Posted by: sean | January 6, 2010

Amuse-gueules: Yemen

I’ve been annoyed by a lot of the talk about Yemen lately, because, as we’ve already seen in the past with Somalia, it’s become a topic du jour. This means that lots of people who don’t know much more than what they can glean from Wikipedia are talking as if they’ve suddenly become experts on the place.

I’ve only spent a little bit of time in Yemen, so my knowledge of the country is very limited, although it is enough to recognize that a lot of the people running their mouths about it (some of them elected officials), have no idea what they’re talking about.

To combat that and shed a little light on one of my favorite Arab countries, I’m dedicating today’s edition of amuse-gueules to Yemen:

If you’ve got more suggestions about good sources about Yemen, please let me know in the comments.



  1. Glad you posted on this, Sean. I have not been following up on what the dime-a-dozen “experts” have been coming up with these days and I am not sure I want to.

    I have found this little publication by The Middle East Institute to be handy in providing some background to today’s events. Lisa Wedeen’s book, Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen (2008), is an indispensable read in my opinion.

    Thanks for the links.

  2. Thanks for the link, ya T. And the Wedeen book looks wonderful, so I’ll have to check it out. I’d only heard of her book on Syria, which I haven’t read yet but really want to.

  3. […] Human Province has done produced some great posts on Yemen lately (see here and here). He created a list of fantastic articles on Yemen ; I particularly recommend the articles by Fred Haliday who I am a huge fan of. The article that […]

  4. You should definately read Wedeen’s Ambiguities of Domination man … Such a refreshing read… A great combination of exegsis of the Assad cult and introduction to popular Syrian culture. It’s one of the best things I’ve read ever, in any genre.

  5. I would also add this article about the Saada War :

    Jack Freeman, “The al Houthi Insurgency in the North of Yemen: An Analysis of the Shabab al Moumineen”, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 32, Issue 11 November 2009 , pages 1008 – 1019

  6. Yemen is a basket case whose trajectory to collapse I’ve seen charted on various sites since years ago. Given that none of the demographic or environmental fundamentals of Yemen has changed over years, I think Yemen is too predictable to be somebody’s favorite or fascinating.

  7. Sana’a Bureau does a nice roundup of Yemeni news:

  8. […] here before ab0ut the question of expertise, especially as it relates to places like Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. This is a subject that, much to the chagrin of my friends, I think and talk about a […]

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