Yemen (GPS: 15 00 N, 48 00 E) is located in the Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The country’s area measurements are total: 527,968 sq km; land: 527,968 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is almost four times the size of Alabama, slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming. The total irrigated land is 6,800 sq km (2012).
One of Yemen’s essential features: Strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s most active shipping lanes.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Sanaa’s GPS coordinates are 15 21 N 44 12 E. Sanaa’s local time is 8 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+3.
The Kingdom of Yemen (colloquially known as North Yemen) became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and, in 1962, became the Yemen Arab Republic. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around Aden’s southern port in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen (colloquially known as South Yemen). Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation and changed its name to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement and brief civil war in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to delineate their border. Fighting in the northwest between the government and the Huthis, a Zaydi Shia Muslim minority continued intermittently from 2004 to 2010, and then again from 2014-present.
The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2007. Public rallies in Sana’a against then President Ali Abdallah SALIH – inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt – slowly built momentum starting in late January 2011, fueled by complaints about high unemployment, poor economic conditions, and corruption. By the following month, some protests had resulted in violence, and the demonstrations had spread to other major cities. By March, the opposition had hardened its demands and unified behind SALIH’s immediate ouster calls. In April 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in an attempt to mediate Yemen’s crisis, proposed the GCC Initiative, an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH’s refusal to sign an agreement led to further violence. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October 2011, calling for an end to the violence and completing a power transfer deal. In November 2011, SALIH signed the GCC Initiative to step down and transfer some of his powers to Vice President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI. Following HADI’s uncontested election victory in February 2012, SALIH formally transferred all presidential powers. Following the GCC Initiative, Yemen launched a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in March 2013 to discuss key constitutional, political, and social issues. HADI concluded the NDC in January 2014 and planned to begin implementing subsequent steps in the transition process, including constitutional drafting, a constitutional referendum, and national elections.
The Huthis, perceiving their grievances were not addressed in the NDC, joined forces with SALIH and expanded their influence in northwestern Yemen, culminating in a major offensive against military units and rival tribes forces to overrun the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. In January 2015, the Huthis surrounded the presidential palace, HADI’s residence, and critical government facilities, prompting HADI and the cabinet to submit their resignations. HADI fled to Aden in February 2015 and rescinded his resignation. He subsequently escaped to Oman and then moved to Saudi Arabia and asked the GCC to intervene militarily in Yemen to protect the legitimate government from the Huthis. In March, Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab militaries and began airstrikes against the Huthis and Huthi-affiliated forces. Ground fighting between Huthi-aligned forces and anti-Huthi groups backed by the Saudi-led team continued through 2016. In 2016, the UN-brokered a month-long cessation of hostilities that reduced airstrikes and fighting and initiated peace talks in Kuwait. However, the talks ended without agreement.
The Huthis and SALIH’s political party announced a Supreme Political Council in August 2016 and a National Salvation Government, including a prime minister and several dozen cabinet members, in November 2016, to govern in Sanaa and further challenge the legitimacy of HADI’s government. However, amid rising tensions between the Huthis and SALIH, sporadic clashes erupted in mid-2017 and escalated into open fighting that ended when Huthi forces killed SALIH in early December 2017. In 2018, anti-Huthi troops made the most battlefield progress in Yemen since early 2016, most notably in Al Hudaydah Governorate. In December 2018, the Huthis and Yemeni Governments participated in the first UN-brokered peace talks since 2016, agreeing to a limited ceasefire in Al Hudaydah Governorate and establishing a UN Mission to monitor the agreement.
In April 2019, Yemen’s parliament convened in Say’un for the first time since the conflict broke out in 2014. In August 2019, violence erupted between HADI’s government and the pro-secessionist Southern Transition Council (STC) in southern Yemen. In November 2019, HADI’s government and the STC signed a power-sharing agreement to end the fighting.
Yemen’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Yemen, traditional short form: Yemen, local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah, local short form: Al Yaman, former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen], etymology: name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term “yumn” (happiness) and be related to the region’s classical name “Arabia Felix” (Fertile or Happy Arabia); the Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as “Arabia Deserta” (Deserted Arabia). Name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term “yumn” (happiness) and be related to the region’s classical Name “Arabia Felix” (Fertile or Happy Arabia); The Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as “Arabia Deserta” (Deserted Arabia).
Yemen’s terrain is typically a narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the Arabian Peninsula’s desert interior. The country’s mean elevation: 999 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Arabian Sea 0 m, highest point: Jabal a Nabi Shu’ayb 3,760 m.
The country’s general climate is mostly desert: hot and humid along the west coast: temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon: extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in the east.
The total number of border countries is 2, Oman 294 km, Saudi Arabia 1,307 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Yemen’s coastline is 1,906 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200 nautical miles, or the edge of the continental margin. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 44.5%; arable land 2.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 41.7%; forest: 1%; other: 54.5% (2011 estimate).
The population in Yemen 28,667,230 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 34.6% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: SANAA (capital) 2.962 million; Aden 882,000 (2015), while Yemen has the vast majority of the population is found in the southern Sarawat Mountains, located in the far western region of the country. Their spoken languages are Arabic (official language). Note: a distinct Socotri language is widely used on Socotra Island and Archipelago; Mahri is still fairly widely spoken in eastern Yemen. Main religions in Yemen are Muslim 99.1% (official; virtually all are citizens, an estimated 65% are Sunni and 35% are Shia), other 0.9% (includes Jewish, Baha’i, Hindu, and Christian; many are refugees or temporary foreign residents) (2010 estimate). The nation uses a mixed legal system of Islamic law, Napoleonic law, English common law, and customary law. It is a(n) in transition, National holiday(s) Unification Day, 22 May (1990).
Economic overview for the country: Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilize and grow its economy. The current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food, fuel imports, and caused widespread dam infrastructure damage. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis – the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. Before starting the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue.
The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster the non-oil economy and foreign investment sectors. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies, and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen. However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts, and ongoing fighting unaccelerated its economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion before the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The government also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs.
Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues oThe Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014. Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.
Yemen’s natural resources: petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west.
Main export partners for Yemen, Middle East are China 24.5%, UAE 16.5%, South Korea 10%, Saudi Arabia 10%, Kuwait 9.1%, India 8.5% (2015) for crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas, while the main import partners for the country are: UAE 20.9%, China 14.3%, Saudi Arabia 9.9%, Kuwait 7.4%, India 4.6% (2015) for food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals.
When you visit this country in the Middle East, consider the natural hazards in Yemen: Sandstorms and dust storms in summer, volcanism: limited volcanic activity, Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (elevation 244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy, other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century, while infectious diseases are a degree gree of risk: high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016). Also, note that Yemen faces the following environmental issues: Limited natural freshwater resources, Inadequate supplies of potable water, Overgrazing, Soil erosion, Desertification.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Yemen around its total: 1,601 km border, like Oman, Saudi Arabia.