Assistant Professor of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav was interviewed on Free Speech Radio News on Tuesday, March 22 on unfolding events in Yemen.
In the introduction to the interview, the show noted, “Today, in Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh warned of the possibility of civil war. His government is facing a wave of resignations and defections to the opposition, from politicians to members of the army. The resignations follow a protest by many thousands of people on Friday in the capital Sanaa, during which snipers shot and killed about 50 people.”
The podcast is available online.
When asked how significant she believes the defections are, Philbrick Yadav said, the defection of the top general “is broadly something I think that people are seeing through. He’s not a credible opposition figure and many of the people who are defecting are longstanding members of the regime who sense a sort of wind change. Everyone is essentially positioning for piece of the post-Saleh pie.”
The interview went on to discuss different challenges to the regime in recent years, as well as the dynamics of patronage and tribal dimensions.
Noting Yemen is home to Islamic militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda, the host asked Philbrick Yadav how strong she things the links are, as well as what role Al-Qaedais playing. She responded that she did not believe Al-Qaeda is playing a sizable role, but that it has “thrived because of the unrest.”
She noted, “As people have turned away from the regime, Al-Qaeda, particularly outside of the urban centers, has been available.”
The conversation continued in a later interview, on March 25.
That full interview can also be heard online.
Philbrick Yadav received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Smith College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of several recent journal articles on political opposition in Yemen and Lebanon, and is completing a book on the subject of Islamist parliamentary opposition in the two countries. In 2008, Philibrick Yadav was a visiting researcher at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Before coming to HWS, she taught at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Pennsylvania, and lived and worked in Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen from 2003-2006, returning on a number of times since then to continue her research.