Breaking the Cycle of Failed Negotiations in Yemen

  • Citation: Al-Dawsari, Nadwa. “Breaking the Cycle of Failed Negotiations in Yemen.” Project on Middle East Democracy 125 (2017).
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • Middle East and North Africa
    • Yemen
    • United Nations
    • negotiation
    • conflict
    • war
    • GCC

Yemen’s conflict is complex and multi-faceted. On the surface, it is a power struggle among the political elite, but it is also driven by long-term frustration with the ruling elite’s corruption at the expense and marginalization of the majority of the Yemeni population. These grievances drove the 2011 youth uprising, have helped fuel the ongoing war, and must be addressed to bring lasting peace. More than two years of UN-led negotiations to end Yemen’s war have failed. This failure is a result of an elite dominated process between opposing sides unwilling to settle their differences and concede power. To end the conflict and create a lasting peace, these talks must include representatives from all aggrieved regions and parties. Peace talks should also include negotiations on the division of Yemen into federal regions that establish a fair balance of power and resources and address key regional grievances that have helped fuel conflict. Reaching political agreement will take time. It is critical in the interim to work with government institutions at the local level to provide a basic level of governance and stability. Strengthening local government will help defuse some tension, build trust in national political negotiation processes, give local actors a sense of ownership and responsibility, and help restore faith in nonviolent political processes.

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