Skip to main content
Select Source:

Yemen

YEMEN

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS YEMENIS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Yemen

Al-Jumhuriyah al-Yamaniyah

CAPITAL: Şan'ā'

FLAG: The national flag is a tricolor of red, white, and black horizontal stripes.

ANTHEM: Al-Watani (Peace to the Land).

MONETARY UNIT: The Yemeni riyal (yr) is a paper currency of 100 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 fils and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 riyals. yr1 = $0.00519 (or $1 = yr192.67) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is being introduced, but local measures remain in common use.

HOLIDAYS: Labor Day, 1 May; Day of National Unity, 22 May; National Day, 14 October; Independence Day, 30 November. Movable Muslim holidays include Laylat al-Miraj, 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', Milad an-Nabi, and 1st of Muharram.

TIME: 3 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Yemen is located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of Wyoming with a total area of 527,970 sq km (203,850 sq mi). Yemen shares boundaries with Saudi Arabia on the n, Oman on the e, Gulf of Aden on the s, and the Red Sea on the w, and has a total land boundary length of 1,746 km (1,085 mi) plus a coastline of 1,906 km (1,184 mi).

TOPOGRAPHY

The topography of Yemen features a narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains. Dissected upland desert plains in the center of the country slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The highest known point is the summit of Jabal Hadhur, rising 3,760 m (12,336 ft) above the Red Sea coast. The western part of the country contains fertile soil in its highland plateaus which rise from about 1,200 to 3,000 m (4,000 to 10,000 ft). A system of wadis drain mountain slopes into the desert and into the Gulf of Aden.

In December 2004, an earthquake centered in the Indian Ocean caused a tsunami that affected many of the nearby countries. There were only two confirmed deaths in Yemen, but damage to coastal fishing villages and businesses was severe.

CLIMATE

Extreme humidity combines with high temperaturesas high as 54°c (129°f) in the shadeto produce a stiflingly hot climate. Winds blowing northwest in summer and southwest in winter bring little rain but cause severe sandstorms. During January and February, however, the temperature averages about 20°c (68°f). The climate of the highlands is generally considered the best in Arabia. Summers are temperate and winters are cool, with some frost. Temperatures vary from 22°c (72°f) in June, the hottest month, to 14°c (57°f) in January. Rainfall in the highlands ranges from 41 cm (16 in) at Şan'ā' to 81 cm (32 in) in the monsoon area of the extreme southwest. The average year-round temperature at Şan'ā' is 18°c (64°f).

FLORA AND FAUNA

Vegetation is sparse along the coast, but in the highlands and wadis, it is plentiful. Acacia, date palm, and many fruit trees are common. Many varieties of grapes are cultivated. Custard apple, euphorbia, and spurge grow in abundance. Alpine roses, balsam, basil, wild elder, and Judas tree are among the flowers and herbs. Wild mammals include the baboon, gazelle, leopard, and mountain hare. Scorpions and millipedes are everywhere, but snakes are less common. Many varieties of birds are found, including the bustard, hawk, vulture, raven, parrot, hornbill, honeysucker, and weaver finch. More than 27,000 varieties of insects and over 600 specimens of flowering plants have been collected in Yemen. There are at least 66 species of mammals and 93 species of birds found throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Yemen's main environmental problems have long been scarcity of water, soil erosion, and desertification. Water pollution is a problem due to contaminants from the oil industry, untreated sewage, and salinization. The nation has 4 cu km of renewable water resources with 92% of annual withdrawals used for farming activity and 1% for industrial purposes.

Natural forests in mountainous areas have been destroyed by agricultural clearing and livestock overgrazing. The National Environmental Council, established in 1976, disseminates information on conservation. In response to the nation's environmental needs, the government of Yemen has created laws governing the use of the country's water supply. Law Number 42 (1991) protects water and marine life.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 6 types of mammals, 14 species of birds, 2 types of reptiles, 1 species of amphibian, 11 species of fish, 2 types of mollusks, and 159 species of plants. Endangered species include the northern bald ibis, the South Arabian leopard, slender-billed curlew, and two species of turtle (green sea and hawksbill). Queen of Sheba's gazelle and the Saudi Gazelle have become extinct in the wild.

POPULATION

The population of Yemen in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 20,727,000, which placed it at number 51 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 46% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 103 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 3.3%, a rate the government viewed as too high. Yemen's fertility rate, at 6.8 births per woman, is among the highest in the world. The projected population for the year 2025 was 39,644,000. The overall population density was 39 per sq km (102 per sq mi), with most of the population concentrated in the Tihama foothills and central highlands of Yemen. Most of southern Yemen is very sparsely populated.

The UN estimated that 26% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 5.15%. The capital city, Şan'ā', had a population of 1,469,000 in that year. Other large cities and their estimated populations include Ta'izz (2,363,000), Al 'udaydah (Hodiedah) (2,004,049), and 'Aden (568,700), the chief port.

MIGRATION

There were 1,168,199 citizens of Yemen working abroad in 1986. Most were working in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. When Yemen took Iraq's side in the war that followed its 1990 annexation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia effectively expelled an estimated 800,0001,000,000 Yemeni workers by revoking their work privileges. These workers had been sending home some $3 billion a year in remittances.

Many people from the Wadi Hadramawt in southern Yemen have worked abroad in East Africa, India, and Indonesia for centuries. Following independence and the establishment of a leftist regime in the PDRY, more than 300,000 people fled to the north, including about 80,000 Yemenis from the YAR, and virtually all minority groups left the country. Subsequent political upheavals resulted in further emigration.

In 1992 more than 60,000 Yemenis returned from the Horn of Africa, chiefly because of turmoil in Somalia. In 1998 and 1999, Yemen experienced a significant influx of Somali asylum seekers, who fled their country for economic reasons. They were accommodated in a refugee camp in Al Ghahain, near 'Aden, supervised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As of 2004, there were 66,384 refugees in Yemen, most from Somalia, and 2,270 asylum seekers and 39 returned refugees.

