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The Yemeni Revolution: replacing Ali Abdullah Saleh, or replacing obsolete institutions?
ACRPS Case Analysis Series (2011)
  • Hichem Karoui

When the Yemeni uprising broke out, it appeared to follow the same model that had begun in Tunisia: a series of social protests that became a political movement once the opposition parties joined the spontaneous youth revolt, followed by the emergence of a program for democratic reform. But the situation in Yemen has become slightly different.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, despite very few qualms about his electoral majority in 2006, decided to follow the dictator's handbook and interfere in the country's laws, and perhaps in its constitution, introducing changes that would enable him to retain power – despite the fact that this would upset established balances – and then pass it on to his son. This is what led the opposition parties to confront him and ally themselves with Yemeni youths, forming a movement that has been demanding the resignation of the president since day one of the protests.

This paper examines the effects of the crisis that led to the revolt, and interrogates possible alternatives: will the replacement be democratic, military, tribal, a mixture of all three, or something else altogether? In other words, are the protesters seeking to replace individuals, or institutions?

* Introduction * The role of the opposition parties in the Yemeni revolution * The US Embassy in Yemen and corruption * The US Embassy in Yemen and the succession * The West and democracy in Yemen * The goals of the revolution * Tribalism or citizenship? * To what should we pay attention? * Conclusion and results

  • Yemen,
  • Arab Revolutions,
  • Democratic Uprisings,
  • Middle East,
  • MENA
Publication Date
Spring May 29, 2011
Citation Information
Hichem Karoui. "The Yemeni Revolution: replacing Ali Abdullah Saleh, or replacing obsolete institutions?" ACRPS Case Analysis Series (2011)
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