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Yemen as a Battleground: Shifting Power Dynamics in the Gulf and Beyond

Friday 23 September 2016
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room 005

Shifting political, economic, and social dynamics in the Gulf and beyond have transformed Yemen into a site of struggle between competing local and regional powers. How--and why--did Yemen go from being celebrated for its unseating of long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 to becoming the target of continued Saudi military bombardment and a source for American and European anxiety? What internal factors, local to Yemen, have facilitated this transformation? How have regional and international power dynamics, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the United Nations, mired Yemen to conflict?

Certain terms have become commonplace in local and international media outlets that attempt to cover the story, such as Houthis, Zaidism, and Shi’ism. Used interchangeably, the reader is often left without absorbing the implications of their usage or understanding their shared or individual histories. The ability to characterize the continued bombing of Yemen as the more innocuous “Saudi intervention,” highlights a public relations campaign that dulls the intensifying humanitarian crises and continued inability of international aid agencies to deliver crucial aid to the Yemini population.

This panel brings together academics, journalists, and activists to examine how Yemen has become an arena for regional and international states to exercise power and control. Through the panelists’ presentations and their ensuing discussions with audience members on the ongoing bombing campaigns in Yemen and its short and long term repercussions the region, we can better understand the region as well as offer texture to Dutch and global media coverage that support the continued military campaigns in Yemen.

Confirmed panelists

  • Iona Craig is an independent journalist and was previously based in Yemen from 2010 to 2015 as The Times (of London) Yemen correspondent.
  • Sara Ishaq is a Yemeni-Scottish film maker. 
  • Belkis Wille is the Yemen and Kuwait researcher with Human Rights Watch. 

More biographical information

Screening The Mulberry House

On 22 September, the day before the panel, Sara Ishaq’s The Mulberry House will be screened from 15:15-17:00 hours in Lipsius, room 228. The Mulberry House focuses on the events that led to the ousting of president Ali Abdullah Saleh and show how the revolt affected Sara Ishaq’s family and her own relationship with her family, particularly with her father. You can watch the trailer here

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