Yemen on the Brink

Yemen on the Brink
Op-Ed Real Clear World
Summary
Corruption in Yemen is contributing to the rapid deterioration of the country’s stability and security situation, with potentially dramatic repercussions for neighboring states, the region, and the international community.
Related Topics
Related Media and Tools
 

Yemen's stability and security situation is rapidly deteriorating, and its potential implosion will have a dramatic impact on neighboring states, the region and the international community. Central to the issue is the creeping and destructive plague of corruption.

Yemen is rarely in the news unless linked to events such as last week's attack on British diplomats, the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009 or the just past 10-year anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole. These dramatic - but infrequent - events obscure the more obvious and in some ways more important story of Yemen.
 
The country faces an astonishing confluence of unprecedented challenges: violent extremism, economic collapse, a looming water shortage and a growing secessionist movement. Any one of these challenges, if left unaddressed, could overwhelm any government. Unless appropriate steps are taken, Yemen risks becoming a failed state and a training ground for terrorism - and its problems could quickly envelop the entire region.
 
Economic growth in Yemen stagnates because of corruption, which wastes vital resources, time, and human capabilities. The many conflicts in Yemen are not solely based on tribal or religious issues, but rather a lack of development and neglect. Adding to that, a looming economic crisis threatens to destabilize the state. The government's ability to provide basic services is thwarted at every turn: petroleum reserves are running out with few options for a sustainable post-oil economy; limited water resources are consumed faster than they can be replenished; and the rapidly expanding population suffers from endemic poverty and places an increasing burden on the country.
 
Underlying these challenges is rampant corruption, amid allegations that almost 30 percent of government revenue is never deposited in government accounts. Historically, the central government has faced fierce resistance in expanding its authority and presence, as the Yemeni people associate it with corruption, cronyism, nepotism and thwarted economic and social opportunities. To address the serious and continuing problem of government graft, the country will need to institute transparent taxation, sweeping judicial reforms to establish fair prosecutions and greater public access to information.
 
Addressing corruption is not only about going after the biggest offenders or the grandest schemes, but rather it must address systemic abuses in all institutions. Combating corruption must be a central part of any strategy to reduce instability and improve the everyday lives of Yemeni citizens.
 
In addition to the damage corruption causes in the political and social fabric of Yemeni society, it takes an enormous toll on economic growth and development. When corruption occurs in agencies where identification cards and passports are issued, Yemenis are prevented from working in the Gulf countries and sending remittances back home because there is no confidence in the authenticity of these documents. Foreign businesses avoid investing in Yemen if they have no assurance that documentation is valid and legal, contracts cannot be enforced, and there is no rule of law to adjudicate land disputes. On the domestic side, bribes demanded from Yemeni small business-owners waste resources that could otherwise be spent to expand business activity and create new jobs.
 
During the recent meeting to prepare for the Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting in February 2011, participants committed to addressing political, economic and governance reforms. This is a pivotal moment to advance momentum for real reform and focus on fighting against corruption. Such initiatives should include simplifying economic regulations and eliminating contradictions between laws, reforming and simplifying the tax system, clearly defining the authorities of civil servants by specifying their duties by law, ensuring enforcement of contracts and property rights, and enhancing the rule of law to protect individual rights and rights of the business community.
 
As a step in the right direction, the government of Yemen has taken the initiative to use new awareness-raising tools such as a recently-produced film on corruption in Yemen to educate state employees about the economic impact of corruption, bribery and forgery. Further efforts like this one, on a sustained and intensive basis, are needed to make a significant impact.
 
Work with local partners and government agencies is essential to challenge the perception that corruption is an inevitable part of Yemeni daily life and to spark dialogue on policy reform that will reduce opportunities for corruption. The government of Yemen understands the issue can no longer be ignored and is willing to engage in developing strategies to fight corruption. The international community has an important role to play in leveraging its influence to press the Yemeni government for serious reform to increase accountability. Partnership between international allies, the government of Yemen and civil society is necessary to make real progress in combating corruption and to advance Yemen's development.

 

End of document

About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.

 
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2010/10/14/yemen-on-brink/35wg

More from The Global Think Tank

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address in the field below to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
 
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。