Chart: Bani Helal Tribe Hierarchy

February 7, 2013

The Bani Helal is a large tribal group in northern Shabwah, which includes several sub-tribes. Geographic and genealogical proximity do not create harmony, however. Members of the Bani Atef, a Bani Helal sub-tribe, became embroiled in a feud in November 2012 with members of another Bani Helal sub-tribe due to a matter of a love affair between members of the respective groups, according to local reporting.[1]  This and other instances of inter- and intra-tribal fighting raise serious questions about the challenges posed by relying on local tribes to protect U.S. interests in Yemen.

Click graphic to enlarge.



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“Question about the Bani Halal,” Shabwah Forum, January 13, 2007 [Arabic]. Available:

“Tribes of Abyan,” Hadramawt Forum, November 4, 2009 [Arabic]. Available:

[1]“Tribal clashes in Shabwah due to honor crime,” Barakish Net, November 26, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: