The Republic of Yemen was formed in 1990 when
conservative North Yemen and Socialist South Yemen
merged. At that time, an unusually democratic regime was
created for the region with multi-party systems and free
elections, but the cooperation grinned and after a brief
civil war the north side came to dominate. Separatist
efforts in both the north and the south have led to
recurring unrest. Since 2015, full war with neighboring
states is raging. The capital is held by Iran-backed
rebels, who are fighting bomb attacks by a Saudi-led
Sunni alliance on the government's side. Human need is
growing in the wake of the war.
Brief profiles of Yemen, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Yemen is on the surface slightly larger than
Sweden. The country was formed when North and South
Yemen united in 1990. The former border went diagonally
through present-day Yemen and divided it into a
northwestern and a southeastern part. Former South Yemen
was larger to the surface, but had a smaller population.
Yemen borders the Red Sea in the west and the Aden
Bay and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the east lies
Oman and in northern Saudi Arabia. The land borders have
been disputed. This is especially true of the border
with Saudi Arabia, which cuts straight through al-Rub
al-Khali, one of the world's largest sand deserts. A
number of islands also belong to Yemen, including Perim
in the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait at the inlet to
the Red Sea, as well as Suqutra, which lies off the tip
of the Horn of Africa, 35 land miles from Yemen's coast.
Along the coast towards the Red Sea lies a narrow
plain, Tihama, which is essentially dry. There are,
however, occasional oases and through the plain
occasionally run dry rivers, wadier. When filled with
water, arable farming can be run in the area. The water
comes from the mountain ranges with peaks over 3,000
meters running from north to south just a few miles
inside the coast. In the mountain landscape there are
sinks with relatively fertile soil.
Along the southern coast is also a high plateau,
whose highest altitude reaches 2,000 meters above sea
level. Through the plateau, parallel to the coast, runs
the great valley Wadi Hadramawt. From the mountains
along the coasts the land slopes inland and turns into
The climate varies with the height above the sea. In
Tihama in the west it is hot and humid, but because the
air is not cooled down it rarely rains. In the inland
desert areas and in the lowlands farthest east, the
precipitation is even more sparse. In some places it can
go up to ten years without it raining. In the
mountainous regions the climate is more temperate. The
summers are pleasantly warm and rainy while the winters
are cool and dry with occasional frost.
In the areas where the rainy periods fill sinks with
water, mosquitoes are spreading malaria, which is one of
Yemen's recurring weather-related health problems.
266 000 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Saudi Arabia, Oman
Capital with number of inhabitants
Sanaa 2 800 000 (including suburbs, UN estimate 2014)
Other major cities
Taizz 556 000, Hodeidah 471 000 Aden 693,000
Nabi Shuayb (3760 m asl)
Bomb against huthier
More than 33 people are killed when a bomb explodes in a cultural center in
the province of Ibb, where the hut movement gathered for a party.
Government approved, with conditions
Despite all the contradictions, the new government in Parliament is approved.
But Prime Minister Bahah is forced to agree to the condition of not applying UN
sanctions against Yemenis, in effect exempting President Saleh and skin leaders.
Schoolchildren die in bombing
At two car bomb attacks aimed at gunmen in the city of Rada, at least 31
people were killed, including 20 schoolchildren under twelve in a bus.
Violence in protest in Aden
A manifestation organized by the southern movement in the port city of Aden
leads to clashes. Police shoot protesters with bullets and tear gas. Several
people are injured.
Attacks against Iranian diplomat
A car bomb against Iran's embassy in Sanaa requires three lives. The
ambassador escapes. Al Qaeda claims to be behind the attack, the second of the
year against Iran's interests in the country.
Al Qaeda snorts at IS "caliphate"
According to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist movement, the caliphate movement
encompassed in Iraq and Syria now includes Yemen. Al-Qaeda's foothills on the
Arabian peninsula, Aqap, call the play "illegitimate".
Fighting against al Qaeda
The al-Jazira channel reports that 60 Houthis were killed when the movement
invaded the Rada district of al-Bayda, held by al-Qaeda. Confrontations between
al-Qaeda and huthirbelas have been a daily phenomenon for a total of about 400
Sanctions against Saleh
UN Security Council introduces sanctions against ex-President Saleh and two
military leaders for the Huthirbells. The three are charged with travel bans and
may freeze any assets. The reason is that they are considered to threaten
stability. Saleh's party The General People's Congress (AFK) then withdraws its
support for the new government and demands that the cooperation be renegotiated.
