Yemen Geopolitics

Yemen Geopolitics

According to itypeusa, Yemen has been a unitary state entity since 1990, the year of the reunification of the Arab Republic of Yemen (also known as North Yemen) with the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, of a socialist nature and corresponding to the current central-southern area of ​​the country. 16 years after reunification and after the 1994 civil war, the north-south dispute is still open and represents one of the parallel planes of internal instability. To make the current Yemeni political landscape intricate, a series of critical issues (patronage, disintegration of the state entity, tribalism, precarious socio-economic conditions, corruption and malfeasance)Aqap) and the Province of Sana’a, sometimes to the rampant sectarianism that sees the Shiite-zaydite Houthi oppose the Salafist groups allied to the local tribes, supported by the Islamist party al-Islah – a political group belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood galaxy – and financed by the Saudis. These levels of political instability have favored a constant escalation of violence that suddenly turned into a civil conflict indirectly supported by foreign powers.

Saudi Arabia, a neighboring country, represents, in this perspective, Sana’a’s greatest ally. The Saudi monarchy is the main guarantor of Yemeni security, not only due to territorial proximity, but also to limit the threat of a Shiite encirclement – and in this case Iranian – that would take place in the event of increased political and military leverage of the Houthis. The former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, ally of the insurgent group and authentic kingmaker of the Yemeni political scene for over thirty years, played a not insignificant role in favoring the advance of the rebels towards the south of the country.

For the same Saudi reasons, Oman also tries to support the stability of the neighboring country and maintains tight border controls. The United States is also an important partner for Sana’a, to which it annually reserves economic and military aid, partly destined for the fight against terrorism. Yemen is the only country on the Arabian Peninsula that is not part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but it maintains good relations with all Arab countries in the area. On the other hand, relations with Iran are tense, accused of supporting the anti-government Shiite guerrillas and of exploiting internal disagreements in an anti-Saudi key.

Given its geographical position, which has sparked the sights of many countries as an important crossroads for trade routes between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Yemen takes part in the dynamics of another difficult area, the Horn of Africa, on the other side of the Gulf of Aden. By virtue of this, Sana’a has established important political and diplomatic relations with Somalia, of which it welcomes thousands of refugees.

International relations and Yemeni foreign policy are conditioned by this double fragility, which forces the government of Sana’a to seek – both in the region and in wider contexts – interlocutors capable of strengthening the solidity of the regime.

Since unification, the Yemeni state structure has been organized according to the model of a presidential republic, the only exception to the system of monarchies, sultanates or emirates prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula. Alongside the figure of the president, elected directly by the people for seven years and, in fact, the true head of the executive, the prime minister, who is appointed by the head of state himself, is relevant. Legislative power is formally entrusted to a bicameral parliament.

YEMEN. – Knowledge of Yemen has partially progressed with scholarly trips to Ṣan‛ā ‘and inland regions; it should be remembered the passage of H. St. J. Philby on the eastern borders in 1936 and, the same year, an excursion by the Syrian Nazīh el-Mu’ayyad to Ma’rib. It is currently divided into six provinces called liw ā ‘ and ruled by emirs, except Ṣan‛ā ‘which is directly administered by the central government; the population has never been surveyed and the uncertainty regarding the calculation of the residents persists, just as the surface area is not known due to the imprecision of the borders to the east. A calculation derived from the central accounting service on the basis of the collection of tithes, but which probably gives figures higher than the truth, establishes for Yemen a total population of 4.069487 residents (of which about 50,000 Jews), divided as follows by province:

Normal tax revenue in 1943-1944 was over six million thalers in currency, plus about four million in kind. In the same year land customs collected 46,859 thalers, maritime customs (mainly el-Ḥodeidah) 1,472,345 thalers.

The country’s economy has remained stationary and only automotive communications have improved for a few years. Political isolation also lasts, as there is still a lack of representation from and to abroad. However, in 1945 the government joined the Arab League, in 1947 (August) Yemen was admitted to the UN and a Yemeni prince, Saif el-Islām ‛Abd Allāh, visited the United States on that occasion. An agreement, concluded on May 4, 1946, established relations with the United States, whose government in May 1947 granted the loan of one million dollars.

The internal order has not undergone any changes, although the need for reform is felt by some of the Yemenis, especially by those who, having traveled, are aware of the progress made by other countries. In the last two years a reform committee headed by a son of the Imām, Ibrāhīm, had been set up in ‛Aden and violently attacked the government of Ṣan‛ā ‘; the committee was connected with the discontent in the country and is believed to have ordered the attack that cost the life of Imām Yaḥyà on February 17, 1948.

Yemen Geopolitics