The net migration rate in 2005 was estimated as zero migrants per 1,000 population, a significant decline from 9.8 per 1,000 in 1990. Worker remittances in 2002 amounted to $1.2 billion. The government viewed the immigration level as too high, but the emigration level as satisfactory.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Since independence, the population has been almost entirely Arab. However, there are Afro-Arab concentrations in western coastal locations, South Asians in southern regions, and small European communities in major metropolitan areas. Many ethnologists contend that the purest "Arab" stock is to be found in Yemen. Classified as Joktanic Semites, the Yemenis claim descent from Himyar, great-grandson of Joktan, who, according to the book of Genesis, was descended from Shem, the son of Noah. Yemenis were prominent in the early armies of Islam and thus helped to Arabize much of the Middle East. The Tihama has been subjected to occupation and infiltration by many conquerors, and its people show significant admixtures of other racial types, including Negroid peoples. About 25% of the population are Akhdam, a group that is considered to be the lowest social class. This group faces a greater level of poverty and social discrimination that some other minorities. The history of the Yemenite Jews predates by centuries the Islamic Hijra (ad 622). How they came to settle in the region has not been determined.

LANGUAGES

Arabic, the national language, is spoken in a variety of dialects. In vocabulary and other features there is a considerable difference between the classical language used for writing and formal speaking and the spoken dialect used for ordinary discourse. Traces of the ancient South Arabian languages spoken prior to the coming of Muhammad appear in the dialects of the more remote districts of southern Yemen. Mahri, a rare and relatively unstudied language of unknown origins, is spoken in the east. English is widely understood in the former PDRY.

RELIGIONS

The Republic of Yemen is officially a Muslim country. Almost all of the inhabitants are Sunnis of the Shaf 'i school, one of the four major schools of Islamic law. They reside chiefly in the coastal plains and the southwestern part of the country. Most of those remaining are Shias of the Zaydi sect, who live in the highlands. This sect, originating in the 9th century, takes its name from Zayd bin 'Ali (d.740), a descendant of Muhammad, and doctrinally is very close to Sunni Islam. In addition, there is a small minority of Ismailis, members of another Shia sect.

Nearly all of the country's once sizable Jewish population has emigrated. There are no legal restrictions on the few hundred who remain, although there are traditional restrictions on places of residence and choice of employment. About 500 Jews live in the villages between Şan'ā' and Şa'dah in northern Yemen. There are also small Christian and Hindu communities. In remote areas there is still evidence of shamanism, animism, and other indigenous forms of religion.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, but the government does enforce some restrictions. Conversion of Muslims to other religions is punishable by death; non-Muslims are prohibited from proselytizing and holding public office.

TRANSPORTATION

Through the 1950s, Yemen's transportation system consisted of a few primitive mud tracks connecting the larger towns. Then, in 1961, technicians from China completed a 224-km (139-mi) road between Şan'ā' and Al 'udaydah, the country's first asphalt highway. Seven years later, the United States finished the 386-km (240mi) highway linking Şan'ā', Ta'izz, and Al-Mukha; the USSR completed a road from Ta'izz to Al 'udaydah in 1969. Other paved roads extend from Şan'ā' to Ma'rib, from Şan'ā' to Sa'idah, from Ta'izz to At-Turba, from the Şan'ā'-Ta'izz highway to Al Baydā, and from Ta'izz to Aden ('Adan). A direct link between Şan'ā' and Wadi Hadhramaut via Marib was completed in 1999. By 2002, Yemen had about 69,263 km (43,040 mi) of roadway, of which only 9,963 km (6,191 mi) were paved. In 2003, passenger cars numbered 290,208, while there were 331,410 commercial vehicles. There are no railways or waterways in Yemen.

Improvements to the main port of Al 'udaydah have expanded berthing, storage, and handling facilities and increase cargo capacity to 1,750,000 tons annually. Other ports are Al-Mukha, Aden, and Salif, which have sheltered harbors and deepwater berths capable of taking 10,000-ton ships. In 1999 the 'Aden Container Terminal opened with further expansion plans underway. In 2005, Yemen had a merchant fleet of five ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 19,766 GRT.

Progress in air transportation has been rapid in recent years. In 2004 there were an estimated 44 airports, 16 of which had paved runways as of 2005. The principal airfield, capable of handling modern jet aircraft, is Ar-Rahba International Airport, north of Şan'ā'. There are smaller international airports at Al 'udaydah, Ta'izz, and 'Aden. 'Aden International Airport was renovated and Şan'ā"s renovation was scheduled for late 2001. Yemen Airways (Alyemda), the national airline, operates services between Şan'ā', Ta'izz, Al 'udaydah, and Al-Bayda and also schedules flights to Egypt, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The airline carried about 844,000 passengers in 2003.

HISTORY

Classical geographers divided Arabia into three regions: Arabia Petraea ("rocky"), Arabia Deserta ("deserted"), and Arabia Felix ("fortunate"). The last, the southwestern corner, included the territory now occupied by Yemen. The region was the site of a series of rich kingdoms that dominated world trade. The wealthy kingdom of Sheba (or Saba), with its capital at Ma'rib, is the best known of the South Arabian kingdoms. The prosperity of this kingdom (10th to 2d centuries bc) was based on the spice and incense trade. Competition from new trade routes undermined Sabaean prosperity and caused the kingdom to decline. From the 2d century bc to the 6th century ad, the Himyarite dynasty, of ethnic stock similar to that of the Sabaeans, ruled in Arabia Felix, and paganism gradually gave way to Christianity and Judaism.

The Himyarite hegemony was ended in 525 by invading Christian Ethiopians, whose rule lasted until 575, when they were driven out by Persian invaders. Islam was accepted in the next century, and Yemen became the battleground of Muslim religious factions. The coastline (Tihama) was held by the Sunnis of the Shafi'i School, while the highlands were controlled by the Zaydis, a Shia sect.

