Yemen's dream of a civil society suffocated by religion and tribalism

The conference was a big part of a deal brokered by the UN and the gulf cooperation council that ushered in a transitional period after Saleh give up power to his then unknown deputy, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who later was voted in as interim president, being the sole candidate in the election.

Under the terms of the transition, ministerial posts were apportioned between the opposition and ruling party, and the army, which, dominated by Saleh's relatives, was given a facelift with a purge of some commanders.

Chaperoned by the UN envoy Jamal Benomar, the national dialogue conference was supposed to address all the problems of Yemen and prepare for a new constitution and free elections.

But instead the dialogue, dominated from the start by the old traditional powers, finally concluded four months late on Saturday, its final act the publication of a report with about 1,400 recommendations which have extended the transitional period and allowed an extra year to draft a charter and vote on it.