43 - Yemen

Grade: C-
Unity 2/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 7/20
Scorecard 2012: B- (11/20)
Scorecard 2013: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2014: B- (11/20)

A purported “model transition” bordered on collapse, with Europe and its partners struggling to respond to a series of complex, overlapping crises.

The second half of 2014 saw the tentative progress in Yemen’s transition gradually disintegrate. The country’s internationally backed political process – trumpeted as a model for similarly conflict-stricken states for much of the transition period – had by year’s end reached the brink of collapse.

The year began with celebrations marking the end of the Conference of National Dialogue, a wide-ranging summit aimed at brokering a new social contract between Yemen’s competing and often warring factions in the aftermath of an uprising that unseated the country’s long-time leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Despite significant international support, the government has yet to make substantive progress in implementing a series of political and economic outcomes agreed to in the talks. President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s rule grew increasingly authoritarian, appearing to take advantage of virtually unconditional international support to concentrate power in the hands of loyalists. But the government’s hold over the bulk of the country has deteriorated. Overtures from Sana’a have failed to mollify increasingly radical separatists in the formerly independent south. The Houthis eventually seized the capital, Sana’a, on 21 September, setting off a political crisis that is ongoing. Many still hold out hope for positive developments from the new cabinet, which was sworn in in November; the previous cabinet was troubled by corruption and deep partisan divisions, despite significant foreign financial and political support.

Even within the G10 – a grouping of Arab and Western nations backing Yemen’s transition – France, the UK, and the EU delegation frequently appeared to be out of sync, pursuing different priorities despite nominal overall unity. The Friends of Yemen is trying to stay engaged, with the UK in the lead in Europe (though much of the $10 billion in aid pledged by its members remains unused). Germany, not in the group, is also a major donor.Yemen’s humanitarian and economic crises have continued, and, further, the country on the whole has often appeared to be an afterthought, at least in comparison to other nations in the region.