Review-Yemen in crisis: A brilliant analysis of one of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time

Yemen in crisis 
Helen Lackner
Saqi 2017

The ongoing Yemeni civil war has not attracted as much media attention as some other conflicts in the region, but it is none-the-less important. Yemen In Crisis is a vital book if one seeks to understand the origins of the conflict in Yemen, and how it relates to the Geopolitics of the wider world. The conflict is often misunderstood and reduced, rather condescendingly to single issues, in the case of Yemen typically religion and tribal feuds. Lackner explains these issues in far more depth and discusses, in a far more nuanced sense, the various long and short term causes of the conflict.

Lackner refrains from simplified explanations, and instead explores the role of various factors including the Saudi influence, and the problems of reunification. And, unlike many other accounts, critically examines the role of the neoliberal west, both in causing and exacerbating the conflict; something which has been left relatively unexamined until now. The chapter on neoliberalism was especially interesting and showed how the ideologically driven IMF’s push for privatisation and liberalisation of the economy lead, unintentionally, to the civil war.

Few books are able to cover such a complex subject in such a nuanced and coherent way and the book does a better job of explaining the conflict than many contemporary political commentators who are often not very familiar with the conflict origins. In conclusion, Lackner does an excellent job of discussing a complicated subject matter in a very understandable and informative way and without needlessly reducing it to a one-dimensional tribal/religious conflict