Time and location

Thursday, 13 October 2016, 19:00 - 21:00
Diplomatic Academy, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Elham Manea
Associate Professor
Institute for Political Science, University of Zurich

Hisham Al-Omeisy
Politcal Analyst and Activist, Yemen

Safa Al-Ahmad
Journalist and Filmmaker, Saudi-Arabia

Helmut Krieger
Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna/VIDC

Magda Seewald, VIDC

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: seewald@remove-this.vidc.org

Yemen - Crisis, Uprising, War

© 2016 Bilkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
© 2016 Bilkis Wille/Human Rights Watch


When in 2011, a broad movement as part of the revolts in the Arab world, forced the then authoritarian and corrupt regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh to abdicate, the road to a democratic, inclusive and just society in Yemen seemed to be open for a moment. But the political transformation process failed and led to a war we barely notice (any more).
One and a half years after the start of the military intervention in Yemen, run by Saudi Arabia, the effects of war on the civilian population are difficult to put into words: According to UN agencies from the 21 million inhabitants, more than 80 percent are in need of humanitarian aid, 14 million people are unable to ensure their foot security, and around 10 million have no access to clean water and almost three million are internally displaced persons.

On political and media level, the war is often told as a continuation of regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran: on the one side the air attacks, the invasion of ground troops and a naval blockade of a military alliance with Saudi Arabia, which is supported by the US, Britain and France and wants the ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi to be inserted again, on the other side an alliance of Ansar Allah (commonly ,the Houthis') with parts of the Yemeni army, who are loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and are supported by Iran – so the accusation. That this too simply drawn image in the media does not correspond to the political developments in Yemen, is the subject of the event.

What developments have led to the present situation? What are the political ideas about the future of Yemen of the various warring parties? What civil society perspectives can still be developed under the conditions of the war at all?


Elham Manea

is a Swiss-Yemenite political scientist specialized on the Arab Middle East, a writer, and a human rights defender. She has published academic and non-fiction books in English, German, and Arabic in addition to two novels in Arabic. She works as an associate professor at the Political Science Institute, University of Zurich, and as a consultant for Swiss government agencies and international human rights organizations. In 2010, the Swiss Federal Council appointed her as a member of the Federal Commission for Women Affairs - a position she still holds today. Elham Manea’s research interests include Political Islam, politics of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemen’s legal pluralism and Islamic Law, and gender and politics in the Arab MENA region. More information on her website: www.elham-manea.com.

Hisham Al-Omeisy

is a Sana’a based political and information analyst and often a commentator on Yemen related stories and a guest of news programs covering Yemen.
He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, Canada. Hisham Al-Omeisy worked as a consultant to stakeholders in Yemen, advised local and international entities on public diplomacy, political and security issues. He is a critical thinker and a human rights and political inclusion activist and played an active role during the uprising that started in Yemen in 2011 and the transition that followed 2012-2015. Hisham Al-Omeisy is the co-founder of the new Al Watan Party in 2012.

Safa Al-Ahmad

is an award winning Saudi freelance journalist and filmmaker based in the Middle East. She has worked both in print and television. Since 2011 she has focused on Saudi Arabia and Yemen following the uprisings and subsequent wars in the region.
She is the joint winner of the 2015 Index of Censorship Freedom Award for Journalism and was in 2014 and 2012 a finalist for the Sony Impact Award for her film ,Al Qaeda in Yemen', for which she was also nominated for the News and Documentary Emmy Award. Her essay ,Wishful Thinking' on the Arab uprisings and Saudi Arabia was published in 2013 in the English Pen Award-winning anthology Writing Revolutions. Safa Al-Ahmad is currently working on a book and documentary on the impact of Saudi foreign policy on the region. Further documentations on Yemen by Safa Al-Ahmad: Rise of the Houthis (2015), Yemen under Siege (2016).

Helmut Krieger

is a social scientist and researcher at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna as well as a consultant to the VIDC. His main research areas are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, movements of political Islam in the Arab world, critical state theories and postcolonial theory. One of his most recent publications is “Umkämpfte Staatlichkeit. Palästina zwischen Besatzung, Entwicklung und politischem Islam“ (2015).