Yemen is a country located in Western Asia. With the capital city of Sanaa, Yemen has a population of 29,825,975 based on a recent census from
COUNTRYAAH. The country was divided into North and South
Yemen until 1990, when the disintegration of the Soviet
Union contributed to unity, as South Yemen, which had
been a communist, faced collapse. In 1994, a civil war
was fought in which the South Yemeni influence was cut.
The strong man in the north Ali Abdullah Saleh then
dominated all of Yemen. But falling oil revenues and
riots undermined his rule. 2011 protests erupted in
connection with the Arab Spring. It ended the sale of
Saleh's regime and led Yemen to collapse as a state.
Northern Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire in the
early 1900s, but the Ottomans found it difficult to gain
full control. The Imam played an important role in the
resistance. In 1911, Yemenis and Ottomans signed a
treaty that meant formal Ottoman supremacy, but in
practice the Imam gained control of the highlands and
Ottomans over the coastal plain of Tihama. During the
First World War, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and the
Imamate of northern Yemen became fully independent in
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Yemen. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
The ruling Imam Yahya also claimed South Yemen, which
was under British colonial administration. The claims
were based on kinship with the Himyaritic kings, and the
claims also included the provinces of Asir and Najran in
Saudi Arabia. This led to screenings with the British
and conflicts with Saudi Arabia. In 1934, peace was made
between Yemen and Saudi Arabia and the Imam relinquished
much of its demands in the north, but conflicts
continued. Check best-medical-schools for more information about Yemen.
In 1948, North Yemeni leader Imam Yahya was
assassinated by political opponents. The power was taken
over by his eldest son Ahmed, who continued to rule as a
single ruler, but broke the isolation of the Nordjemen
from the outside world. Ahmed died in 1962.
A group of army officers took the opportunity. With
the help of Egypt, they overthrew the new imam, Ahmed's
son, and proclaimed the Arab Republic of Yemen. This led
to a civil war between "republicans" and imprisoned
"royalists" who received Saudi support. Egypt withdrew
its troops in 1967, while the Saudis decided to accept
the new North Yemeni Republic as a counterweight to the
newly formed socialist state of South Yemen. The war
ended in 1970. Northern Yemen became dependent on aid
from Saudi Arabia and other countries, and continued to
be shaken by tensions fueled by the rival government of
South Yemen. In 1974, a bloody military coup was carried
out in the north that drove President Abd al-Rahman al-Iryani
from power. The successor Ibrahim al-Hamadi was
assassinated in 1977.
Power was then taken over by Ali Abdullah Saleh.
After a few troubled years of fighting against both
domestic opponents and South Yemen, the situation
stabilized. In 1982 Saleh convened a partially elected
parliament, the General People's Congress (AFK), which
would act as a political mass movement. Northern Yemen's
economy also improved, although the country remained
dependent on aid. In 1984 major oil deposits were
discovered for the first time. The government became
somewhat more stable, which facilitated a merger with
In the British-controlled South Yemen, the important
port city of Aden had developed rapidly, but there were
major differences between Aden and the countryside,
where local sultans ruled under British supervision.
Underground resistance cells against colonial power were
formed in Aden during the 1950s. In an attempt to
counter the nationalists, the British allowed some
Sultanates in the countryside to form a federation in
1959. Eventually, the Crown Colony of Aden was also
incorporated with the so-called Southern Arab
Federation, which was granted some autonomy.
Independence was promised until 1968.
From 1963, however, the National Liberation Front
(NLF) waged armed struggle for an independent socialist
state. NLF initially had support from Egypt, but soon
went too far to the left for Cairo's taste. Following
Egyptian pressure, NLF and another resistance movement
formed in 1966 a new alliance, the Front for the
Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (Flosy). NLF soon
broke the cooperation, and Flosy was further weakened by
the Egyptian withdrawal from North Yemen. The southern
Arab federation collapsed in 1967, and after
negotiations in Geneva, the British surrendered the land
to the NLF, which had crushed Flosy.
South Yemen was a ragged country. NLF's first
president, Qahtan al-Shaabi, was overthrown in a coup in
1969 and succeeded by a radical left wing under Salim
Rubay Ali. One-party system was introduced and in 1970
the state adopted the name Democratic People's Republic
of Yemen. South Yemen thus became the only communist
state in the Arab world, in a position of dependence on
the Soviet Union. Agriculture was collectivized, Aden
lost its role as a free port and South Yemen supported
armed left groups in North Yemen and Oman.
