Revolution in Yemen showed early signs of success with the relatively peaceful removal of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. However, although Saleh stepped aside he has not stepped away. His regime and supporters continue to be important power brokers. In theory, the presence of representatives from all Yemeni stakeholder groups, including the Saleh camp, should be positive. In practice, however, it has led to an extended period of public suspicion of the current government’s motives and dedication to revolutionary values. For example, slow reform within the security sector has caused several years of tense sporadic confrontations between the security apparatus and a public that perceives the ongoing presence of Saleh supporters and regime figures in the new government as a barrier to change.
Much in Yemen’s transitional period and beyond remains uncertain. Despite their participation in the National Dialogue Conference, important Yemeni stakeholders such as the northern Huthis and the Southern Hiraak Movement, continue to view the transition agreement with scepticism while non-state actors such as AQAP and other armed groups have taken advantage of the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising. Furthermore, deepened international involvement in domestic politics has prompted increased resentment of outside interference while diminishing the new government’s sense of independence in the eye of the Yemeni population. Similarly, the enduring influence of powerful, internationally-funded political parties and interest groups threatens the inclusivity of the ongoing transitional process.
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