Yemen is plagued by structural and horizontal inequalities. The state has long been challenged by a myriad of non-state actors, such as the Houthis, the Southern Movement, and the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Although the Yemeni conflict itself and the mediation efforts of the UN and the GCC are widely reported, the EU’s role in this conflict is a surprisingly neglected topic. In fact, it is only discussed in-depth by Eshaq and Al-Marani (2017) and Girke (2015). Girke takes a comprehensive and technical approach when she looks at the mediation capacities of the EU in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) peace agreement and it’s main outcome, the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). Eshaq and Al-Marani (2017) on the other hand uses a local level, actor focused approach and builds their insights on the 71 interviews conducted with local and foreign stakeholders in Yemen. Both studies enhance academics and policy-makers understanding of the present conflict, however they often neglect such decisive factors as the role of individual member states, the general structural difficulties associated with civil war mediation, and the problems arising form multiple mediator presence. This article complements and updates these previous studies by including a more consistent theoretical framework. In accordance, this study places the Yemeni-EU relations in the context of the civil war mediation (CWM) literature. Besides, I examine individual member states’ approach to the conflict and account for these policies impact on the mediation efforts. Therefore, I can capture the dynamic relationship between insurgents, governments, and mediators before, during, and after mediation took place.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. The first section offers a theoretical overview of the civil war mediation literature with a special focus on bargaining theory (Fearon 1995). Section 2 introduces the Yemeni internationalized civil war and the main actors involved in the fighting. Section 3 places the EU-Yemeni relations in a historical perspective, the EU’s various policies before, during and after the Yemeni Arab Spring. The subsequent section shows how individual EU member states can influence either positively or negatively the EU’s institutional mediation opportunities and capabilities in Yemen. The last section summarizes the findings, offers further avenues for research.