Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yemen's Divisions

Jamestown Foundation reports on north-south tensions in Yemen:
"Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the socialist south, known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, was faced with a failed economy and little external support. It had also never recovered from a brutal internecine war of its own during the 1980s. So it turned toward the north, and unification with the Yemen Arab Republic.

"Speeches of brotherhood were given; promises were made. But the speeches never translated into reality, as Saleh squeezed out southern politicians and attempted to make the south part of his extended patronage network. Eventually, in 1994, civil war broke out. Saleh used his superior army and, more importantly, veterans of the Afghan jihad to crush the godless south. Aden, which had been an open and secular city—where mini-skirts were far more popular than the hijab—fell under the harsh rule of victorious jihadis. It would be an exaggeration to say that Shari’a had been implemented, but the typical southern way of life had been disrupted [1].

"Beside the difficulties of the new way of life, the south chafed in other ways. Its economy never improved and many blamed the north for lack of interest in helping out its rival. The influence of the jihadis was felt. Though it seems insignificant, the destruction of the city brewery marked a dramatic change of daily rhythm, and the buildings became cold and gray concrete hulks. More strikingly, terrorism began to hit the south, with both the al-Qaeda variety and homegrown groups such as the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army influenced by returning jihadis."



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