Between 1967 and 1972, a quarter of the population
fled to Northern Yemen. Many refugees were armed by
Saudi Arabia to try to overthrow the government in Aden,
and South Yemen similarly tried to undermine the regime
in the north. This led to fighting along the 1971-72
border. The conflict was aborted after mediation by Arab
states and was followed by an agreement on a united
Yemen. New battles erupted from 1978 to 1979 and
resulted in a South Yemeni invasion of North Yemen. This
war also ended with promises to form a common state.
In 1978 President Ali was deposed and executed, after
which NLF and several smaller organizations were merged
into a state-carrying party, the Yemen Socialist Party (JSP).
The party and the country's new leader Abd al-Fattah
Ismail advocated an uncompromising Marxist policy, but
soon had to go into exile in Moscow. The new head of
state, Ali Nasir Muhammad, maintained good relations
with the Soviet Union, but also tried to approach
neighboring countries. An iceberg took place between the
two Yemeni states.
But the opposition grew at home and in 1985 Ismail
returned from Moscow to take up the fight. A brief civil
war broke out in 1986. Ismail disappeared without a
trace, while Muhammad fled the country. A few days
later, former Prime Minister Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas
swore to the presidential order and took steps to
normalize the situation. New JSP leader became Ali Salim
al-Bid. Like their representatives, they continued to
seek better contacts in the region, but also with the
United States and other Western countries.
The Soviet Union's new foreign policy under Michail
Gorbachev brought about major changes for South Yemen.
Assistance to the JSP regime was cut and in 1989 the
centralized economy collapsed. A merger with North Yemen
appeared as the last opportunity to stabilize the
country and save what was left of JSP's influence.
Political parties were allowed, prisoners released and
Marxism-Leninism rejected. The road was open to an
association between North and South Yemen.
On May 22, 1990, the two states were officially
united. North Yemen's leader Saleh was appointed
president and South Yemeni leader Ali Salim al-Bid
became vice president. The leading political
organizations in North and South Yemen, AFK and JSP,
formed a unifying government. A presidency council was
established, including the Islamist party Islah; Islah
generally supported AFK against JSP. In May 1991, a
majority of the people of Yemen voted in favor of a new
constitution. Yemen was about to become the most
democratic country in the Arab world.
But the unity government suffered from severe
internal contradictions. Two very different political
traditions would be united, by leaders who looked at
each other with deep distrust. Reforms to merge the
former countries' state administrations and military
forces are being implemented in the future. The war in
the Persian Gulf in 1991 also had devastating
consequences for the economy. When Yemen opposed the
US-led military effort against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, among
others, responded by withdrawing aid and expelling
hundreds of thousands of Yemeni guest workers.
The situation became increasingly unstable, with
murders of politicians and violent protests against the
government. Nevertheless, the first parliamentary
elections could be held in 1993 under relatively calm
conditions. AFK won 123 seats, 62 seats went to Islah
and 56 to JSP. The three parties formed government. But
this meant that JSP, which had previously had half of
the government posts, lost in influence. The South
feared that the Union would be dominated by conservative
Islamic forces from the north. Gradually, JSP government
members left Sanaa to work from Aden instead.
In May 1994, civil war broke out and Bid declared
that South Yemen was resurrected as an independent
state. However, President Saleh and the North Yemeni
army received support from strong clan militia, Islamist
movements and some JSP hostile groups from the south. In
July it was clear that the north side won. By then
several thousand people had died in the fighting. Many
JSP leaders and thousands of soldiers fled to
The war strengthened the position of the North Yemeni
leaders and, despite all the talk of reconciliation, the
JSP was kept out of government. Islah instead received
several ministerial posts and Saleh made concessions to
the party's demands for religious influence.
To get out of the economic crisis, the government
turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The
economy was tightened to achieve a balance in government
finances and to increase the pace of growth.
When parliamentary elections were held in 1997, AFK
gained its own majority. JSP boycotted the election,
which became violent in several places. All parties
except AFK claimed that election fraud occurred. In the
first direct presidential election in 1999, Saleh won by
an overwhelming majority. He was supported by Islah
despite the party becoming more critical of his rule.