In the 9th century, a Zaydi ruler, Yahya al-Hadi ila'l Haqq, founded a line of imams that survived until the second half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, Yemen's medieval history is a tangled chronicle of contesting local imams. The Fatimids of Egypt helped the Isma'ilis maintain dominance in the 11th century. Saladin (Salah ad-Din) annexed Yemen in 1173. The Rasulid dynasty (Kurdish and Turkish in origin) ruled Yemen, with Zabid as its capital, from about 1230 to the 15th century. In 1516, the Mamluks of Egypt annexed Yemen; but in the following year, the Mamluk governor surrendered to the Ottoman Turks, and Turkish armies subsequently overran the country. They were challenged by the Zaydi imam Qasim the Great (r.15971620) and expelled from the interior around 1630. From then until the 19th century, the Ottomans retained control only of the coastal area, while the highlands generally were ruled by the Zaydi imams.

Early in the 19th century, Yemen was overrun by Wahhabis, but in 1818, Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Muhammad 'Ali of Egypt, drove them out of Yemen and reestablished Zaydi control. Egyptian troops occupied the main ports of Yemen until 1840, when they were withdrawn. The Zaydi imams recognized Ottoman suzerainty and paid a large annual subsidy to the Ottoman sultan. After 1840 the situation was anarchic, and law and order in any form was not reestablished until 1872, when the Ottomans again occupied Şan'ā' and consolidated their control. The northern mountains remained under the control of Zaydi imams from the Hamid ad-Din family. The Ottomans kept a large force in Yemen during World War I, but under the armistice terms evacuated it in 1918 and Yemen became independent.

In 1834 the British had occupied 'Aden as a coaling station on the route to India; the importance of the territory was substantially increased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

To protect its foothold in 'Aden the United Kingdom had signed a treaty of "protection and advice" with rulers of the tribes and states in the hinterland, leading to the adoption of the names Western Aden Protectorate (WAP) and Eastern Aden Protectorate (EAP). As long as northern Yemen remained at least nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire, relations on the frontier between the United Kingdom (in the WAP and EAP) and the Turks (in Yemen) were relatively peaceful.

During World War I the British supported the Idrisi tribe's attempt to establish itself in Yemen. In 1919 the United Kingdom occupied Al 'udaydah, which came into Idrisi hands when the British withdrew in 1921. The Zaydis, now led by Imam Yahya ibn Muhammad Hamid ad-Din, who had become imam in 1891, waged an armed struggle against the Idrisis that ended when Imam Yahya seized Al 'udaydah in 1925. The imam also sought to move into the states of the Western Aden Protectorate in an attempt to reestablish his suzerainty in these territories formerly held by the Yemenis. The Idrisis came under the protection of King Ibn Sa'ud, and in 1934, a war broke out between the Saudis and Yemenis. By the Treaty of Ta'if (May 1934), Yemen lost 'Asir to Saudi Arabia but won British and Saudi recognition of its independence. However, incursions by the Imams against the UK protectorate in 'Aden continued until 1962.

In 1959 the United Kingdom formed the six WAP states into the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South, with others joining later. The inhabitants of 'Aden, who were more politically and economically advanced than those of the protectorates, opposed adherence to the federation. Nevertheless, 'Aden in 1963 was merged into the federation, which then became known as the Federation of South Arabia.

The dispute over the future form and direction of this new political entity, as well as over which other states would join it, resulted in several years of factional violence, as various political parties, labor organizations, and other groups struggled for political ascendancy. Finally, in 1967, the National Liberation Front (NLF) emerged as the strongest political group, and the United Kingdom agreed to negotiate with it concerning future independence. On 30 November 1967 all the states of the WAP and EAP were amalgamated, the last British soldiers withdrew, and the NLF declared the independence of the People's Republic of South Yemen. On 22 June 1969 the head of the NLF, Qahtan ash-Sha'bi, was deposed by a group of young leftists of the NLF. The new regime, headed by a five-man council, renamed the country the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), developed close ties with the USSR, and secured economic aid from it and China. A further political alignment occurred in 1971, when Salim Rubaya 'Ali became head of state and 'Abd al-Fattah Isma'il was named head of the party, in an uneasy rivalry. In 1978 Isma'il, the head of the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP), formerly the NLF, overthrew and executed President 'Ali and assumed the presidency. Isma'il resigned his position in 1980, ostensibly for reasons of health, and went into exile. 'Ali Nasir Muhammad al-Hasani, the prime minister, assumed the presidency.

Meanwhile, Yemen joined the League of Arab States in 1945, and in 1958, it formed a federation, the United Arab States, with the newly established United Arab Republic (UAR). In December 1961 however, the pro forma federal connection with Egypt was severed, and in September 1962 the government of Imam Muhammad al-Badr, only a few days old, was overthrown by revolutionary forces led by Brigadier (later Marshal) 'Abdallah as-Sallal. He proclaimed himself president and commander-in-chief of the army and declared the establishment of the Yemen Arab Republic. Badr escaped to the northern regions of the YAR, where he organized a counterrevolutionary force.

A civil war between the royalists (defenders of the imamate) and the republican government broke out, and appeals by both sides for support brought about the active intervention of other Arab states. Saudi Arabia supported the royalist cause, and the UAR came to the assistance of the republic, dispatching up to 70,000 troops to the YAR; fighting was particularly bitter during the winter of 196364. Eventually the conflict subsided, as the Saudis curtailed their aid to the royalists and the Egyptians to the republicans. Sallal was deposed in November 1967 and replaced by a Republican Council. Talks between republican leaders and Saudi Arabia in March 1970 at Jiddah concluded with an agreement that ended the civil war and left the republicans in control.

