The political and economic transformation of Yemen, 1968-1998
This thesis analyses the pohtical and economic transformation in the two Yemeni states - the YAR and the PDRY - over the period of 1968 to 1998. The unification process between the YAR and the PDRY is critically assessed in preparation and implementation phases over the period 1972 to 1990 under minority rule in both states. The thesis is critically focused on the minority impact of northern Shafais in the ex-PDRY leadership which led to serious struggles within and between the two Yemens out of which a hasty unification was resulted. The methodology employed in the research utilises many materials and opportunities made available to myself as a high-ranking member of the administration of the ex-PDRY and, subsequently, the Presidential Office of the ROY. Due to my position, I was able to witness the political system and procedures of Yemen first-hand. The data collected includes information from formal sources in Aden, San'a and the UK. This material was substantially added to with extensive interviews and meetings with public figures in Yemen and abroad who were, and are, important actors in the political history and contemporary political system of Yemen. The integration process was not successful because of several necessary conditions which were not present in either state in the preunification era or, indeed, after it. The two states had different experiences in terms of administration, policies and above all power structures. The two states had political and military confrontations in 1972 and 1979 along their border mainly because of the northern Shafais who wanted power legitimacy in either state or independently. Under such minority impact, the south sponsored revolutionary insurgencies in northern areas to force the admission of northern Shafais into the power centre of the north. The unification process throughout the 1970's and the 1980's was controversial but suddenly achieved its objective in May 1990 though in a hasty manner. A series of agreements took place on both sides with regional monitoring. The platforms on which these agreements were carried out, technically, politically and economically, were weak and rushed as varying factors were not taken seriously into account and the unification process was undertaken in an emotionally charged atmosphere. During the period of 1990 to 1994, the cooperative unification did not achieve success. The unified system had relatively good northern/southern representation but it was not effective. The northern tribal and the southern factional attitudes and approaches were too strong in the power centre to enhance the level of integration. The tribally-dominated power centre did not encourage a change in the administrative setup and the two sides wanted to impose their former systems on the national administration. As the capital, Sanaa, was in the ex-YAR territory, the central administration was predominantly characterised by the latter's system which was cumbersome and corrupt. The acceleration of political tensions between the two sides increased after the 1993 elections as a third northern party shared government, diminishing the southern share to a third. In view of the supremacy of southern natural resources, the southerners had a motive to seek deunification, and they duly did so. This was put down by the northern side which used force in the 1994 civil war. The thesis is concluded with three scenarios discussing the possible directions of the future political development of the Republic of Yemen, with a focus on how the ROY can escape from the predicament of sectarian dominated politics. The first of these scenarios envisages fundamental reforms taking place immediately so as to preserver the present unification system. The second proposes that amalgamated unification could be replaced by federalism. The third forwards a possibility that Yemen could fragment into many small states as a result of poor national administration and state management. These scenarios are founded in the analysis presented in the main body of the thesis by employing the arguments and dynamics identified as the failings of the current system in an analysis which would allow Yemen to enjoy a more prosperous and stable future.