Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes

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Once famous for its lucrative coffee trade and the strategically crucial port of Aden, Yemen - the dark horse of the Middle East - is making headlines today for its links with radical Islam. As journalist Victoria Clark argues in this riveting book, we have been neglecting Yemen at our peril. For centuries a thorn in the side of any foreign power seeking to exploit its valuable location, the most beautiful but also the poorest state in the Arab world is dominated by its tribal make-up, increasingly fractious and an ideal haven for jihadists.

Born in south Yemen when it was still a British colony, Victoria Clark returns to the country to untangle its complex past and hazardous present. Meeting politicians and tribal leaders, oil workers and Islamists, she discovers a fragile state facing a perfect storm of exploding population, diminishing water supplies, dwindling oil production and two separate wars of secession, as well as a vigorous regional al-Qaeda movement. This is a lively, thoughtful and up-to-date account of a little-known country now at the top of the international security agenda.

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Editorial Reviews

Isobel Coleman
Victoria Clark's Yemen combines a sweeping history of the country from the 16th century until today with a travelogue and journalistic ruminations…Clark is best when she focuses on the mix of unsavory characters jostling for power in Yemen today.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300117011
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 688,137
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Victoria Clark is a former correspondent and Moscow bureau chief for the Observer. She now works as a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to the Independent, Prospect magazine, and the Tablet.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1

Part 1

Chapter 1 Unwanted Visitors (1538-1918) 11

Chapter 2 Revolutionary Roads (1918-1967) 46

Chapter 3 Two Yemeni Republics (1967-1990) 89

Chapter 4 A Shotgun Wedding (1990-2000) 130

Part 2

Chapter 5 First Generation Jihad 149

Chapter 6 A Tribal Disorder? 177

Chapter 7 Keeping Up With the Saudis 207

Chapter 8 Al-Qaeda, plus Two Insurgencies 235

Chapter 9 Can the Centre Hold? 260

Afterword 284

Notes 289

Bibliography 299

Index 305

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