Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Tensions in Arabia: The Saudi-Yemeni Fault Line

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Tensions in Arabia: The Saudi-Yemeni Fault Line

Article excerpt

Tensions in Arabia: The Saudi-Yemeni Fault Line, ed. by Renaud Detalle. BadenBaden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2000. 169 pages. Maps. Annex to p. 181. DM 234, paper.

In this volume, six European specialists analyze different facets of the chronically tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In chapter one, Richard Schofield reviews the complex boundary dispute between the two neighboring states. Renaud Detalle discusses the broader Saudi-Yemeni relationship in chapter two. In the next chapter, Horst Kopp inventories both the water and petroleum resources possessed by the two countries, paying particular attention to what is (or might be) located in the border region.

Nathalie Fustier discusses Saudi perspectives and US interests in chapter four. Liesl Graz reviews the foreign policies of France, Germany, and Britain toward Saudi Arabia and Yemen in chapter five. Following this chapter is Eric Watkins' examination of European Union (EU) foreign policy options concerning the Saudi-Yemeni conflict under four different scenarios, ranging from peaceful resolution to open warfare. In chapter seven, Renaud Detalle proposes different foreign policy options that the European Commission itself might pursue, especially with regard to the political and economic development of Yemen.

Although the contributors to this volume are generally in agreement, there are some important differences between some of them. Whereas Renaud Detalle (in chapter two) seems to regard "Yemeni democracy" as an established fact, Eric Watkins correctly points out where reality diverges from rhetoric about this. But in Detalle's concluding chapter (which was written in late 1999, while the others appear to have been written in mid-1998), he refers to Yemen's "questionable democracy" (pp. …

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