More radical Islamist groups began during this time
to launch attacks on foreign targets in Yemen, including
a US fighter in the port of Aden bombed by al-Qaeda in
2000. The United States was annoyed by Yemen's
unwillingness to cooperate fully in the pursuit of the
perpetrators. After the terrorist attacks in the United
States in September 2001, President Saleh approached the
United States and began to bring in the hard gloves.
The presidential power was gradually strengthened. At
that time, some of Saleh's former allies began to join
the opposition. This included Islah, who started a
collaboration with his former rival JSP. The United
Yemen's third parliamentary elections would have been
held in 2001, but postponed until 2003. In that
election, Saleh strengthened his position again. The
opposition accused the government of electoral fraud.
Saleh was re-elected president in 2006. However, the
situation became increasingly tense. Saleh slowly but
surely gained power in his own or his family's hands,
while the deteriorating economy made it difficult for
him to buy opponent loyalty. Living conditions drove
Yemenis into the arms of the opposition and local rulers
began to free themselves from Saleh. In 2007, Abdullah
al-Ahmar, who had been leader of both the Hashid clans
and Islah, passed away, and a new generation took over
the leadership. Throughout the country, protests and
riots became more common.
In the summer of 2004, a war broke out between the
government army and a Zaydite rebel group in the Sada
province in the north. The rebels called themselves al-Shabab
al-Mu'min (Believer Youth) but became more known as the
Hut movement after leader Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi.
The Huthi movement said they had resorted to weapons to
combat the discrimination they claimed to be facing
Zaydites in northern Yemen, but they also protested
against Saleh's cooperation with the United States and
made anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish
Bloody battles between the government army and the
Huthi came to flare up occasionally during the remainder
of Saleh's reign. The government accused the Houthis of
cooperating with Iran. Saudi Arabia in turn supported
Saleh and various clan militia linked to the Ahmar
family, the Islamist party and Sunni Islamist movements
that fought against the Houthis.
At the same time, Saleh's regime faced increasing
resistance in the south. In the spring of 2007, a
protest movement for greater autonomy - or even
independence - for southern Yemen began to emerge, the
so-called Southern Movement. The demonstrations were
encouraged by JSP. The government often turned down the
protests by force, which only increased the anger in the
Meanwhile, the problems with al-Qaeda on the Arabian
Peninsula (Aqap) grew, which also began to carry out
attacks abroad. In 2009 and 2010, the group was close to
successfully blowing up American airliners. It sought,
through propaganda in English, to attract Muslim youth
from the United States and Europe. Above all, however,
Aqap fought against the Yemeni government and attacked
Saudi targets. The United States began to carry out
aerial and drone attacks in Yemen on a large scale in
2011. It weakened Aqap, but also undermined the support
for Saleh, as many Yemenis were upset over US actions.
Parliamentary elections that would have been held in
2009 were postponed until April 2011, after JSP and
Islah threatened with boycott. The wave of popular
protests that erupted in the Arab world in 2011 spread
to Yemen. During the first half of the year, protesters
held mass protests demanding Saleh's departure. Soon,
rulers also began to turn against the president,
including his relative General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar and
the new leader of the Hashid clans Sadiq al-Ahmar. At
the same time, unrest spread. Local insurgency was given
more space as the regime weakened. Security forces hit
hard on protesters. In February and March, hundreds of
people were estimated to have been killed.
In April 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Organization
(GCC) presented a plan to resolve the crisis peacefully:
in exchange for pledges not to stand trial, Saleh would
hand over power to its Vice President, South Yemenite
Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi, after which the UN would help
Yemen write a new constitution and holding elections.
The United States supported the GCC initiative.
Many opposition supporters felt that the GCC
initiative was too mild against Saleh. The president
agreed to accept the plan, but every time he signed the
agreement, he found sweeping reasons to refrain. In May,
fighting erupted in Sanaa, where army forces led by
President Ahmed Saleh's son, Sadiq al-Ahmar's clan
militia, Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar's military units, and other
clan and family militia controlled various
In June 2011, the president was wounded in an attack
on the presidential palace. He traveled to Saudi Arabia
to receive care, and Vice President Hadi temporarily
took over. At the same time, the protests and
negotiations continued. Saleh returned and said he was
ready to leave. The GCC initiative was supported by the
UN Security Council. In November, Saleh eventually
traveled to Saudi Arabia to sign the power surrender
plan. Hadi became acting president.