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A Storm Without Rain: Yemen, Water, Climate Change, and Conflict

Water_reservoir,_yemen

Water reservoir in Yemen, by Mufaddalqn

By Collin Douglas, Center for Climate & Security Research Fellow

The civil war in Yemen has old origins, but the recent violence can be traced back to the Arab Spring of 2011, and protests in Yemen over unemployment, corruption, and general dissatisfaction with President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[i]  On the surface, the civil war seems to be a politically-motivated competition for power among many actors with varying motives. However, underneath the obvious political and societal tensions, there lies a more basic tension: water. (more…)

From India to Yemen: Blackouts, Heat Waves and Civil Unrest

Water_reservoir,_yemenTwo stories of blackouts this week filled the international headlines: one from India and another from Yemen. Located over two thousand miles away from each other, the two cases share a few characteristics: the respective governments’ inability to provide a steady power supply to their citizens, climate and water stress, and serious public discontent as a result. (more…)

A Flood of Flood Reports: A global list of recent events

Mandakini-left-bank-broken-bridge-rudraprayag-sangam-gIn the past few weeks, we’ve noticed an unusual number of articles about significant flood events that are occurring, or have recently occurred, around the world.  Though it is far too soon to determine whether or not these floods are associated with climate change, projections for global rainfall variability suggest that more extreme and unpredictable flooding is likely in our future. The first step in preparing for such a future is recognizing and calling attention to these extreme events, and their real human security implications. Such reports are easily lost in the shuffle of the daily news cycle, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list below. (more…)

Friedman On Water and Climate Security in Yemen

Village_well_YemenTom Friedman with the New York Times recently penned an insightful article on the intersection of water, climate change, human security and broader security concerns in Yemen.  Most of the time Yemen shows up in the international news, it is about drone strikes on Al Qaida targets, or most recently, the release of abducted foreigners. Beneath all of this, Friedman points out, is the persistent insecurity over water resources. (more…)

Yemen: Instability, Water and Climate Change

The Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, an entity established by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign in 2008, has recently released a report on the complex sources of political, economic and social instability in Yemen, and the international dimensions of that instability. The report also touches on the water and climate change dimensions of the country’s security profile. Here are the relevant passages: (more…)

Yemen: The Problems We’re Not Hearing About

Yemen is plagued by massive security problems. It is a hub for domestic and international Islamist terrorism, housing some of al Qaeda’s most experienced and determined operatives, is currently the host of an intense drone-strike campaign by the United States, is passing through a volatile governmental transition (the UN Security Council issued a resolution yesterday threatening sanctions and calling for the cessation of hostilities from armed groups), and according to Nancy Lindborg at USAID, currently counts more than 550,000 internally displaced peoples. (more…)