chapter
Yemen on the precipice
Governing the ungovernable
ByJ.E. Peterson
Pages 13

A logical and pertinent point on which to begin discussion consists of the fundamental question of whether or not Yemen is an inherently ungovernable country. The Republic of Yemen (ROY) government has pursued an ill-advised and ineffective war against northern Zaydi oppositionists. Fundamentally, government's means and methods of governance can be said to be the usual elements applying in most countries. The government exercises authority in the form of police, courts, land registration, tax collection and similar activities. Yemeni states have always sought to manipulate the tribes and the Imamate ruling North Yemen from the early twentieth century until 1962 depended on the power provided by the Hashid and Bakil tribes, the so-called 'wings of the Imamate'. The essential or inner tribal backing is provided by a small selection of Yemeni tribes and the broader and looser tribal support that the regime generally enjoys was limited largely to the Hashid with some Bakil.