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Yemen’s Creation of Federal Republic Leaves Major Grievances Unresolved

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

Earlier this month, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi announced on state television that the country would be partitioned into six regions and renamed the Federal Republic of Yemen. The move came at the end of Yemen’s 10-month National Dialogue Conference (NDC), a process that was intended to help overcome ongoing tensions and grievances in the aftermath of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forced resignation in November 2011. Saleh left office after 33 years in power, the first 12 in North Yemen and the last 21 in the combined North and South. He was finally pushed out after anti-government protests sparked significant violence and instability, culminating in what was arguably a civil war after two decades of low-level conflict and insecurity across the country.

United Nations Special Envoy Jamal Benomar has argued that the NDC “established the foundations for a new beginning” in Yemen, one “that jettisons the painful conflicts of the past, in which power and corruption ruled.” It is perhaps more accurate to say that the NDC has created a space for the mainstream political negotiation of Yemen’s governance processes, a significant development in itself, but that the new federal system’s implications for peace and conflict are undetermined, especially because the system’s legitimacy is already being questioned by key Yemeni stakeholders. ...

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