In June 1974 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Iryani (who had been president since 1967) resigned, thrusting the country into a state of political confusion. By the end of the year Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Muhammad al-Hamdi had emerged as president, heading a government with powers of centralized control that were progressively strengthened. Hamdi was assassinated by unknown assailants in October 1977. His successor, Colonel Ahmad ibn Hussein al-Ghashmi, who formed a civilian government and established the Constituent People's Assembly, met a similar fate in June 1978, in a bomb blast in which PDRY involvement was suspected. Lieutenant Colonel 'Ali 'Abdallah Saleh thereupon became president. In 1982, he inaugurated the General People's Congress as an instrument for popular political mobilization.

Since independence, the PDRY was embroiled in conflicts with all three of its neighbors. A separatist movement was supported in Oman; there were border skirmishes with Saudi forces in 1969 and 1973; and the PDRY fought a brief war with the YAR in FebruaryMarch 1979. The war ended with a truce, mediated by the Arab League, and with an agreement in principle to seek unification of the two Yemens. On 13 January 1986 PDRY President Muhammad attempted to eliminate his rivals within the YSP. A number of officials were killed, including Isma'il, and Muhammad was forced into exile, along with thousands of his followers. A civil war ensued during the following two weeks, in which about 4,200 died and the supporters of Muhammad were defeated. Haydar Abn Bakr al-'Attas, the prime minister, took over as acting president; Dr. Yasin Sa'id Nu'man was appointed prime minister, and 'Ali Salim al-Bayd was chosen as the new head of the YSP. President al'Attas was officially elected in November 1986.

In late 1981 a constitution for the two Yemens was drafted. However, implementation was hampered by the continuing insurgency against President Saleh by the leftist National Democratic Front (NDF), which was based in, and reportedly aided by, the PDRY. Saleh was able to defeat the NDF militarily in 1982. Movement toward unification was maintained in repeated declarations and meetings through 1985, but no real progress was achieved. The January 1986 civil war in the PDRY set back relations between the two countries, particularly since 50,000 refugees fled the YAR, but both governments subsequently reaffirmed their commitment to unity.

In 1989 the leaders of the YAR and PDRY approved the 1981 draft constitution and their legislatures ratified it on 21 May 1990. The unified Republic of Yemen was proclaimed the following day. In the May 1990 election, 121 seats were won by the northern General People's Congress, 62 by Islaah (an Islamist and tribalist party), 56 by the southern Yemeni Socialist Party, 47 by independents, and 15 by five other parties. On 22 May 1990 Ali Abdullah Saleh became the president of Yemen and Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas the first prime minister, serving until 9 May 1994. A 30-month transition period was set for unifying the different political and economic systems. The army, police, and civil service were not integrated as planned, however. Meanwhile, the economy was hard hit by the consequences of Yemen's support for Iraq after the Kuwait invasion. It is estimated that Saudi Arabia expelled between 800,000 and one million Yemeni workers, thus depriving Yemen of some $3 billion in foreign exchange. In addition, the Saudis and Gulf states ended $2 billion in foreign aid. Unemployment in Yemen reached 30%.

Free and fair parliamentary elections were held in April 1992 with President Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) barely missing a majority victory. A three-party coalition was formed but foundered in late 1993 when Vice President Ali al-Beidh of the Yemen Socialist Party boycotted meetings. Although the quarrel appeared to be patched up with an agreement in February 1994, fighting broke out in May of that year. In a few months, thousands of casualties had been suffered; tribes, clans, and militias were engaged in seeking their own selfish goals and the city of 'Aden was under siege. Some observers attributed the civil conflict to the recent discovery of massive oil reserves in the south and to Saudi Arabia's interest in weakening Yemen by promoting the breakup of the union. The future looked bleak, despite efforts of the UN and some Arab states to promote peace. Meanwhile, on 9 May 1994 Muhammed Said al Attar became acting prime minister until 6 October 1994 when Abdel Aziz Abdel Ghani took office.

Although bloody, the civil war was short-lived, with the north having subdued the rebellious south by July. Restoring civil order was difficult, especially in light of the dire economic straits faced by the country, which in 1995 had 7090% inflation and a deficit of 17% of GDP. The IMF and World Bank stepped in after the war and instituted structural adjustment programs which brought inflation down below 10%.

In 1997 parliamentary elections were scheduled for May and it was expected that Saleh's GPC would retain its sizable majority. The international community expressed skepticism as to the fairness of the elections but, in the context of the Persian Gulf, they were expected to be reasonably fair. Notably, the YSP, representing the defeated south, announced that it would boycott the elections in protest of the GPC's collusion with Islaah, a tribal and Islamist party, to rig the elections. Saleh maintained the presidency and on 14 May 1997 Faraj Said Bin Ghanem became the new prime minister. On 29 April 1998 Bin Ghanem resigned and Abdel Karim al-Iriani became acting prime minister. In September 1999 President Ali Abdullah Saleh was reelected in Yemen's first direct presidential election. The YSP boycotted the election. Charges of fraud were made by the opposition with allegations of underage voting, multiple balloting, and unauthorized submission of ballots by absentee voters.

Yemen's history of kidnappings, over 100 Westerners the first six years of the 1990s, continued through 2000. In the past the kidnappings were economically motivated, i.e., Yemeni tribesmen asking for money. Later, others appeared ideologicalMuslims demanding the release of prisoners held by another Muslim group. Kidnappings damaged Yemen's economy by their impact on its tourist industry. Falling world oil prices also hit Yemen hard since oil accounts the vast majority of Yemen's exports. Yemen attempted to increase economic productivity with a campaign against qat (khat) chewing. Qat is a mild indigenous narcotic plant customarily chewed by some 75% of the Yemeni population. In August 1999 the government led by President Saleh, himself a qat user, launched a campaign to reduce qat usage by swearing off qat and encouraging others to follow his example. Anti-qat campaigns have been politically treacherous as former prime minister Mohsin al-Aini was ousted in 1972 after attempting to stamp out qat-chewing.

