The Political Tribe: The Link between Arms, Extremism and Smuggling

EPC | 10 Jun 2013

The tribe played, more or less, political roles all over the history of Yemen and its consecutive states. The tribe’s involvement continued, even increased, during the republican era and remains a political actor. The political problem of the tribe stems from its connection to a weak state and the obstacles it lays in front of the stability and the building of the state. The two parts of this phenomenon, the politically active tribe and the weak state, have contributed to the creation and spread of manifestations of insecurity and instability, which go beyond Yemen, such as the spread of arms through trade and smuggling of all sorts. Furthermore, Yemen has become a destination and safe haven for extreme groups and a launching pad for its increasing activities. Due to the quality of current issues, which are mostly related to the Gulf national security, dealing with the tribe to influence the Yemeni affairs is no longer a good and feasible policy. GCC countries must adopt policies towards Yemen that do not pass through the tribes and their leaders, and should even adopt policies that limit the tribes’ involvement in politics. Furthermore, helping and encouraging Yemen to adopt domestic policies for that purpose will be in the best interest of GCC countries. If Yemen keeps suffering from this dilemma, it will encourage activities and phenomena, which harms the stability and national security of both Yemen and GCC countries.

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