Ye Men

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Table of ContentsIntroduction ___________________________________________________________ 4 Geography ____________________________________________________________ 5Introduction _______________________________________________________________ 5 Area ______________________________________________________________________ 5 Geographic Regions and Topographic Features __________________________________ 6Coastal Plains ____________________________________________________________________ 6 The Yemen Highlands _____________________________________________________________ 7 Eastern Plateau and Desert __________________________________________________________ 8 Islands _________________________________________________________________________ 9

Climate __________________________________________________________________ 10 Drainage _________________________________________________________________ 11 Bodies of Water ___________________________________________________________ 12 Major Cities ______________________________________________________________ 13Sanaa _________________________________________________________________________ 13 Aden __________________________________________________________________________ 14 Taizz _________________________________________________________________________ 14 Al Hudaydah (Hodeida) ___________________________________________________________ 15 Al Mukalla _____________________________________________________________________ 16

Environmental Issues _______________________________________________________ 16Water Scarcity __________________________________________________________________ 16 Other Issues ____________________________________________________________________ 19

Natural Hazards ___________________________________________________________ 19

History ______________________________________________________________ 21Introduction ______________________________________________________________ 21 Ancient Kingdoms _________________________________________________________ 22 The Advent of Islam ________________________________________________________ 24 Competing States __________________________________________________________ 26North Yemen ___________________________________________________________________ 26 South Yemen ___________________________________________________________________ 27

Road to Reconciliation ______________________________________________________ 28 Unified Yemen ____________________________________________________________ 28 Recent Developments _______________________________________________________ 31

Economy _____________________________________________________________ 34Introduction ______________________________________________________________ 34 Hydrocarbons _____________________________________________________________ 35Oil ___________________________________________________________________________ 35 Natural Gas ____________________________________________________________________ 36

Agriculture _______________________________________________________________ 37 Manufacturing ____________________________________________________________ 38

Taxation _________________________________________________________________ 39 Banking __________________________________________________________________ 39 Foreign Investment ________________________________________________________ 40 Tourism __________________________________________________________________ 41

Society _______________________________________________________________ 42Introduction ______________________________________________________________ 42 Ethnic Groups and Languages _______________________________________________ 43 Religion __________________________________________________________________ 43 Gender Issues _____________________________________________________________ 44 Qat Chews ________________________________________________________________ 47 Food _____________________________________________________________________ 48 Clothing __________________________________________________________________ 49 Arts _____________________________________________________________________ 50Poetry _________________________________________________________________________ 50 Dance _________________________________________________________________________ 51 Architecture ____________________________________________________________________ 51

Sports ___________________________________________________________________ 52

Security ______________________________________________________________ 54Introduction ______________________________________________________________ 54 Yemen: Tribal Republic __________________________________________________ 55 U.S.Yemen Relations ______________________________________________________ 56 Relations with Regional Countries ____________________________________________ 57Saudi Arabia ___________________________________________________________________ 57 Oman _________________________________________________________________________ 59 Iran ___________________________________________________________________________ 60 Somalia _______________________________________________________________________ 61

Terrorist and Insurgent Groups ______________________________________________ 61Al Qaeda ______________________________________________________________________ 61 Houthi Rebellion ________________________________________________________________ 62 Southern Mobility Movement ______________________________________________________ 64

Water Security ____________________________________________________________ 65 Threats to Internal Security _________________________________________________ 66Corruption _____________________________________________________________________ 66 Refugees and Economic Migrants ___________________________________________________ 67 Poverty ________________________________________________________________________ 68

Armed Forces _____________________________________________________________ 68 Looking Ahead ____________________________________________________________ 69

IntroductionThe Republic of Yemen was established in 1990, when the states of North and South Yemen merged. The division was born of differing historical and cultural influences. North Yemen comprised the Red Sea coastal plains and much of the adjacent, isolated highland region to the west. The Zaydi imamate, a Shiite theocracy, emerged in the highlands in the late ninth century.1 It exercised some type of political control over shifting portions of the region until 1962. From the 16th through early 20th centuries, the Zaydis competed with the Ottoman Turks for power in the north. In 1962, the imamate was overthrown and replaced by the government of the Yemen Arab Republic (19621990), though Zaydism remains the dominant faith. South Yemen comprised not only the south, but also what is now central and eastern Yemen. In contrast to the Zaydi-dominated north, this region had for many centuries been populated by Sunni Muslims of the Shafii school. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the south was occupied by the British, who exerted control over the port of Adenan important commercial refueling, provisioning, and trans-shipment port between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. After the British withdrew from the south in 1967, a Marxist government was established which became dependent on support from the Soviet Union. During this time, South Yemen adopted the name Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen (19701990). The two governments had engaged in unity talks since the 1970s with limited progress. The merger was ultimately facilitated by economic necessity when South Yemen was on the verge of losing its primary patron after it became clear the Soviet Union would be disbanded. The new state, the Republic of Yemen (RY), promised to bring democracy to the Arabian Peninsula. But a smooth transition to universal suffrage seemed unlikely given that Yemen lacked good physical infrastructure and the impoverished population was largely illiterate. Despite civil war, insurgency in the north, and a resurgent secessionist movement in the south, successive elections have been deemed competitive by outside observers and kept President Ali Abdallah Saleh in power. Saleh has been able to create an extensive patronage network, with resources often funneled through tribal shaykhs, who operate as local power brokers in regions that the central government does not control. Thus, much decision-making takes place outside the formal institutions of governance.2 This arrangement makes it difficult to diminish corruption and introduce

1

Zaidism is a branch of Shia Islam, constituting the form of Shia Islam that is closest to Sunnism. The former rulers of Yemen, the Imams of Sanaa, were leaders of the Zaydi sect. The sect developed as a purely political expression of support for the rule of the Prophet Muhammads cousin and son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, and his descendants. In Zaidism there is no veneration of Ali or any of his descendants as infallible supernatural leaders of the Muslim community, unlike that found in some other Shiite sects. 2 Norwegian Peace Building Centre. Saif, Ahmed Abdelkareem. Complex Power Relations in Yemen Provide Opportunities for al-Qaeda. February 2010. http://www.humansecuritygateway.com/documents/Noref_ComplexPowerRelationsInYemenProvideOppor tunitiesForAlQaeda.pdf

transparency, which governments that provide the republic with foreign aid require. Saleh has described governing Yemen as akin to dancing on the heads of snakes.3 His ability to sustain this delicate balance is threatened by declining national revenue that is generated from the countrys oil reserves, which are expected to be exhausted by 2017.

GeographyIntroductionYemen, in the Middle East (o