On 12 October 2000, two suicide bombers detonated a small boat containing explosives alongside the USS Cole as it was refueling in Aden harbor. Seventeen US sailors were killed and 39 others were wounded. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden praised the attack. Bin Laden, whose father was of Yemeni origin, had been indicted by the United States for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, attributed to al-Qaeda, the United States focused attention on governments in the world responsible for harboring and supporting terrorists. Since 1992, the United States has alleged that bin Laden and al-Qaeda targeted US military forces in Yemen, and that al-Qaeda has formed alliances with jihad groups in Yemen. In June 2001, Yemeni officials arrested 9 men believed to be affiliated with the Islamic Army of Aden, a fundamentalist group linked to bin Laden, for the 2000 attack on the Cole. The group was responsible for kidnapping 16 Western tourists in December 1998; four of the hostages were killed in a gun battle between the group and Yemeni government troops. The Islamic Army of Aden advocates the imposition of Islamic law in Yemen, is against the United States or other Western states using Yemeni ports or bases, and supports the lifting of international sanctions against Iraq.

In November 2001, President Saleh met with US President George W. Bush, assuring him that Yemen was a partner in the war on terrorism. In December, Yemen detained some 80 foreign students and teachers from an Islamic fundamentalist institute in the Marib province, where Yemeni special forces were searching for al-Qaeda suspects. In February 2002, Yemen expelled more than 100 foreign Islamic scholars, including British and French nationals, in an effort to curb the spread of terrorism. Scores of prisoners being held by the United States as a result of its 200102 campaign in Afghanistan are natives of Yemen. In March 2002, the United States was finishing plans to send hundreds of US Special Forces to Yemen, to "advise and assist" Yemeni forces combating armed groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

On 6 October 2002, the French oil tanker Limburg was the target of a terrorist attack in the Gulf of Aden, which killed one crewmember and released 90,000 barrels of oil. An explosives-laden boat hit the tanker, in an attack that was similar to the one on the USS Cole. On 3 November, a US CIA-controlled unmanned Predator surveillance plane fired a Hellfire missile into a car in northwest Yemen, killing six al-Qaeda operatives, including Qaed Salim Sunian al-Harethi, considered to be Osama bin Laden's chief operator in Yemen. Al-Harethi was also a suspect in the 2000 bombing of the Cole. President Saleh called on al-Qaeda members to renounce violence and turn themselves in to face trial in Yemen, as opposed to being turned over to the United States.

In December 2002, a North Korean freighter disguised as a Cambodian ship was intercepted in the Arabian Sea and seized at gun point by the US Navy and Spanish marines; the vessel was carrying a shipment bound for Yemen of 15 Scud missiles, warheads, and an agent used in Scud fuel. President Bush ordered the shipment released after concluding the Yemen-North Korean deal was concluded on a legal basis. Also in December, a Yemeni Muslim extremist killed three American doctors and wounded a pharmacist by opening fire in a Baptist hospital in the town of Jibla.

On 20 February 2001, Yemen amended its constitution to extend the presidential term of office from 5 to 7 years, and to reorganize the bicameral parliament. The referendum was passed by 73% of the voting population. Also in February, municipal elections were held for the first time.

In the summer of 2004, government forces battled supporters of an anti-American Shia cleric, Hussein al-Houthi, in the northern part of the country. Estimates of the dead ranged from 80 to 600. According to the government, Al-Houthi's group, called "Believing Youth," attempted to model itself after Lebanon's Hezbollah, and receives foreign funding. In September 2004, government forces killed al-Houthi. However, from March to May 2005, fighting resumed between government troops and supporters of the slain al-Houthi; more than 200 people were killed. In May, President Saleh announced the leader of the rebellion in the north agreed to renounce the campaign in exchange for a pardon, but some fighting continued, including in the capital Şan'ā'.

In July 2005, scores of people across the country were killed in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting a reduction in fuel subsidies. Tanks were deployed in Şan'ā'. The poor were most affected.

GOVERNMENT

The 1970 YAR constitution affirmed Islamic law as the basis of all legislation and established the unicameral Consultative Assembly as the supreme legislative body. The assembly was authorized to name the president and to appoint the ruling Executive Council. In the first national elections, held in 1971, voters selected 119 members of the Consultative Assembly; the president appointed the 40 remaining members. This body was dissolved in 1974, and in 1978, the Constituent People's Assembly replaced it, with 99 members elected and 60 members appointed by the president for a two-year term.

In the General People's Congress (GPC), created in 1982, 700 of the 1,000 members were elected, with the other 300 appointed by the government. Between meetings (held every two years), the GPC's affairs were to be handled by a 75-member standing committee. The president, elected by the Constituent People's Assembly for a five-year term, served as secretary-general of the GPC and commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appointed the prime minister and a ministerial council.

The 1970 constitution of the PDRY was ratified by the general command of the United Political OrganizationNational Front, which later became the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP). The Supreme People's Council, which had 111 members elected by universal suffrage at age 18, enacted laws; elected a Presidium and its chairman, who served as head of state; and chose the prime minister and the Council of Ministers. The YSP apparatus and the organs of government were closely intertwined.

The 1990 unity constitution established a political system based on free, multiparty elections. During the transitional period a presidential council was created with five members, three from the North and two from the South, to oversee executive operations. The council appointed a prime minister who picked a 38-member cabinet. A 301-member parliament was also formed, with 159 members chosen from the North, 111 from the South, and 31 at large. Constitutional amendments in 1994 eliminated the presidential council, and provided that the president would be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. In 1999, Yemen held its first direct presidential elections.

Legislative elections were again held in 1993, with the GPC maintaining its majority (124 seats). Islaah won 61 seats and the YSP took 55. Independent candidates won 47 and members of the country's dozens of other political/tribal parties took 13 seats. Following the 1994 civil war, the GPC and Islaah formed a unity government. The next parliamentary elections were in April 1997. The GPC maintained its dominance taking 187 of 299 seats. The YSP, the only substantial opposition since the GPC and Islaah joined forces, boycotted the elections, which they said were being managed by the GPC leadership.

