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6 - From Revolution to State Collapse

Libya and Yemen

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 May 2022

Jamie Allinson
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

Chapter 6 focuses on Libya and Yemen, both cases in which the former ruling dictator was removed – and eventually in both cases killed – but the result was the fragmentation and near-collapse of the state accompanied by direct and competitive foreign military intervention. Although ‘tribalism’ is often presented as a common factor in producing this outcome in both states, the chapter presents a materialist account of the tribe: just as in the case of the sect, tribal identification and forms of mobilisation acquiring their importance from previous forms of political economy. In both Libya and Yemen, the inheritance of previous revolutions from above – Gaddafi’s in Libya, and the anti-monarchical and anti-colonial revolutions of the 1960s in North and South Yemen, respectively – also shaped the revolutionary-counter-revolutionary conflicts after 2011. Although the NATO campaign in Libya in 2011 has been taken as a paradigmatic case of humanitarian intervention, assimilating the uprising to mid-2000s US policies of ‘regime change’, this chapter demonstrates that in both Libya and Yemen counter-revolutionary external intervention has been much more substantial and consequential.

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The Age of Counter-Revolution
States and Revolutions in the Middle East
, pp. 186 - 217
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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