The huhire rebels also question the government and demand a change of minister.
Bahah forms government
Parties and groupings enter into an agreement and urge Prime Minister Bahah
to form a national unity government made up of both technocrats and
representatives of various political camps. A week later, Bahah presents a
government of 34 ministers, five of whom are women.
The South raises the tone
Thousands of South Yemenis gather in the port city of Aden for a three-day
meeting to demand independence for southern Yemen. The mass protest is being
organized by a new alliance formed by larger separatist groups, primarily a
movement called al-Hirak.
Huthier enters port city
The Huthirebels occupy the port of al-Hudayda. Through the harbor a large
part of the goods are imported to Sanaa. The rebels also advance in the
provinces of Dhamar, Ibb and al-Bayda south of Sanaa. They soon master the
highway between the capital and the largest port city of Aden.
Bahah becomes prime minister
President Hadi appoints another head of government, on the proposal of the
hut movement. The new Prime Minister is Khaled Bahah. He comes from Hadramawt
Province in the east and has a career as an oil minister and diplomat behind
Suicide bombings in Sanaa
At least 47 people are killed when a suicide bomber unleashes an explosive
charge at a huhima manifesto against the appointment of the new prime minister.
No group is to blame for the attack, according to the BBC's deadliest in Sanaa
since 2012, but suspicions fall on al-Qaeda. In Hadramawt, a suicide bomber
takes 20 soldiers to death.
Disgusted with the government
President Hadi appoints Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak as prime minister, but the
huhirebells claim that negotiations are still ongoing.
The Huthis take Sanaa
The Huthirebels occupy the government headquarters, the radio and several
military installations in the capital. Prime Minister Muhammad Basindawa resigns
after criticizing President Hadi. Shortly thereafter, the rebels and the
government are reported to have signed an agreement mediated by the UN:
President Hadi is to appoint political advisers from the skin movement and from
the separatist movement in southern Yemen within three days. The rebels, for
their part, must dismantle protest camps and retreat. A party-neutral head of
government and a national government shall be appointed. But the leaders of the
Hutians proclaim victory and the rebels show no sign of wanting to leave their
positions in the capital. A total of 200 people are reported to have been killed
in the fighting outside Sanaa between huhire rebels and government loyal
Fighting and curfew
At the same time as the protests in Sanaa, the fighting between huhirebel and
the loyalist militia continues north of the capital. In just three days, the
fighting is reported to require over 80 lives. The fighting reaches the city and
the government in the face of nightly curfew.
The contradictions degenerate
The government's promises have not soothed the protesters who continued their
protests in Sanaa. When police try to break a blockade on the way to the
airport, one person is killed and about 40 injured. The Chief of Police Special
Forces is dismissed, but the unrest worsens. Seven activists are shot to death
as they try to storm government buildings. In a suburb, huhire rebels and
government forces clash as the rebels try to drive in a wagon loaded with
weapons into the city. Negotiations between the rebels and the government begin
with UN envoys as mediators.
Promises from the President
President Hadi gives in to the pressure and announces that the government
should be replaced and that fuel prices should be lowered. The International
Monetary Fund (IMF) decides to lend over half a billion dollars to Yemen over a
three-year period. The money will be used for economic reform, to stabilize the
state's finances and to strengthen economic growth.
Huth leaders urge to protest
Abd al-Malik al-Huthi, the leader of the rebels, calls for the sharp
increases in fuel prices to be withdrawn. He also wants to see a government
transformation. In a televised speech, he urges sympathizers across the country
to protest. At the end of the month, armed militiamen travel to tent camps
around Sanaa to increase pressure on the government. In northern Yemen, there
are also clashes between the Houthis and the loyalist militia.
Fuel prices shock high
Fuel prices have skyrocketed since the government removed the subsidies on
fuel. Protests erupt in Sanaa and other major cities.
The master is replaced
President Hadi has fired the military commander of Amran province, writes
Yemen Times. At the same time, the commander of Hadramawt province in the
south-east, where the al-Qaeda terror network is established, is dismissed.
Among other things, al-Qaeda has managed to take hold and for a short time keep
the airport in the city of Sayun.
Rebels take Amran
After fierce battles, the Huhira rebels occupy the walled old town of Amran
just five miles north of the capital Sanaa. In Amran, President Saleh and the
influential clan al-Ahmar belong. According to the UN, hundreds of people are
killed in the fighting and tens of thousands of families are fleeing. After
negotiations, the rebels agree to allow the army to regain control, but the
Huthis remain in the area.
