Zaidiyyah Minority at the Yemeni Socio-Political Continuum
The study aims to analyze the phenomenon of the Zaidiyyah minority in Yemen. Particular attention is paid to formation of the Zaidiyyah identity. The difficulties of reaching a compromise between the Zaidiyyah minority and the Sunni majority in the recent history of Yemen have been identified. This article shows that one of the fundamental causes of the current Yemeni conflict which began as a response to the events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, is destruction of status quo between the Zaidiyyah religious elite (Sayyid and Qadi) and the sheikhs of Zaidiyyah tribes existed in Yemen for centuries. The attempt of al Ahmar family to break this balance in favor of tribal sheikhs by spreading the Wahhabi ideology led to the fact that the Yemeni conflict of the 21st century has taken a multi-dimensional and deep character.
The articles in this book pose important questions about the place of chiefdoms on political antropology. First, we must ask if the very notion of the chiefdom has become outdated. Can the chiefdom be regarded as an evolutionary stage? Do archaeological data adequately correspond to it? Does it make sense to offer definitions to the chiefdom, and is not the value of all typologies rather limited? Has the introduction of this notion been beneficial to archaeology or has it only obscured the situation? The chapter is devoted to the analysis of chiefdom analogues, or various evolutionary alternatives to the chiefdom: poleis, autonomous towns and complex village communities, cast-clan systems, non-hierarchically organized territorial groups and federations of villages, certain types of tribal systems, and so on. All chiefdom analogues' forms can be subdivided into a few types: monosettlement analogues (with the majority of the population concentrated in a single central settlement); horizontally integrated polysettlement analogues; and corporate analogues. The notion of chiefdom analogues which we put forward will advance the theoretical analysis of the cultural-political variations among medium-complex societies where chiefdoms are bound to occupy one of the main positions.
The main research subject of this book is the phenomenon of the "positive deviation" in Sabaic epigraphy, i.e. the use of the plural in the places where one would expect the singular or dual. The quantitative analysis of this phenomenon undertaken in this book leads me to the supposition that its main causes are social and not purely linguistic, though the linguistic trend towards the supplanting of the dual by the plural observed in Middle Sabaic epigraphy can partly (but only partly) explain the positive deviation from the dual. Hence, the study of this phenomenon leads me to the following suppositions with respect to the social history of ancient Yemen: (1.) Clan organization seems to have played an important role in the social life of Middle Sabaean society (= the Middle Sabaean cultural-political area = the Northern part of the area of the Middle Sabaic epigraphy, the 1st century BC - the 4th century AD): (1.a.) All the main types of immovable property (fields, vineyards, houses, irrigation structures, wells &c) were considered as a rule almost without exceptions to be the property of clan groups, but not of the individuals. (1.b.) Clan groups (not individuals) were considered to be chiefs of the tribes.
1.c. Clan groups were often considered to be both objects of the client dependence, and the patrons of the clients ('dm).
1.d. Tribes were often considered to consist of clan groups (not of individuals).
2. In the Ancient Sabaean cultural-political area (the 1st millennium BC) the role of the clan organization was remarkably less important.
2.a. It is impossible to say that almost all kinds of immovable property were considered here to be in the possession of clans. In the majority of the cases individual (not clan) possessions are mentioned in the Ancient Sabaean inscriptions. Though private ownership might not have become completely universal in the Ancient Period, it is quite evident that the process of the formation and proliferation of this form of ownership went quite far in this Period.
2.b. In the Ancient Period the individual forms of cliental dependence seem to have played a much more important role than the clan ones. In the majority of the cases individual persons (not clients) were considered to be both "patrons" and "clients".
2.c. Individual persons (not clans) were usually considered to be leaders of tribes and communities in the Ancient Period.
2.d. Tribes were always considered to consist of individuals (not clans) in this period.
3. One may suppose that the process of the formation of the state and civilization in the Lowlands went far enough in the Ancient Period to cause a considerable decline of the clan organization and the ejecting of it to the periphery (both in the spatial and social senses of this word) of the social system.
4. Hence, it is possible to suppose that with the transition from the Ancient to Middle Period the clan organisation in the "North" significantly consolidated, its social importance considerably grew.
5. The "archaization" of the social life in the Southern (Himyarite-Radmanite) part of the area of the Middle Sabaic epigraphy (most of which was a part of the Qatabanian cultural-political area in the Ancient Period) was less strong than in the Northern ("Sabaean") part. The Ancient "individualized" tradition survived in the South to some extent, and the positions of the clan organization were not so solid here as they were in the North.
6.The above-mentioned social changes fit quite well in the general picture of the Pre-Islamic Yemeni history.
