Thursday, March 22, 2012

Building Bonds

Elham Manea, after explaining how Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's attempts to control tribes by co-opting tribal leaders simply caused those leaders to lose influence locally, suggests Yemen could adopt a model Oman applied in Dhofar:
"The tribal factor was also especially important in Oman’s efforts to create an administrative network in the region and to ensure the allegiance of both tribal leaders and local people. Like the rest of the country at the time, Dhofar lacked a basic civil service. Starting in 1974, the new Sultan set up several ministries to run Dhofar’s public affairs and although the heads of these ministries lived in Muscat, local branches were set up for each, and their representatives were usually elected—rather than appointed—tribal leaders.

"By addressing the economic and social demands and grievances of the population of Dhofar, the state aimed to undermine the very basis of the rebels’ cause. Between 1971 and 1975 the Omani government used generous funding from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to allocate 25 percent of the nation's development budget to Dhofar alone and provide for the construction of local roads, airports, schools, clinics, and power stations. While promising to make the province economically self-sufficient by 1980, the overarching objective of the program was, however, to instill 'pride in the community and a spirit of nation-building.' These efforts both appeased the Dhofari population and strengthened the connection between the center and the periphery."

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