“We cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform,”Now, this struck a cord with me. I wasn't sure why at the time but the phrase "civil society" sent up red flags in my mind. Just a few short clicks later and I realized why I was thinking this way. It turns out that the definition of Civil Society varies slightly but the one most used is the one from the London School of Economics Centre for Civil Society (closed in Septe,ber 2010) which describes it as:
Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations, community groups, women's organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups.
So basically, Civil Society refers to Community Organizations and unions (ACORN, SEIU, etc.) who operate independent of government and independent of the market systems. They are groups (non-profits, NGOs, faith based groups, etc.) that the left has used to advance their agenda over the years. So, Hillary Clinton is calling for Yemeni President Saleh to step down so that the community organizations and unions can begin to take over and reshape the country. The same unions and community organizations that have instigated revolts all over the Middle East. They are a mix of Socialist and Islamist groups with differing end goals who are uniting for the short term. Hmm...that sounds oddly familiar.... but I digress.
In Yemen, the groups vary from Al-Qaeda and Houthis, rival islamic jihadist groups to The South Yemen Movement and the Yemeni chapter of The Muslim Brotherhood. There are also influences from Middle Eastern, European and American left wing Socialist groups as there are in almost all of the Middle Eastern movements. Fundamental transformation indeed.