6.a. Several factors described in Chapter 4 caused a significant decline of the Sabaean state and civilization by the end of the 1st millennium BC. The weakening state organization seems to have become incapable of providing guarantees of life and property to individuals, and it was the clan organization that took on these functions to a considerable extent. As a result we can see by the Middle Period the consolidation of the clan organization which acted as a partial substitute for the weak state. This process can be also considered as quite an adequate social adaptation to the new situation which appeared in the Sabaean cultural-political area by the end of the 1st millennium BC with the relative decline of the Sabaean Lowlands (caused by the above-mentioned factors) and the rise of the importance of the "Sabaean" Highlands. Indeed, the Middle "Sabaean" political system, which was much less like a regular state than the Ancient one which included strong clan and tribal structures as its integral elements, turned out to be a really effective form of socio-political organization for a complex society in the Northern Highlands. Most political entities which appeared in this region from that time till the present have showen evident similarities to the Middle "Sabaean" socio-political organization.
6.b. The Middle Sabaean political system may be also characterized as consisting of a weak state in its centre and strong chiefdoms on its periphery. However, there is no doubt that this was a real system, i.e. it had some integrative properties which could not be reduced to the characteristics of its elements. It should be also taken into consideration that the state and chiefdoms were not the only elements of this political system. It included as well e.g. a sub-system of temple centres and the civil community of M_rib, as well as some true tribes (not chiefdoms) in the area of the Sabaean Lowlands, primarily the tribes of the Amirite confederation. With the transition from the Ancient to Middle Period the Sabaean political system was essentially transformed, becoming as a whole very different from the "state", but remaining, however, on basically the same level of political complexity. Without losing any political complexity and sophistication, the Middle "Sabaeans" managed to solve in quite different ways the problems which in complex societies are normally solved by states, such as the mobilization of resources for the functioning of the governing sub-system, the territorial organization of a vast space and the provision of guarantees of life and property. The Middle "Sabaean" experience seems to demonstrate that a large, complex, highly developed (in comparison with for example an average chiefdom) and integrated territorial entity need not necessarily be organized politically as a state. This appears to show that for the "early state" the transition to the "mature state" or complete "degeneration" into "tribes" and "chiefdoms" were not the only ways of possible evolution. One of the possible alternatives was its transformation into a "political system of the Middle Sabaean type". The real processes of political evolution seem to have been actually much less "unilinear" than is sometimes supposed. A significant transformation appears to have occurred in the area in the Early Islamic Period, and by the late Middle Ages the political system of the former "Sabaean" region seems to have consisted mainly of a stronger state in its centre and true tribes (not chiefdoms) on its periphery, whereas regular state structures persisted in the Southern (former Himyarite) cultural-political area.
6.c. The decline of the Ancient Qatabanian state took place significantly later than that of the Ancient Sabaean one. As a result the social continuity between the Ancient and the Middle Period in the Qatabanian cultural-political area was stronger, and the social transformation in the "South" turned out to be less dramatic. As a result in the Middle Period the state organization in the "South" appears considerably stronger than in the "North"; whereas the clan organization seems to have been much weaker. Quite an impressive feature of Yemeni history is that we find a more or less similar picture in 20th century Yemen: very strong clan-tribal structures and very weak state ones in the Yemeni Uplands to the north of Naq_l Yili (in the "Sabaean Highlands") and relatively weak clan-tribal structures and relatively strong state ones to the south of it, in the "Himyarite Highlands". Thus the above described picture appears as almost invariable in Yemeni history since the first centuries AD. This fact leads one to the supposition that there must be some fundamental basis for such a stable difference between the "North" and the "South". Its main objective factor is evident: the significant difference in the geographical conditions. It is really remarkable to find that the Highland territories of the two Middle Period cultural-political areas are practically identical with two main ecological zones of the Yemeni uplands.
7. The clan organization was not universal, even in the Middle Sabaean cultural-political area. The dense network of the clan relations was considerably weaker near the king and, perhaps, the most important temple centres, as they stood outside the clan organization and above it. In spatial dimensions, the zone of the weaker clan relations could be localized in the area of Marib and, perhaps, Nashq, Nashshan and San'a'.
An Arabic-Ethiopian Glossary by al-Malik al-Afḍal by Maria Bulakh and Leonid Kogan is a detailed annotated edition of a unique monument of Late Medieval Arabic lexicography, comprising 475 Arabic lexemes (some of them post-classical Yemeni dialectisms) translated into several South Ethiopian idioms and put down in Arabic letters in a late-fourteenth century manuscript from a codex in a private Yemeni collection. For many languages involved, the Glossary provides the earliest written records, by several centuries pre-dating the most ancient attestations known so far. The edition, preceded by a comprehensive linguistic introduction, gives a full account of the comparative material from all known Ethiopian Semitic languages. Detailed indices ensure the reader’s orientation in the lexical treasures revealed from the Glossary.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.