On 20 February 2001, new constitutional amendments extended the presidential term of office from five to seven years, and extended the parliamentary term of office to six years. The president may now serve a maximum of two seven-year terms. A bicameral legislature was created, consisting of an upper house, the Consultative Council or Shura Council, with 111 seats appointed by the president; and a House of Representatives composed of 301 members elected by popular vote. The next presidential election was slated for 2006; President Saleh promised he would step down. Suffrage is universal at 18.

POLITICAL PARTIES

The National Liberation Front, which emerged in 1967 as the strongest faction in the disputes before South Yemen's independence, became the United Political OrganizationNational Front in 1970 and changed its name to the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) in 1978, when two smaller leftist parties were merged with it. This Marxist-Leninist organization, the PDRY's lone political party, was the only group to offer candidates in the 1986 legislative elections and survived to represent southern interests in the unified Yemen.

In preunification north Yemen, political parties in the Western sense played no role. Tribal allegiances were more important political factors. After unity, the northern leader, General Saleh, formed the General People's Congress (GPC), which became the country's largest party. The second-largest bloc in the parliament was held by the Islaah Party (The Yemeni Congregation for Reform), a fusion of tribal and Islamic interests that opposed the unity constitution because it did not sufficiently adhere to Islamic principles. At least 40 smaller parties have been active in the politics of unified Yemen, but the GPC, Islaah, and the YSP are the only ones of national significance. After the 1994 civil war, the GPC and Islaah formed a coalition government to establish civil order.

In the April 1997 legislative election the GPC won a landslide victory and no longer governed in coalition with Islaah. The YSP boycotted the April 1997 legislative election. In addition to these three main parties, the other parties active in the political arena that had fulfilled Yemen's legal procedures to practice political activities were the People's Nasserite Reformation Party, Liberation Front Party, Nasserite Democratic Party, League of the Sons of Yemen, Federation of Popular Forces, National Arab Socialist Baath Party, National Democratic Front, Al Haq Party, Yemen League Party, and the National Social Party. As of 2005, the active parties were GPC, Islaah, Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Nasserite Unionist Party, and the National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party.

In September 1999, Yemen held the first direct presidential elections ever held on the Arabian peninsula. Longtime president Saleh captured 96.3% of the vote; Najeeb Qahtan al-Shaabi, his only opponent, won 3.7% of the vote. Led by the YSP, a coalition of opposition groups boycotted this election. In legislative elections held on 27 April 2003, the GPC won 228 seats in parliament, Islaah 47, YSP 7, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party 2, and independents 14. The next legislative elections were scheduled for 2009.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The YAR was divided into 11 governorates (muhafazat ), each headed by a governor. Each governorate contained a varying number of sectors (nawahi ). Traditional divisions still extant included the uzlah, a group of villages (qura ) of people who belong to the same tribe, headed by a sheikh; and the mahall, a group of houses administratively subordinate to a village. The central government retained ultimate authority over local officials, although certain administrative sanctions were granted to traditional local rulers.

In an effort to de-emphasize older loyalties and associations, the PDRY government created a highly centralized state and divided the country into six governorates, all closely controlled by the central authorities. Each had an appointed governor, and each was divided into districts, which were also administered by appointed officials.

The unified government established 17 governorates, subdivided into districts. In the countryside, especially in the north and east, tribal authority is often stronger than formal government institutions. There are 20 governorates, and 326 district municipalities. The government has taken steps to implement decentralization. Municipal elections were held for the first time in February 2001. Authority over local planning, development, and administration is consolidated in municipal councils. The February elections included 26,832 candidates for 6,614 district municipal council seats and over 2,500 candidates for 418 provincial council seats. Those elected served a two-year term.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Under a 1991 decree the separate judicial systems of the former YAR and the former PDRY were unified at the Supreme Court level. A Supreme Judicial Council administers the judiciary, appointing and promoting judges and reviewing policies regarding the structure and functioning of the judicial system. There are courts of first instance, which hear civil, criminal, commercial, and family matters; decisions can be appealed to courts of appeal. The Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of laws, hears cases brought against high government officials, and is the last court of appeal for all lower court decisions. The judiciary, especially at the lower levels, is susceptible to pressure and influence from the executive branch. All laws are codified from Shariah, and there are no jury trials. In addition to regular courts, a system of tribal adjudication exists for some noncriminal issues, although the tribal "judges" often hear criminal cases as well.

The former YAR judicial system consisted of Shariah law and courts for criminal and family law areas administered in each district by a hakim and commercial law and courts for business matters. In remote areas, tribal law was applied in tribal courts. The Shariah courts applied Islamic law and litigants could appeal the decision of a hakim to another hakim, and from him take a final appeal to the Istinaf, the highest court of appeal, in Şan'ā'. Both sets of courts were considered generally fair and impartial. Former YAR state security courts were abolished with unification.

The former PDRY court system was organized in three tiers: magistrate or divisional courts, provincial courts, and military courts. Magistrate courts handled most criminal, juvenile, family, housing, agrarian and other minor civil matters. Provincial courts handled more serious criminal cases, inheritance cases, major civil claims, and appeals from magistrates' courts. Shariah courts applying Islamic law and tribal courts applying traditional law also existed alongside the modern court system.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, the active armed forces of Yemen numbered 66,700. The Army had 60,000 active members, and was equipped with 790 main battle tanks, 130 reconnaissance vehicles, 200 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 710 armored personnel carriers and 1,167 artillery pieces (310 towed). The Navy had 1,700 active personnel. Major naval units included 19 patrol/coastal vessels and 6 mine warfare ships. The Air Force, in 2005 had 5,000 members, including 2,000 air defense personnel. The service had 75 combat capable aircraft, including 41 fighters and 30 fighter ground attack aircraft. The Air Force also had eight attack helicopters. The country's paramilitary forces totaled 70,000 personnel, which were comprised of 50,000 Ministry of Interior Forces, and tribal levies in excess of 20,000. A coast guard is slowly being established. Yemen's defense budget in 2005 totaled $942 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Yemen was admitted to the United Nations on 30 September 1947; it participates in the ESCWA and several nonregional specialized UN agencies such as the World Bank, the FAO, ILO, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNCTAD, and the WHO. The country is also a member of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Union, the Council of Arab Economic Unity, the Islamic Development Bank, the Arab League, G-77, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Yemen has observer status in the OAS and the WTO.

