Yemen. At the beginning of the year, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF reported that nearly 1,400 children had been killed in the Yemen conflict between the Saudi-led military alliance and the Huthir bells. The UN calls the country’s conflict the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world: 7,000 people have died since 2015, 3 million are on the run and 20 million are suffering from famine or are in need of humanitarian aid. According to UNICEF, in November, 11 million children in Yemen were in dire need of humanitarian aid. Of these, 2 million were severely malnourished. Add to that the cholera epidemic that hit the country in the spring. By the end of the summer, more than 500,000 had fallen ill and nearly 2,000 had died in the suites of intestinal disease. In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on 5,000 new cases each day.
Recurring reports of boat refugees along the Yemeni coast tell of great tragedy: in March, more than 40 Somali refugees were killed when their boat was subjected to a helicopter attack, and in August some 60 migrants died after being pushed out of the boats.
According to Countryaah.com, Yemen was also hit by US President Donald Trump’s entry ban when the country and six other Muslim states were stopped in January for entry into the United States.
Saudi Arabia closed the border with Yemen in early November after the Yemeni rebels fired a missile at the Saudi capital Riyadh; however, the missile could be shot down. The reason for the closure was said to be the desire to stop Iranian weapons supplies to the Huthirbels. After two weeks, the border was reopened so that relief could reach the starving civilian population.
On December 4, Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed in the capital Sana in connection with an escape attempt. He was very likely on his way to Saudi Arabia Yemen to open up talks with the Saudi-led coalition when he was killed by his former allies, the Huhira rebels. With his death there is a very high risk of escalation of the conflict. And quite rightly: just a few hours later, ex-President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi urged his compatriots to stand up to the huhirebells.
Yemen’s older history
Yemen was known as an ancient Arab cultural kingdom already ca. 1200 BCE The country’s location at the entrance to the Red Sea has given ancient and modern times a very important strategic position. In ancient times, Yemen controlled the deliveries of important goods such as spices, incense and myrrh. Because of its fertility and its well-developed agriculture as well as its commercial wealth, Yemen in classic times became known as Arabia Felix (happy Arabia), and the country was then one of the richest in the world.
Two of the best known kingdoms in the area were the mines’ kingdom (c. 1100 – c. 600 BCE) and Saba (c. 950 – c. 115 BCE). In the 100th century before our time, the heavens took power. From the 20th century, the area was under Aksum, in today’s Ethiopia; in 525, Yemen was conquered by Ethiopians, who in 575 were displaced by the Persian Sasanids.
In the 600s, Yemen transitioned to Islam and came under the supremacy of the Caliphate. From the 8th century the country was ruled by local dynasties and imams, until in 1517 it was occupied by Ottoman forces. This occupation lasted formally until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The Ottoman occupation of Yemen was not least caused by the Portuguese attack on Aden in 1513 and the fear of Portuguese rule over the holy sites of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. An Ottoman ruler was deployed to San’aand ruled in the name most of historic Yemen, but in reality had little control over the country, which was ruled by local rulers, one of the most important being the Sultan of Lahaj. There were repeated revolts against the Turkish government, not least from the Zaidi clan; the most comprehensive of these was led by imam Yahya in 1904. 100,000 Ottoman soldiers sent to Yemen, unsuccessful in fighting the uprising, which ended in 1911 after a peace settlement. A direction in Islam, Zaidi, is still prevalent in parts of Yemen.
The port city of Aden already played an important role in the trade with India from ancient times, but after the discovery of the sea route there the importance was reduced. After Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, the port city became more strategically interesting for Britain, which occupied the island of Perim in 1799. In 1839, a force from India invaded Aden, which was incorporated into the British Empire, ruled from Bombay (Mumbai); control was then taken over by the Governor General of India from 1932.
The Sultan of Aden signed a peace treaty with Britain in 1857, after Aden had become a free port in 1853. The importance of Aden became even greater after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, and the British signed agreements with a number of local rulers who accepted British protection. An Ottoman attempt to conquer Aden in 1915 was halted, and in 1937 the city gained the status of a British crown colony. The areas that made up later South Yemen were called respectively. the eastern and western Aden Protectorate and each consisted of a number of Sheikhs and Sultanates. Developments in the two Yemeni states were in many ways different, but both were characterized by strong social and political contradictions, both internally and between the two states.