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Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen - MENA Final
International Studies
Undergraduate 4

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Physical Features of Yemen
Asir Mountains
- Fertile uplands, seasonal rain
-Villages, terraced farms, Sanaa (capital city)
- Ports: fishing, trade hubs (Aden most important)

Central Plateau (Hadramawt)
- Arid, canyons, isolated villages

Eastern Desert
-Desolate, nomadic population
Yemeni Cultural Makeup
Shared Arabic culture but deeply divided by
- Religion:
Sunni Islam (70%)
Shi'ite (Zaydi) Islam* (30%)
- Social divisions:
- Tribal/clan/family identities
powerful divide throughout Yemen
- Coastal ports:
urban, commerce, entrepreneurs, cosmopolitan mix
Limits to Yemeni Economic Development
- Agriculture is primary occupation
Small-scale agriculture dominates economy -
subsistence farming (50%), cash crops include
coffee, dried fish, qat
Water shortages, droughts - severe threat w/climate

- Along coasts
suffers from competition with foreign vessels,piracy
from Somalia (and Yemen) disrupts industry

- Energy Exports
Oil (leading export)
ranks 44th
peaked in 2003
runs dry by 2020.
Gas exports (ranks 45th)
Origins of the Modern Yemeni State
Long tradition of independent kingdoms in region; no unified Yemen
- Arab-Islamic Empire → pulled out by 880
- Ottoman Empire → invaded in 1536, expelled from interior in mid-1600s
- Britain → treaties with coastal tribes, protect sea route to India
North and South Yemen Differences:
North Yemen
- 'Imamate tradition'
- Rulers
- Saudi rivalry – fought war (1938)
- Isolated, conservative state: monarchy resisted modernization

- "Yemen Arab Republic"
Arab nationalist officers supported by Nasser (Egypt)
Oil exports & Yemeni oil workers
Cold War ally of USA
North and South Yemen Differences:
South Yemen
- Aden: British colony (1839)
~Prosperous port city, infrastructure, cosmopolitan

- Interior
~2 dozen small tribal states loosely tied together by
treaties and truces.

- Status: British colony (1937-1963), 'Federation of South Arabia' (1963)

- People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
~strong anti-Nasser Marxist wing
"Scientific Socialism" - modernization,
infrastructure development, literacy campaign
~Soviet client state: loans, military aid,
diplomatic support.
~small state
~impoverished population
~dependent on financ'l aid from outside sponsors
1990 Unification Problems in Yemen
- Collapse of Soviet Union led to unification in 1990
- Transition Regime (1990-1993)
Three-Way Grand Coalition - power sharing with Saleh
as president + Southern vice-president, and leader of
Islamist party
Gulf War Crisis (1990-91) - Yemen sided with Saddam
All aid cut off and 800,000 Yemeni workers sent home
from Persian Gulf oil fields.

- Yemen under General Saleh
~Civil War (1994)
Southern resistance crushed in short brutal campaign
Consolidation (since 1995)
One-party dominant state - Saleh's party swept 2
elections (1998 and 2005); fraud, low turnout and
Southern boycott
2009 election postponed
Organization of Yemeni State
- Formal Institutions:
~Presidency - direct election
~Council of Deputies (parliament)
~Governors & local councils - elections since 2001

*Opposition parties have demanded that power of presidency be reduced, and decentralized out of national government to provinces
Saleh’s 40 yr rule
- In-state Support
~Strongman: backed by 'Republican Guard,' secret
police, and loyal tribal and clans in army
~"Military-tribal-business complex" - control flow of
cash (foreign aid) and contracts
~Corruption: family & friends hold all top offices,
rewarded with favors and cash

- Outside support
~Alliance with U.S.A.
Military aid to regime
Intelligence – ally in war on terrorism
Port of Aden access to U.S. fleet
~Saud family financial support
Causes of Violence that Fractured Yemen
- Houthi rebellion
~restore 'Imamate'
~impoverished rural areas
~Regime response --> 'Operation Scorched Earth'

- Southern secession movement
~End Northern Occupation

- Islamic militants (al-Qaeda)
~With Saudi help, Saleh cultivated close ties with
militants (1980s)
~recruits for Afghan war
~Salafi schools built
*After 9/11, Saleh distanced his regime from militants,
closing down schools and jailing militants
Chances of a Yemeni Democracy
President Saleh is out of power
Successor was own VP, Hadi (Only candidate on ballot)
Hadi has to deal with Saleh's fam who is in power everywhere, AQAP
New Prez and Legislative elections in 2 years
Physical Features of Lebanon
Mediterranean Coast
- Beirut (2 million), port for Damascus
- Tripoli, Sidon

Mount Lebanon (Jabal Lubnan)
- High (6,000-10,000 ft) rugged terrain, isolated

Bekaa Valley (al-Biqa)
- Grain farming, strong links to Syria
Cultural Makeup of Lebanon
- an Arab nation (96%)

- Christian 40% (12 sects)
- Muslim 60% (7 sects)

Palestinian refugees = 10-15% of population
Lebanese Limits to Econ Development
HDI = 71st in world
Per capita = $15,700
Civil War (1975-1991) wrecked economy which has never fully recovered
ethnic tensions
foreign debts
violence in Syria (spillover)
Origins of Modern Lebanon
Shaped by Larger Empires …
- Arab-Islamic empire: refuge for minorities
- Crusades: small kingdoms, favored local Christians
- Ottomans: self-governing “millets”
- French – after 1860 massacre, "Autonomous Province of

World War I tragedy
- Maronite rebellion against Ottoman Turkish government
(100,000 perished)

