Yemen is in the grip of its most severe crisis in years. Fuelled by Arab and Western intervention, the civil war has quickly escalated, resulting in thousands killed and millions close to starvation. Suffering from a collapsed economy, the people of Yemen face a desperate choice between the Huthi rebels allied with ex-President Saleh on the one side and the internationally recognised government propped up by the Saudi-led coalition and Western arms on the other.
The struggle for power in the Arab world’s poorest but strategically vital nation has serious implications for the region and beyond. While Saudi Arabia and its allies fear that a Huthi takeover would threaten free passage of oil through the Bab al-Mandab Strait, Western governments fear an increase of attacks from al-Qa‘ida in the absence of effective governance.
In this invaluable analysis, Helen Lackner uncovers the roots of the social and political conflicts that threaten the very survival of the state and its people. She reveals the corruption of the country’s US-backed autocratic regime, as well as its failure to address national impoverishment and to plan an equitable economy for Yemen’s growing population.
About the Author
Helen Lackner has worked as a consultant in social aspects of rural development in over thirty countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She has spent the past four decades researching Yemen, working in the country for fifteen years. Lackner is currently Associate Researcher at the London Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and was the 2016 Sir William Luce Fellow at Durham University. The editor of Journal of the British-Yemeni Society, she is also a regular contributor to Oxford Analytica’s briefs and openDemocracy. Her publications include Yemen in Crisis: Autocracy, Neo-Liberalism and the Disintegration of a State and Why Yemen Matters: A Society in Transition (editor). She lives in Oxford.
‘Comprehensive and in-depth, backed up by statistics and enriched with [Lackner’s] own insights into the major political, social and economic transformations of half a century.’
‘A superb book written by an outstanding author whose knowledge of Yemen is unparalleled. She combines elegant writing with incisive and lucid analysis to reveal the political, economic and social causes of Yemen’s instability and the origins of its current crisis.’
Dr Noel Brehony CMG, former Chairman British-Yemeni Society
‘An outstanding book that provides answers to all of the questions raised by Yemen’s many crises since 2011. Written with compassion and insight, Lackner confirms her standing as the foremost authority on Yemeni politics at work today.’
Eugene Rogan, University of Oxford
‘An eminently valuable account of Yemen’s modern history and current travails by someone who has made it her life’s work to understand the country and its people.’
Roger Owen, Harvard University
‘Few scholars would be better suited to review Yemen’s recent history … Immensely valuable.’
Marieke Brandt, Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA), Austrian Academy of Sciences, LSE blog