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Militancy In Yemen Essay

2105 words - 8 pages

The militant groups related to al-Qaeda have gained considerable strength in the southern region of Yemen. These militant groups are reported to be stronger than the country’s military, and this can be seen from the level of the expansion made by the militancy. During his regime, Ali Abdullah Saleh described Yemen as “an island in a sea of al-Qaeda” (Raghavan). In late February of 2012, a regime change happened in Yemen as Saleh stepped down from the presidency, and Hadi was elected the new president in a one candidate election. In the midst of the Arab Spring movement to the transfer of power from Saleh to Hadi and the present situations in Yemen, the Islamist militant groups have garnered greater control over some of the state’s southern regions.
The emergence and expansion of al-Qaeda related Islamist militant groups can be seen as an effect of the separationist movement that exists within the southern region of Yemen. The separationist movement arose in the south, in response to the perceived socioeconomic inequality between the northern and southern regions under Saleh. Before its unification, there were two regions of Yemen; the north had the Ottoman and Zaidi (Shiite-sect) influence, while the south was influenced by socialism. In the 1990, Yemen was united under Saleh, but a civil war broke out in 1994, resulting in the emergence of separationist groups. Even though this protest was put down, more protests emerged as years went on. For example, “al-Herak” held protests for “equal rights for southerners in 2007, and their initially peaceful movement was met with deadly force by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime” (al-Shamahi). Since the unification of the two regions, Saleh was the one in power; this shows that the discontent between the regions could be due to the inequalities that were escalated under him. The reason that the separationist movement may have encouraged the spread of militant groups is because of the separationist ideologies that allowed for the militant groups to go unnoticed as they started gaining their influence. This supports that the regions in Yemen should unite and mend out their differences and shift focus towards the present militant groups of the south.
There is also the presence of a weak government and military, which has encouraged the Islamist fundamentalist groups, related to al-Qaeda, in wreaking havoc over Yemen’s lower regions. Islamic fundamentalist groups are present in a majority of Muslim nations, but their influence is usually monitored and controlled under the authority of a non-fundamentalist government. In the case of Yemen, the government is non-fundamentalist, but its institutions are weak in monitoring and keeping control of the terror causing fundamentalists in the south. The Yemeni military commanders report that the militant groups call themselves “supporters of Sharia”; they vie for a stricter implementation of the Islamic law (Raghavan). When surrounded by a militant group,...

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