(Human) Insecurity in a Fragmented State

Mohamed al-Iriani and Mareike Transfeld

YPC Research Debrief   •   March 26, 2020

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The brutal war and dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen has created a fragile security situation in the country. The public perception of safety reflects conflict dynamics and Yemen’s fragmented state. In a recent Yemen Polling Center (YPC) survey, a fifth of the population was found to feel unsafe; 65 percent on the other hand feel mostly or always safe. Women generally feel less safe than men.1 How people feel about their security varies widely by geographic area; determining factors are the nature of the de facto authority present in a given area and whether multiple authorities are in conflict for control. While Yemenis are united in their concern about living conditions, geography determines the way people feel about economic conditions and their physical security. In short, there are clear differences between the sentiments of the residents in areas held by Ansarallah (Houthis) and those in the rest of the country. The former endures more economic stress and fears the continuation of war and airstrikes; the latter fares slightly better in terms of living conditions, but fears militias, criminal gangs, armed groups and insecurity related to what residents perceive as the “absence of the state.”