French Mandate (1921)
- Christian majority (55%) state (refuge)
- French identity (downgraded Arabic language and
- Confessional Council retained

Independence (1946)
- National Covenant: built a form of democracy on non-
majoritarian principles
- Prosperity: crossroads of Middle East, tolerant culture
Lebanese Political Arrangement to 1975:
Non-Majoritarian Democracy
Inclusive Representation
- seats guaranteed for all'confessional' groups in
- multi-member districts
- no competition between sects for seats

Power sharing - all guaranteed a 'fair share' …
- Presidency: Maronite military officer, selected to 7-
year term by parliament, sign bills, military
- Prime Minister: Sunni, legislative process
- Speaker of House: Shiite, call legislature into
session (less influential)

Domestic Policy
- Fair distribution of resources, govt jobs
- Local control over public services

Foreign Policy ... always less clear
- Objective: avoid divisive foreign policy issues and
emphasize "Lebanese nationalism" (vague)
Civil War in Lebanon
Lebanese Civil War → Confusing situation prevailed ...
- Dozens of rival factions and personalities; frequent
shifts in loyalties
- PLO militia involved, Arafat takes refuge in Beiruit
- Syrian intervention - occupy Bekaa Valley (1976)
- Israeli invasion (1978) and occupation (1982-5) of
southern Lebanon; then withdrew to 10-mile border zone

- casualties (15% of population) 150,000 dead, 400,000
- cities and infrastructure ruined (esp. Beirut)
- 100,000 homeless
- losses to Lebanese economy
- foreign occupation:
~Syria in Bekaa Valley
~Israel in southern border zone.
Ta’if Accord
New constitution:
- Presidential powers reduced
- Power-sharing formula: 50-50 Christian-Muslim

Clemency -- no punishments for past offenses

Call for Syria and Israel to withdraw troops.

Multi-party system and elections, yet …
- Parties – still run by powerful families; foreign
policy determines cash (Iran, Syria, Israel, etc.)
- Limited media freedoms – death threats and
assassinations of journalists
- Electoral districts – drawn to represent religious
groups; over-represent rural areas.
- Violence – gang shoot-outs; car bomb assassinations
of rival politicians
Current Lebanese Pressures
"Syrianization" of Lebanon
- New laws: criminal offense to insult Assad,
observance of Syrian holidays
- "Syrian mafia" control trade, commerce, drug
smuggling (hashish, opium)
- Meddling in domestic politics - pro-Syrian candidates

Hezbollah → Shi'ite party in southern Lebanon; close ties to Iran, powerful militia (used against Israel)

Palestinian-Israeli tensions → spill over into Lebanon

Rise and fall of Rafiq Hariri → Prime Minister (2000)
- Called for Syrian withdrawal
~2005 assassination ... evidence pointed to Syria

Polarization of politics → Lebanon divides into 2 blocs:
- Anti-Syria: won 2005 elections
- Pro-Syria:

Israeli invasion and bombing campaign (July-Sept, 2006)
- engage/destroy Hezbollah
- target Lebanese infrastructure 30,000 Israeli DF
fought 2,000 Lebanese militia

Polarization continues → Parties and politicians still divided among two rival blocs in parliament:
- Pro-Hariri (anti-Syria) - led by Hariri's son
- Anti-Hariri (pro-Syria) - led by Michel Aoun
Breakdown of Civic Society in Lebanon
Framework too rigid:
- population shifts ... but stuck with 1932 census!
- rising inequality, but elite control
- Influx of Palestinian refugees (300,000+) ...threaten
fragile balance!

Conflict with Israelis: base of operations across border, Israeli counter- strikes

Militarization of Lebanese society ... with foreign sponsors (Syria, Egypt, Israel, etc)
- Phalange (anti-PLO Maronites)
- Lebanese National Movement (pro-PLO Sunnis)
- Amal (pro-PLO Shi'ites)

Lebanese army -- divided into factions, rival officers and religious groups.
Origins of the Palestinian People
British Mandate (Palestine)- “Mandate" under British control after World War 1 - mix of Arab natives and Jewish settlers

Israeli statehood (Ar: 'al-Nakba' ... Disaster)- Evolution of Israel & Palestine (see maps)

Flight of refugees- est. 700,000 Arab Palestinians

Oslo Accord ('Declaration of Principles') - two-state plan- multi-step plan to gradually turn over parts of occupied territories to Palestinian control- signed in 1993
Palestinians Today:
Those Who Stayed
Palestinian community in Israel (total = 1.4million)
HDI = 24th.
Affluent, educated and skilled pop
Israeli Arabs- 25% of pop.
Full citizenship since ‘66.
right to vote
separate schools/courts.
History of protest.
Inequalities- own only 2% of land, earn 4% of GNP. Face
discrimination but ruled unconstitutional (2006) by
Israeli high court.

Occupied Territories
About 25% of Palestinians (4.1million)
West Bank
Ancestral land/homes, farmers, refugee camps
Gaza Strip
140 square mile rectangle
refugee camps
HDI = 114th.
Low per capita incomes
>50% of Palestinians in poverty
Unemployment= 20-45%.
60% depend on ‘assistance’ for daily survival

Why low standard of living?
Low education, unskilled workers, educated Palestinians
live abroad
Stagnant economy- jobs in Israel, but only when borders
are open
Refugee camps- overcrowded, slums v. modest neighborhoods
Political instability- rival factions, incursions by
Israeli security forces
Palestinians Now:
Those who fled
Outside Israel
Arab Countries- Jordan, Syria, Lebanon,
Egypt (many in refugee camps) others in
gulf states, Tunisia, etc
Expatriates- USA, Europe, Latin America,
etc. 5%
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