian constitution it is a reminder that when diverse political parties and social groups consult together, it is possible to move forward.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

If anyone had asked me in 2010 which Arab country was going to implode in a downward spiral of violence and anarchy, I would have said Yemen. Based on cold economic facts it was already a basket case. But, in fact, it has done considerably better than Egypt, Syria and Libya. How to explain it? The Yemenis have shown themselves to have more political sophistication than some other Arab states with better sets of resources, and it is a success story for US-GCC crisis management.