The latest issue of Middle East Report, edited by Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav, examines the ongoing civil war in Yemen and the competing global interests that have been fueling the conflict.
Middle East Report is the quarterly print magazine published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), which was established in 1971 to educate and inform the public about contemporary Middle East affairs.
The most recent issue includes an interview Philbick Yadav conducted with three Yemeni and American activists about their work to expand noncombatant voices in the peace process. Read the full interview.
With Jillian Schwedler, who teaches political science at Hunter College and is a member of MERIP’s editorial committee and board of directors, Philbrick Yadav also authored the issue’s introduction, “Toward a Just Peace in Yemen,” in which they examine the war’s origins and the prospects for its end.
“The war is conventionally understood as beginning in 2015 when Saudi Arabia launched air strikes to restore the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled the capital after it was seized by the longstanding northern insurgent group known as the Houthis and their allies,” write Philbrick Yadav and Schwedler. “But the conflict soon escalated into a more substantial war as a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—motivated to contain what they characterized as an Iranian-backed coup in Yemen—employed aerial bombardment, naval blockades and ground forces to push back the Houthi’s advance. With UN quiescence and US and European weapons, the war’s antagonists have had access to asymmetric military and diplomatic resources, yet it is clear that there is no military victory to be had in Yemen.”
As to the question of the “just peace” of the article’s title, the authors argue that any “post-conflict process” must reckon “with the interests of diverse Yemeni and non-Yemeni stakeholders. That process must not reproduce the drivers of conflict by elevating the voices and interests of only the most recognizable and foreign-allied factions. Those committed to a just peace will need to turn a critical eye toward the region’s political economy as a whole, and its relationship to US economic and military policy more broadly.”
As part of the issue’s release, Philbrick Yadav delivered a series of talks around the U.S., beginning with a Wednesday, April 3 lecture at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, titled “War, Fragmentation, and Reconstruction in Yemen.”
While in Cleveland, Philbrick Yadav was hosted by the City Club of Cleveland for an hour-long Q&A “pub talk,” moderated by Tony Ganzer of WCPN, that aired live on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. The Q&A was framed around the questions of “why — and how — Americans should care about the war in Yemen,” which are questions “that I confront in the classroom all the time, but I welcome opportunities like this to address issues that are or ought to be of genuine public concern outside of the academy,” says Philbrick Yadav.
Philbrick Yadav, who has lived in Yemen and is a member of the executive committee of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies, has been writing about Yemen’s opposition politics for more than a decade. Since Yemen’s uprising in 2011, she has published a book exploring the dynamics of Islamist activism and alliance building, and articles in several academic journals, including The International Journal of Middle East Studies and Middle East Report.
In 2017, she was elected to the Project on Middle East Political Science steering committee and coedited the January 2018 POMEPS report on Politics, Governance, and Reconstruction in Yemen. She has appeared recently on the BBC and CNN, analyzing developments in the civil war in Yemen. Meanwhile, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University published her analysis “Fragmentation and Localization in Yemen’s War: Challenges and Opportunities for Peace.”
A member of the HWS faculty since 2007, Philbrick Yadav is the Colleges’ 2018-19 John R. and Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellow. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Smith College.