Yemen's Democracy Experiment in Regional Perspective: Patronage and Pluralized Authoritarianism

Overview

Shortly after the Gulf War of 1990-91, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with the Iraqi Vice President and his envoy. President Saleh recommended that the smartest thing for President Saddam Hussein to do to recover from the damage to himself caused by the war was to democratise Iraq. President Saleh came to power thirteen years before offering this advice, presided over the creation of a new constitution that declared Yemen a democracy that same year, and fifteen years later was elected to rule for a ...

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Yemen's Democracy Experiment in Regional Perspective: Patronage and Pluralized Authoritarianism

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Overview

Shortly after the Gulf War of 1990-91, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with the Iraqi Vice President and his envoy. President Saleh recommended that the smartest thing for President Saddam Hussein to do to recover from the damage to himself caused by the war was to democratise Iraq. President Saleh came to power thirteen years before offering this advice, presided over the creation of a new constitution that declared Yemen a democracy that same year, and fifteen years later was elected to rule for a further seven years. This study examines the nature of changes to Yemen’s power structures, political dynamics and institutions since the intention to democratise was announced in 1990.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This study of current Yemeni politics is the work of a new, young scholar who has spent most of the time between late 2003 and the present researching and working in the Republic of Yemen. She has a command of the facts—has experienced many of them—and she has an analytical framework in which to make sense of them. The result is a book that captures and puts into perspective the Ali Abdullah Salih regime and the politics of Yemeni unification—and their problems and prospects.”—Robert D. Burrowes, University of Washington (retired)

“This is an immensely important study not only for Yemen specialists, but for anyone interested in gaining a sophisticated and informed understanding of the complexities of democratization in the Third World. Through an adept reading of the literatures on authoritarianism and democratisation applied to the Arab World, Phillips has made a significant and timely contribution to the burgeoning field of International Relations scholarship on soft power and legitimacy. She has also reminded us of the importance of balancing theory with practice through her methodological mix of primary and secondary sources. This book indicates that there is no excuse for painting the Arab World in simplistic hues: Phillips' masterful study forges a path for all those readers seeking clarity amidst the complexity of Yemeni politics.”—Michelle Burgis, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, Scotland

“In the early 1990s Yemen was the poster boy of Arab democracy. Now the verdict is more mixed. What happened? The answer, as one might well imagine, is neither simple nor conclusive but Sarah Phillips provides one in about as clear-eyed and lucidly written a book as one might wish for.”—Steven C. Caton, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University

"In this marvellously nuanced work, Sarah Phillips is enlightening on both Middle Eastern politics and the constraints generally on democratisation. She demonstrates that Yemeni politics is a lively mixture of co-optation, coercion, tribalism, Islamist opposition, and electoral experimentation. Drawing on an intimate knowledge of state and society in Yemen and conceptually sophisticated, she depicts a resilient evolution that has built simultaneously on networks of patronage and a hybrid political order – neither uniformly authoritarian nor unequivocally liberalised. This is precisely the kind of study we need in order to understand the prospects for democratic transition in the Middle East, and beyond."—James Piscatori, Australian National University, author of Islam in a World of Nation-States

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230609006
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/11/2008
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Phillips received her Ph.D. from the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University, in 2007. She spent over a year conducting fieldwork in Yemen for her dissertation on processes of political reform and now works with the National Democratic Institute in Yemen. Phillips specialises in Yemeni politics, political party development, democratisation and reform in the Arab world, and the role of Islamists in these processes. She has published articles in the Middle East Report, the Arab Reform Bulletin, and for the Carnegie Endowment.

She can be reached at sarphil@gmail.com.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
• Resilience and Reform in the Arab Middle East
• A Brief History of The Republic of Yemen: Electoral Politics, War, and Political Retraction
• The Yemeni Regime and its Informal-Formal Government Institutions
• Tribalism in a Weak State *Non-State Actors and Political Reform: Civil Society, Activists and Political Parties * Political Islamists and the Islah Party
• Coercion, Managed Pluralism and Legitimacy

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