always learning


Fer C



Fernando Carvajal has lived on and off in the Republic of Yemen since June 2000, with his most recent visit in April 2014. Main research interests include: tribal societies, state building, processes of democratization, political participation by Islamist groups, military affairs, and security in the Greater Middle East. The author holds a BA in Political Science, an MA in National Security Studies. Studies in Yemen include brief Arabic courses at the Yemen Language Center (YLC), where the author also spent two summers working as Cultural Liaison for YCMES under Mr. Sabri Salim.

The author has conducted field work in major cities of Yemen such as Aden, Amran, Hodeida, Mareb, Mukalla, Sadah, Sana’a, and Taiz. Research has produced work on State institutions in modern Yemen, understood in the context of studies by Manfred W. Wenner and Paul Dresch, such as the origins of the military during the Zaydi Imamate and the British Colonial era. Other works have focused on the relationship between tribe(s) and central authority, under the Zaydi Imamate, the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR, 1962-1990), and the era of the Republic of Yemen (1990 – present). Studies on Islamist groups include political participation by Sunni and Zaydi actors, as well as the presence of armed local and transnational groups, such al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the rise of ISIS in Yemen.

This blog is also a product of years of learning from a number of great minds and excellent friends from various cities in Yemen. Many ordinary men and women, young and old, as well political and tribal figures from across the country have provided great insight into the complex history of the southwest of Arabia and its contemporary politics. It is a priority here to provide some of that knowledge to others interested in learning of Yemen’s history and attempting to understand the present.

This blog assumes readers have substantial knowledge about Yemen, for it does not aim to introduce an audience as primary intent. A number of sources will be provided to guide readers to sources with historical background when seen appropriate, but the text will not contain basic information on events or personalities involved.

It is also my intent to dedicate these pages to the people of Yemen, so that in some form or another it may contribute slightly to a better understanding of what 26 million people need to enjoy peace and stability. And lastly, I dedicate much of this task to the late Dr. Abdul Karem al-Iryani (d. Nov. 2015). Dr. Iryani opened his home and his box of knowledge to me a few years ago, thanks to Dr. Bahran. I miss our late night dinners and discussions in Sana’a, and his readiness to provide his support merely upon a phone call. I regret not having said a proper good bye, simply leaving with a friendly ‘see you soon’ as I departed Sana’a in 2014.

Recommended readings:

Resilience in Time of Revolution: Saleh’s instruments of survival in Yemen (2011-2015) https://cy.revues.org/2870

No end in sight for Huthi-Islah conflict