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History of Yemen

The Republic of #Yemen is located at the Southern end of the Arabian peninsula & borders the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia & Oman. The Zaydi family, a Shia sect from Iraq, arrived in Yemen in the 9th century & would influence the Yemenite culture & civilization for around 1000 years. In 1837, Britain gained control over Southern Yemen & the port city of Aden, but in the beginning of the 20th century clashes erupted between the Ottomans and the British. Consequently, the country was divided into Ottoman North Yemen & British South Yemen. After WW1, Shia Imam Yahya declared an independent kingdom in North Yemen. When his son, who had succeeded him, died, army officers gained control & proclaimed the Yemen Arab Republic. Soon after Britain left South Yemen a communist coup established the Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, which became a client state of Moscow.

After the collapse of the USSR the two states united & Ali Abdallah Saleh became the first president of the republic. Nevertheless, tensions between the two states remain and in 1994 a secession war broke out between Saleh supporters & factions of the Yemeni Socialist Party. Saleh won the war and stayed in power until protestors demanded political change & an end to corruption, food insecurity & unemployment during the Arab Spring in 2011. Saleh handed over power to his deputy Hadi. As the population grew disillusioned by the new president, even Sunnis started backing the Shia rebel group named Houthis. During the so-called September 21 revolution the #Houthis gained control over the capital and its neighbouring provinces, forcing president Hadi into exile. Worried that Yemen could become a stronghold of Iran, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on the Houthis. The Saudi-led coalition established a blockade in 2017 that increased food insecurity. Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as the population is suffering from #malnutrition, disease, poor health & the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the suffering.

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