Yemen 2005

Asia

Yearbook 2005

Yemen. In and around the city of Sada in the northwest of the country, riots erupted in March and April as security forces clashed with supporters of government hostile spiritual leader Husayn Badr ad-Din al-Huthi who had been killed in fighting in 2004. Huthi’s organization Faithful Youth (Shabab al-Mumin) and an unknown number of government soldiers.

In crowds in March, military was reported to have killed at least 36 people in the city of Aden. The riots broke out there and in several other cities since the government announced that it would cut subsidies on petroleum products by half, which would lead to higher prices, i.e. petrol.

According to countryaah, Sanaa is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Yemen. A high court ruled in February the death sentence against one of the two men convicted of the assault against the US ship USS Cole 2000. The convicted man was held in US custody in an unknown location. The other had his sentence converted to 15 years in prison.

In September, the country’s official news agency reported that more than 10,000 paperless refugees from Somalia and other African countries had been arrested and held in a detention camp in the province of Abyan in the southern part of the country.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Health announced that 179 people had been infected by polio in an ongoing epidemic, especially in al-Hudayda on the Red Sea.

As a consequence of the Gulf War, 1 million Yemenites were expelled by Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. The move was a consequence of Yemen’s pro-Iraqi stance during the war. Despite these circumstances, Yemen, Saudi Arabia proposed a final solution to the border conflict between the two countries. A problem that had existed since 1930 when the Saudi neighbor had annexed 3 of Yemen’s provinces.

At the same time, another 1 million Yemenites returned from Africa – mainly Somalia. This repeated mass immigration had a major negative impact on the country’s economic situation. Unemployment was over 2 million out of the total population of 10½ million.

At the same time, the mass expulsion of Yemenites from Saudi Arabia in particular meant that the money supplies the country had previously received from the Yemeni migrant workers who sent money home to their families were now absent.

By the end of 1991, Yemen exported about 300,000 barrels of crude oil daily and expected to increase this figure. Still, it was limited to 200,000 barrels the following year, only to reach normal levels again the following year. The activities of the rebel groups and Saudi Arabia’s territorial requirements prevented the opening of new oil fields in the border areas.

The 36% unemployment rate and basic necessity increases triggered demonstrations in late 1992 and early 1993. At the same time, Islamic fundamentalists were accused of a number of attacks against South Yemeni politicians. Fundamentalists have extensive support among the poorest strata of the population.

In the March 1993 elections, Saleh’s party, the People’s General Congress, became the largest, gaining 122 seats against 62 for the Islamist Reform Party (Islah). Vice President Salem El Baidh’s Socialist Party came in third with 56 seats. In order to weaken the reunited Yemen which was seen as a “bad” example for the monarchies in the region, Saudi Arabia supported the liberation struggle led by El Baidh.

In May 1994, the detachment advocates proclaimed the formation of the Democratic Republic of Yemen in the southernmost part of the country, asking for diplomatic recognition from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Still, they were defeated by governmental forces. In July, the Council of Ministers adopted a general amnesty. At the same time, the government made Aden the country’s economic capital – a gesture to the people of the south.

In September, members of the Socialist Party had to leave the government, while Islah got 6 new seats in the government. At the same time, the constitution changed when it was decided that the Sharia should be the basis of all Yemeni law.

In February 1995, 11 parties formed a new alliance – the Democratic Coalition of the Opposition – with the aim of drawing closer to power. At the same time, the government entered into a preliminary agreement with Saudi Arabia, in which both countries declared their readiness to definitively settle the border dispute and strengthen bilateral relations.

In December, Eritrean forces landed on the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea, perceived by the Yemeni government as aggression and triggered armed conflict. Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak intervened in this conflict and in March Yemen and Eritrea accepted an international resolution of the dispute. By the end of the year, however, the main points had not yet been resolved.