Yemen becomes a WTO member
Yemen becomes a member of the World Trade Organization and thus the WTO 's
160th member country.
Saleh's media closes
Signs of a power struggle between deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh and
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi are starting to emerge today. Hadi closes the
newspaper and TV channel Yemen today owned by Saleh. Both media have been
accused of running a campaign against Hadi's government. The President's force
also surrounds a mosque that Saleh controls and Hadi begins to move troops.
According to an anonymous official, Hadi suspects Saleh is preparing for a coup.
Ministers replaced after protests
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is reshaping the government since thousands
of Yemenis have gone out in the capital to protest electricity cuts and high
fuel prices. Hadi replaces the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, the Minister of Information, the Minister of Petroleum and the Minister
responsible for the electricity supply.
The Huthi movement is approaching Sanaa
Government flights bomb the positions of the Huthirbells in the province of
Amran in the north and support ground troops trying to drive away the rebels
controlling a highway to the capital Sanaa. Since the beginning of the year, the
skin movement has advanced from its home province farthest north to the capital
farther south. In June, the rebels will move ever closer to the capital.
Police headquarters are attacked by al-Qaeda
24th of May
Al Qaeda is believed to be behind a raid on a Sayun police headquarters in
southern Yemen. A security source says that a total of 27 people lost their
Bracket for al-Qaeda is taken
The government offensive against al-Qaeda continues and harvests around 40
terrorists' lives at the beginning of the month. On the tenth day of the
offensive, one of al-Qaeda's most important strongholds in the province of
Shabwa is taken. A month later, an army spokesman claims that more than 500
al-Qaeda men have been killed in the government's offensive. The United States
has temporarily closed its embassy following a series of attacks against foreign
Attack on the presidential palace
Several soldiers and insurgents are killed when the president's bodyguard is
attacked by suspected al-Qaeda supporters at the presidential palace in Sanaa.
The United States has temporarily closed its embassy following a series of
attacks against foreign diplomats.
Offensive against al Qaeda
The government has launched an offensive to drive al-Qaeda out of moorings in
the southern province of Abyan. During two days of attacks with American drones
and government flights, around 70 people are killed. After the air strikes,
ground troops are deployed in several cities.
al-Qaeda attacks Aden
At least twenty people are killed when al-Qaeda attacks an army headquarters
in the port city of Aden in the south.
Be afraid of roadblocks
24th of March
At least 20 soldiers are killed in a raid on a military roadblock in the
eastern province of Hadramawt. The terror network al-Qaeda is suspected to be
behind the deed.
Migrants in accident at sea
At least 42 migrants from the Horn of Africa are dropping in a boat accident
off the coast of Shabwah.
Security manager is replaced
Interior Minister Abd al-Qadir Qahtan is replaced because he has failed to
improve security in the country. He is replaced by Abdu Husein al-Tarib, who in
turn will remain in the post until October.
Federation proposal clear
A political committee was set up in January to decide whether the future
federation decides that there should be six states, four in the north and two in
the south. The capital city of Sanaa should have a stand-alone position. The
decision is criticized by leaders from the south, where the separatist movement
intends to continue fighting for independence. The Huthi rebels in the north
reject the proposal, citing that Shiite-dominated areas would end up in a state
without natural resources and connections to the sea.
A ceasefire is concluded between the huthirebels and the clan-affiliated
hashid in the north after fighting between them for nearly a week took nearly
150 lives. However, the ceasefire does not include the leading clan in the
hashid, al-Ahmar, whose stronghold the Huthi people took in at the end of
Point of Reconciliation Conference
A national reconciliation conference, initiated in March 2013, is formally
concluded after major contradictions. Representatives of southern Yemen have
turned to a proposal to divide the country into a federation of six units - four
in northern Yemen and two in the south. The proposal is sensitive because it
controls how the seats in Parliament should be distributed. The South Yemenites
want a unity for northern Yemen and one for the south. The conference agreed
that President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi should remain in office until the
constitution is clear and presidential elections can be held.
Diplomat dies in kidnapping attempt
An Iranian diplomat is shot dead in Sanaa. The attack is the fourth against
an employee at a foreign embassy since October 2013.
Try to stop clan battles
Armistice closes between Shiite Muslim huthirebels and Sunni Muslim warriors
who fought each other in the city of Dammaj in the north since October. Dammaj
is the focal point for Sunni fundamentalist Salafists. The fighting has spread
and they continue, despite the cease-fire, when the Huthis come into conflict
with the clan-affiliated hashid accused of supporting the Sunnis.