Chaos in Yemen challenges recent interpretations of Yemen’s complex social, political and economic transformations since unification in 1990. By offering a new perspective to the violence afflicting the larger region, it explains why the ‘Abdullah ‘Ali Salih regime has become the principal beneficiary of these conflicts.
Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, the author offers an alternative understanding of what is creating discord in the Red Sea region by integrating the region’s history to an interpretation of current events. In turn, by refusing to solely link Yemen to the "global struggle against Islamists," this work sheds new light on the issues policy-makers are facing in the larger Middle East. As such, this study offers an alternative perspective to Yemen’s complex domestic affairs that challenge the over-emphasis on the tribe and sectarianism.
Offering an alternative set of approaches to studying societies facing new forms of state authoritarianism, this timely contribution will be of great relevance to students and scholars of the Middle East and the larger Islamic world, Conflict Resolution, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Yemen’s Social Pathologies beyond the Strategic Mainstream 2. The Local Scramble for Ascendancy and the Rise of Modern Polities 3. The Contingent State: The Dynamics of Administrating Yemen 4. The Frontier as a Measure of Modern State Power 5. Unification and the Roots of Salih’s Authoritarian Push. Conclusion
Isa Blumi, Assistant Professor at Georgia State University’s History Department and Middle East Institute, is author of numerous articles on the modern Middle East’s history that focus especially on late imperial rivalries in the Arabian Gulf and Yemen as well as issues of Muslim identity in the context of modernity. A former Fulbright-Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, SSRC, ACLS, and AIYS fellow, among his publications is the book, Rethinking the Late Ottoman Empire (2003) and articles appearing in International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
"Blumi's Chaos in Yemen brings a fresh perspective to our thinking about the current crises in Yemen and for this alone Chaos is definitely worth a read... Blumi's Chaos in Yemen is an interesting read of contemporary Yemeni history and society, but it is also an important contribution to the ways that we think about Yemen." - Charles Schmitz; Yemen Update, Number 52: 2010
"Isa Blumi’s inquiry into the historical and contemporary dynamics of state–society relations in Yemen could hardly be more timely given scholarly and policy interest in the antecedents of Yemen’s current revolutionary movement...readers certainly stand to benefit from Blumi’s careful historical analysis of the dialect relationships between local, state, and imperial power in the late Ottoman period and from his efforts to put this analysis to use in untangling the dynamics of Salih’s regime today." - Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Department of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, N.Y.; International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011)
"[I]t is a scholarly work written by someone who has a full command of the sources, including the Ottoman archives. Many of his footnotes give fascinating additions to what is in the text, and the bibliography will be greatly appreciated by his fellow scholars." - Noel Brehony; The British-Yemeni Society
Isa Blumi’s Chaos in Yemen is a timely addition to the growing literature on Yemen’s modern history and the historical process of Yemeni state formation. John M. Willis, University of Colorado, USA, Arabian Humanities: International Journal of Archaeology and Social Sciences in the Arabian Peninsula