Yemen is on good terms with both conservative and radical Arab states. The country is part of the Nonaligned Movement, IN environmental cooperation, Yemen is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Traditionally an agricultural area, northern Yemen was self-sufficient in food and a net exporter of agricultural product until the Civil War in the 1960s and a prolonged drought in the early 1970s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s many farmers switched from labor intensive food crops to the more profitable cultivation of qat, a mild stimulant chewed by many Yemenis that has no significant export market. The economy of southern Yemen developed through foreign assistance (especially from the former USSR). The southern city of 'Aden, with its port and refinery, is the economic and commercial center of the country. The Yemeni economy depends on imports of wheat, flour, rice, and other foodstuffs. Trade deficits have been offset by remittances from Yemenis working abroad and by foreign aid.

Crude oil is a significant sector of the economy, with exports accounting for over 80% of total exports. In 2004, income from the production and sale of crude oil and natural gas accounted for 72% of total government revenue, which was significantly higher than budgeted income due to higher-than-expected international oil prices. However, with no new significant finds, oil resources could be commercially depleted within 5 to 20 years. Following the unification of the country in 1990, responsibility for development of the oil sector fell to the state-owned general corporation for oil and mineral resources. Civil war in 1994 disturbed output. Oil output has been declining since 1995, and over 200 dry wells have been drilled, suggesting that the industry has passed its peak. In 2005, proven oil reserves totaled 4 billion barrels. Although Yemen's oil output declined each year from 200305, (from 448,288 barrels per day in 2003 to 416,656 barrels per day in the first nine months of 2005) the country hoped to boost output to 500,000 barrels per day in the late 2000s.

When Yemen aligned with Iraq during the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Yemen's main aid donors and hosts to large numbers of Yemeni workers and their families, ended the Yemenis' privileged status. The economic impact of lost remittances was estimated at about $1 billion per year. After the Gulf crisis, Yemen was confronted with high unemployment, lost remittances, halving of US military aid, a sharp cutback in USAID programs, other canceled foreign assistance, and the cost of food imports and social services for the returnees totaling about $500 million.

Following the civil conflict in 1994, the government began a five-year program in 1995 that removed all controls on the exchange rate and cut the interest rate, as well as initialized trade policy reform, privatization, and the elimination of price controls. The reforms were favorably received by the World Bank and IMF, which agreed to provide aid.

A new liquefied natural gas drilling project promised exploitation of Yemen's 482 billion cu m (17 trillion cu ft) of gas reserves in subsequent years, although in 2002 US companies ExxonMobil and Hunt Oil withdrew from the project, leaving the French-based company, TotalFinaElf (Total) as the lead investor. However, Hunt later retracted its withdrawal. In 2005, the government approved three liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply agreements for 6.7 million tons per year, with KOGAS, Total, and Tractebel. Yemen subsequently awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the project. First shipments of LNG could be made available by late 2008, with gas likely to flow to the United States and South Korea.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 3.8% from 1988 to 1998. Low oil prices in 1999 held real GDP growth to 3.7% in 1999, and their recovery helped push real growth to GDP to 5.1% in 2000. A stabilization in oil prices combined with declines in the growth of agricultural output, electricity and manufactures, attributable more to the domestic lack of rain than to the global economic slowdown, reduced GDP growth to 3.3% in 2001. Consumer price inflation had fallen to 6% in 1996 and 8% in 1998, but the average from 1999 to 2001 was 11%. An increase to 15.8% inflation was estimated for 2002 reflecting high fuel, electricity, and food prices from both shortages and the lowering or elimination of subsidies.

Yemen's real GDP grew 2.7% in 2004, and was estimated at 2.5% for 2005. In 2005, agriculture made up 13.3% of GDP, industry 47.9% and services 38.8%. Most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one fourth of the labor force. Yemen is one of the 25 poorest and economically least developed countries in the world with about a third of the population living in poverty. In 2005, the GDP at market exchange rate was $14.1 billion and $17.2 billion in purchasing power parity terms (PPP); the per capita GDP (PPP) was $800. In 2005, the inflation rate was estimated at 9.6%. The unemployment rate was estimated at 35% in 2003. In mid-2005, the government attempted to roll back subsidies on all petroleum products, which led to a 90% increase in the price of gasoline and a 260% increase in the price of diesel fuel; prices on kerosene and cooking gas were also raised. The decision followed sustained pressure on the government from the IMF and World Bank to cut subsidies and introduce a sales tax, with the aim of curtailing government spending. Rioting and demonstrations followed the government's decision to eliminate the subsidies, and 22 people were killed in the violence. In late July 2005, the government rolled back the price increases.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Yemen's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $17.2 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 9.6%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 13.3% of GDP, industry 47.9%, and services 38.8%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $1.270 billion or about $7 per capita and accounted for approximately 11.5% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $243 million or about $13 per capita and accounted for approximately 2.4% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Yemen totaled $7.98 billion or about $42 per capita based on a GDP of $11.0 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.9%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 25% of household consumption was spent on food, 26% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 5% on education. It was estimated that in 2003 about 45.2% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

In 2005, Yemen's workforce was estimated at 5.83 million. According to 1999 figures (the latest year for which data was available), 54.1% of the labor force is employed in agriculture, 34.7% in the services sector, 11.1% in industry, with the remainder in undefined occupations. In 2003, the unemployment rate was estimated at 35%.

United Yemen enacted a new labor code in 1995, (amended in 1997) which guaranteed the rights of unionization and collective bargaining. The government restricts this right by placing government officials in union positions of prominence. The Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions, the country's only labor confederation, had 350,000 members in 14 unions in 2002. There exists a limited right to strike. All collective bargaining agreements must be reviewed by the minister of labor.

