Shifting Loyalties: The Tribes of Khawlan b. Amir .. (Shifting Loyalties)
Shifting Loyalties: The Tribes of Khawlan b. Amir in the Huthi Conflict in North-West Yemen
Date du début: 1 oct. 2011,
Date de fin: 30 sept. 2013
The tribal confederation of Khawlan b. Amir (or Khawlan b. Quda'a) in southwestern Arabia consists of eight sub-tribes. The main settlement areas of five sub-tribes are located on Yemeni and three on Saudi Arabian territory. In past centuries the tribes of Khawlan were involved to different degrees in southwestern Arabia’s political power structures, which were substantially affected by the Zaydi-Shiite Imamate and since 1962, by the establishment of the Sunni-dominated Republic of Yemen.Since 2004, the Yemeni Khawlan b. Amir tribes were gradually drawn into the so-called Huthi conflict between revanchist Zaydi rebels and the Sunni-dominated central government of Yemen. The Huthi conflict can be seen as the newly contextualized continuation of a political process which began in the 9th Century with the establishment of the Zaydi imamate in northern Yemen and led with the revolution in 1962 and the ensuing civil war to the founding of the Republic of Yemen.The aim of this work is to explore the emergence of new tribal loyalties and alliances within the Khawlan tribes that arose from their involvement in the Huthi conflict. Most Khawlan tribes had strongly supported royalist forces in the revolution of 1962 and the ensuing civil war due to historically evolved loyalties. By contrast, the Houthi conflict made obvious that the state policy of co-optation in the past few decades already led to a solid integration of those tribal leaders into the political system of the Republic. In the Huthi conflict the majority of the Khawlan leaders positioned themselves on the side of the Republic. Since many ‘simple’ Khawlan-tribal people still fought on the side of the rebels, new alliances and divisions within the tribal society of the Khawlan b. Amir emerged.The source material for this investigation is based on the author’s experience inside the Yemen, as well as on thoroughly scrutinizing original Arabic and some Western written sources.
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