Yemen's Southern Front

Gallup recently conducted a poll in Yemen examining issues related to governance which revealed a concerning difference between the opinions of respondents in the former North and former South which were unified in 1990. On a number of items, ordinary citizens in the North were shown to have much higher trust in national institutions. For example, major differences were seen in levels of trust in the national government and local police with 59% of northerners indicating that they trusted the national government while 50% said they trusted the police. On the other hand, only 29% of southerners trusted these two institutions.

Moreover, there were even greater differences between perceptions about the government’s attempts to deal with two of the most significant problems facing Yemen: poverty alleviation and job creation. On the whole, 45% of northerners were satisfied with government efforts to help the poor and 35% with government efforts to promote job creation. Meanwhile, only 11% of southerners were satisfied with government efforts on both counts.

North and South Yemen have important, with the North remaining a conservative and highly tribalized society while the South has been influenced by its socialist legacy. Unification between the two countries in 1990 occurred largely in name alone, with each side maintaining separate militaries and separate government institutions. In 1994, the former South attempted to break away from the North, but the North quickly overran its forces leading to what was in effect a takeover of the South.

Recently, massive protests have been taking place in the South, making the threat of secession a possibility once again. Moreover, the conflict in Sa’ada continues with the government now claiming that the Huthi rebels seek to overthrow the regime. Given these tensions there is a very real chance of the complete disintegration of the Yemeni state in the near future. While the state is extremely weak, its complete collapse would lead Yemen to become another failed state and likely a haven for terrorist groups like the ones already present in the eastern part of the country.

Preventing Yemen’s collapse will take a concerted effort on the part of the international community as well as the regime in Sana’a. The South has been largely marginalized politically, which helps to explain its lower confidence in government institutions. As such, the regime needs to reach out to Southerners with tangible steps to help contain growing resentment. It also much make a more concerted effort to promote economic development and assure that these efforts are perceived as benefiting all Yemenis rather than just Northerners. Otherwise, the prospect of state collapse will continue to grow.Gallup recently conducted a poll in Yemen examining issues related to governance which revealed a concerning difference between the opinions of respondents in the former North and former South which were unified in 1990. On a number of items, ordinary citizens in the North were shown to have much higher trust in national institutions. For example, major differences were seen in levels of trust in the national government and local police with 59% of northerners indicating that they trusted the national government while 50% said they trusted the police. On the other hand, only 29% of southerners trusted these two institutions.

Moreover, there were even greater differences between perceptions about the government’s attempts to deal with two of the most significant problems facing Yemen: poverty alleviation and job creation. On the whole, 45% of northerners were satisfied with government efforts to help the poor and 35% with government efforts to promote job creation. Meanwhile, only 11% of southerners were satisfied with government efforts on both counts.

North and South Yemen have important, with the North remaining a conservative and highly tribalized society while the South has been influenced by its socialist legacy. Unification between the two countries in 1990 occurred largely in name alone, with each side maintaining separate militaries and separate government institutions. In 1994, the former South attempted to break away from the North, but the North quickly overran its forces leading to what was in effect a takeover of the South.

Recently, massive protests have been taking place in the South, making the threat of secession a possibility once again. Moreover, the conflict in Sa’ada continues with the government now claiming that the Houthi rebels seek to overthrow the regime. Given these tensions there is a very real chance of the complete disintegration of the Yemeni state in the near future. While the state is extremely weak, its complete collapse would lead Yemen to become another failed state and likely a haven for terrorist groups like the ones already present in the eastern part of the country.

Preventing Yemen’s collapse will take a concerted effort on the part of the international community as well as the regime in Sana’a. The South has been largely marginalized politically, which helps to explain its lower confidence in government institutions. As such, the regime needs to reach out to Southerners with tangible steps to help contain growing resentment. It also much make a more concerted effort to promote economic development and assure that these efforts are perceived as benefiting all Yemenis rather than just Northerners. Otherwise, the prospect of state collapse will continue to grow.

Link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/122954/Yemenis-Attitudes-Toward-Gov-Split-North-South.aspx

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