Opportunities for SSR in Yemen

Marie-Christine Heinze & Hafez Albukari

Study   •   December 20, 2017

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Heinze, Marie-Christine & Hafez Albukari (2017) “Opportunities for SSR in Yemen,” in Addressing Security Sector Reform in Yemen Challenges and Opportunities for Intervention During and Post-Conflict, Ed.: Marie-Christine Heinze.

As the Yemen conflict draws on without much hope for a comprehensive peace agreement to be reached anytime soon, the international community is looking for ways to contribute to the stabilization of those areas in Yemen where ‘the war’ is considered to be over, i.e. particularly in the South and/or in so called ‘islands of stability’ that remain unaffected by the ongoing fighting. Various approaches in the framework of security system reform (SSR) are currently being considered with the objective of providing security and justice to the local population, as well as with the objective of being able to build on these efforts once more comprehensive measures are possible. However, against the backdrop of a plethora of armed (in)security actors currently operating in Yemen as well as limited or non-existent (internationally recognized) government control over large parts of the country, opportunities for engagement are currently limited. Nonetheless, there are a number of approaches the international community can take in order to make security provision in Yemen more tailored to the needs and priorities of local populations and to thus contribute to stabilization. Such endeavors, this paper argues, need to carefully consider in which areas a state-centric approach might be the most feasible so as to rebuild or maintain what is left of existing state structures, and in which areas an involvement of non-state security actors might render the best results from a community perspective – without calling into question the principal role of the state in security provision.