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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Arab Spring: Yemen

This guide aims to direct those who are studying the Arab Spring to relevant Arabic resources within the University of Illinois and in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Sudan.

UIUC Library Resources

Search Strategies

This list of Keywords and phrases will allow you to hone your search for materials on Yemen during the Arab Spring

  • Yemen Revolution
  • الثورة اليمنية
  • Yemen Protests
  • احتجاجات اليمن
  • Yemen Uprising
  • انتفاضة اليمن
  • "Day of Rage" Yemen
  • يوم الغضب في اليمن
  • Ali Abdullah Saleh
  • علي عبد الله صالح
  • "Arab Spring" Yemen
  • الربيع العربي اليمن
  • "Change Square" Yemen
  • ساحة التغيير اليمن
  • Yemen Taiz Protests
  • احتجاجات اليمن تعز
  • Yemeni Civil War
  • Saudi Arabia, Yemen

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Yemen اليمن

Inspired by demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, Yemeni civilians began demonstrating against their government in early 2011. The particular target of their demonstrations was then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had controlled the country since 1990. At first, protests were relatively tolerated. However, over a few months time, the Saleh government's response to popular demonstrations became more and more severe, culminating in the killing of dozens of protestors in March 2011. The violence used to disperse the anti-Saleh protests prompted numerous government officials and military members to resign, which, combined with continued protest, pressured Saleh into signing a power-transfer agreement in late 2011. This power-transfer agreement was realized with the popular election of Abdrabbuh Hadi as head of state in 2012. He was originally intended to hold office for 2 years, during which he'd guide the drafting of a new constitution and prepare for presidential elections in 2014.

However, before this transitional process was finished, conflict once again broke out in Yemen. In 2014, the Houthi armed movement progressively seized control of important government buildings and residences in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a, in protest of fuel subsidy reforms and purportedly seeking a greater say in the new constitution. What began as occupation eventually became an all out coup d'etat, with Hadi resigning from office in 2015. This coup sparked a civil war in Yemen, which in turn prompted the Saudi Arabian government to intervene.

As of February 2020, fighting continues throughout Yemen, between the Houthi government (known as the Supreme Political Council), Hadi loyalists aided by Saudi Arabian forces, and al-Qaeda fighters seeking to take advantage of the conflict to establish a new base. The entire country is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, including high rates of illness, displacement, and food insecurity. Almost 10 years after the Jasmine Revolution, Yemen's political future remains deeply uncertain.


Good Resources for Getting Started


Religion and the evolution of democracy: A revised Selectorate Model for the Arab Spring

Bagherpour, Amir. The Claremont Graduate University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2012. 3512471.


One Hand: Military Structure and Middle East Revolts

Burns, Sean. Northwestern University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013. 3595563.


Explaining attitudes of political contention in Yemen: Legitimacy, protest, and political violence

Linford, Matthew K. University of Notre Dame, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016. 10142677.


Banat al yaman: The empowerment and disenfranchisement of Yemeni women pre and post unification

Alshaif, Gokh Amin. University of California, Santa Barbara, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10633854.


A century of upheaval: The fall of the Imamate and the rise of the Huthis in Yemen, 1904-2014

Johnsen, Gregory De. Princeton University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10276797.


Diversionary discourse: A historical comparison of Saudi interventions in Yemen

Tynan, Caroline F. Temple University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2019. 13814148.