Violence in Yemen: Thinking About Violence in Fragile States Beyond the Confines of Conflict and Terrorism

This article examines the different forms of criminal violence that affect fragile states, with special reference to Yemen. The article is particularly interested in analysing the relationship between violent offending with no clear political motive, underdevelopment and conflict. It does so by conducting an in-depth evaluation of conflict and crime in Yemen, using publicly accessible data to suggest new ways of understanding violent criminal behaviour in Yemen and elsewhere. This article is written in response to a prioritisation of political violence, insurgency and terrorism in international development and stabilisation strategies, which has emerged alongside the broad securitisation of international aid. Common forms of criminal violence have been overlooked in a number of fragile contexts, as they have been in Yemen. In light of rising levels of insecurity, resulting from poor relationships between the state and its citizens, there is a need to re-evaluate this unstated omission if the new Yemeni Government is to gain increased legitimacy by being seen to prioritise the protection of its citizens.