Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Yemen : Dancing on the Head of Snakes
Yemen or Arabia Felix. beautiful mystifying and ultimately unknown. Even Western visitor who have visited this enchanted land must admit they have not seen or solved half the mysteries of this country. Far from being a unified country Yemenis often identify more with their tribe, region or religion than they do with their nationality.
At the Southern Tip of the Arabia Peninsula governing a strategic inlet into the Red Sea and important land area near the Hijaz area where Mecca is foreign invaders have often tried to gain control over this country. One things has always stood in their way the Northern Tribes or the Zaydis.
The Ottoman Turks were the first to try to take control. They were invited by the residents of Tihama who often were on good terms with the Turks. Yet it was the Northern Tribesmen who offered the Turks fierce resistance. After a series of battle with the Northern Tribes there was a truce of sorts. The Turks never had complete control over the tribal areas. The Turks eventually over stayed their welcome with over taxing and corruption and felt it was best to leave. They did. Occupying Yemen in too costly and not worth it.
In the Port city of Aden the British set up a colony. It was modern and very business oriented. Many of the entrepeneurial businessmen their had a Western mind set. Many Indians, Jews and others were successful there. But after a time things would get difficult for the British as well. They ended up leaving as Arab Nationalism gained favor.
The Turks would try a second time to occupy Yemen. They attempted governorship from Yemen. Eventually it was the same things that would drive them out. The British tried to Unify Yemen and get it to accept democracy and a unified governemnt. It ended up in conflict.With the Raoyalist going against the Rebels.
Imam Yahya ended up controlling the Northern yemen. Southern Yemen having a different government was more marxist. Imam Yahya governed with cooperation and help off the Northern Tribes. He ran everything until he was assassinated. In 1948. After that his son took control Imam Ahmad ran verything and micro managed everything. Imama Ahmad ruled until his death of natural causes. He was nicknamed the devil because he survived many assassination attempts. The Zadi sheik are Zayyids which means they are descended from the prophet. That gave them the right to rule.
Imam Badr was not so fortunate. Civil war ousted him or a REBELLION. He fled first to Saudi Arabia and then to England where he lived out his days. The rebellion happened because people wanted change. Egypt baccked one side and Saudi Arabia backed another side. Fro that point on there was a president, prime minster and ministers.
Victoria Clark was born in Aden when it was still a British Colony. She has since gone back as a journalist. I her book she covers the history of the country, her interactions with different individuals and the subtle nuances of Yemen. Such subjects that are covered are the corruption of the government and why the country is failing. Victoria Clark also dsicusses the rise of Jihadism and what it ultimately means for the Country. Yemen has been reunified since 1990 but thing have never been smooth. THere have been rebellions and civil wars. In 1994 Northern Yemen took over southern Yemen. Since them the Al Huthi clan has rebelled in six different wars from Saadah and there was a secceionist movement in the the South..
It is hard to ascertain what Yemen's future holds. To govern such a place is like dancing on the heads of snakes....in other words it is tricky.
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