There is no nationally fixed minimum wage. Average wages do not provide a family with a decent standard of living. Although children under the age of 15 are prohibited from working, child labor is common, especially in rural regions. The labor code calls for a maximum eight-hour workday and a 48-hour workweek.

AGRICULTURE

Yemen, with its wide range of arable climatic zones, has the greatest potential for agricultural development of any nation on the Arabian Peninsula. Agriculture is an important part of the economy (accounting for 15% of GDP in 2003), despite the lack of arable land, scarcity of water, periodic droughts, and difficult terrain. Employment in the agricultural sector accounts for more than 50% of the workforce, but with only 3% of its land area arable, Yemen's potential for agricultural self-sufficiency is very remote. As of 2004, Yemen's agricultural trade deficit was $947 million.

Traditionally, Yemen was famous for its coffee, shipped from the port of Al-Mukha, from which the English word mocha derives. The main cash crop is qat, a mild stimulant chewed by many Yemenis on a daily basis, but not exported significantly because it is highly perishable. Industrial farming of fruits and vegetables, using modern irrigation techniques, provides a level of production to nearly satisfy domestic demand. As a high-cost producer, Yemen is not yet able to internationally compete in marketing its produce, especially since such exports are often blocked at the borders.

Agriculture output in 2004 (in 1,000 tons) included sorghum, 263; tomatoes, 248; wheat, 105; grapes, 169; bananas, 99; seed cotton, 29; sesame seed, 19; coffee, 11; and cotton, 9.9.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Animal husbandry is a key sector of the economy, and the export of hides and skins has long been an important source of foreign exchange. In 2001, the livestock population was estimated at 5,029,000 sheep, 4,453,000 goats, 1,400,000 head of cattle, 500,000 donkeys, and 198,000 camels.

Commercial production of poultry in Yemen began in the mid-1970s. Yemen produces about 95% of its annual consumption of eggs and is emerging as a significant producer of broilers (chicken meat). The brief civil conflict in 1994 hurt the industry by driving up the costs of imported feed and vaccines. About 87,000 tons of poultry and 32,000 tons of eggs were marketed in 2005.

FISHING

Fishermen work along the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea coasts. The annual fish catch in 2003 was about 159,000 tons. Principal species of that catch included Indian and Spanish mackerel, cuttlefish, lobster, and scavengers. Fish-processing plants are located at Al 'udaydah and Al-Mukalla. Exports of fish and fish products were valued at $56.7 million in 2003. Pearl and coral diving have been practiced for centuries.

FORESTRY

Forest and woodland coverage is negligible. Forests once covered Yemen, but overgrazing by goats and the systematic cutting of timber for fuel and construction have almost completely eliminated the forest cover, especially in the south. Roundwood production totaled 352,700 cu m (12.5 million cu ft) in 2004, all of it used for fuel. Lumber imports amounted to $86.1 million in 2004.

MINING

Until the discovery of petroleum, the preeminent segment of the Yemeni economy, the mineral industry, had been limited to the production of cement, dimension stone, gypsum, and salt. In 2004, production of cement amounted to 1,546,300 metric tons. Other mineral commodities produced in 2004 were: marble, 100,000 sq m; gypsum, 44,000 metric tons; and salt, 120,000 metric tons. The government was focusing on creating conditions favorable to foreign investment, to develop the nation's mineral resources. The government had exclusive domain over the precious stone and hydrocarbon industries; mining legislation guaranteed the rights of private property for all other commodities. ZincOx Resources, of the United Kingdom, continued evaluating the Al-Jabail zinc deposit, which Anglo American Corp. had explored in the late 1990s.

ENERGY AND POWER

Yemen is a small non-OPEC producer of oil and has the potential to be an exporter of natural gas.

Yemen, as of 1 January 2005, had proven reserves of crude oil estimated at 4 billion barrels, according to the Oil and Gas Journal. Oil production in 2005 was estimated at 416,000 barrels per day. With domestic consumption of oil in that year estimated at 83,000 barrels per day, the country was a net exporter of oil. In 2005, net exports were estimated at 333,000 barrels per day. Yemen's crude oil refining capacity, as of 1 January 2005, was estimated at 130,000 barrels per day, based upon a pair of aging refineries, the 'Aden refinery and the Marib refinery. The capacity of the 'Aden refinery had declined from 170,000 barrels per day before the 1994 civil war to 120,000 barrels per day as of 1 January 2005. The newer Marib plant has a capacity of 10,000 barrels daily.

Yemen has proven natural gas reserves estimated, as of 1 January 2005, at 16.9 trillion cu ft. As of 2003, there was no systematic production of natural gas. Whatever gas is produced results from the oil extraction process and is re-injected. Most of the known reserves are concentrated in the Marib-Jawf fields.

Total electricity production in 2003 was estimated at 3.8 billion kWh, of which 100% was from fossil fuels. Total installed capacity in 2003 was estimated at 800,000 kW, and was entirely based on conventional thermal sources. Demand for electricity in 2003, was estimated at 3.6 billion kWh.

INDUSTRY

In northern Yemen industry traditionally has been based on food processing, but this subsector has suffered from poor productivity of agriculture and reliance on imported raw materials. Building materials, textiles, leather wear, jewelry, and glass making are other industries in the north. The largest industry in southern Yemen is petroleum refining. Southern manufactures include clothing, processed food, metal products, soap, and perfumes. Industrial production accounts for 47.9% of GDP (2005 est.)

Yemen's main refinery at 'Aden processed 60,000 barrels of petroleum per day in 1994 after sustaining damage in the civil war. Output reached 100,000 barrels per day by the start of 1995 with the repair of the main pumping station and two tapping units. That year, the refinery produced 26.5 million barrels of residual and distillate fuel oil, 10 million barrels of gasoline, and 3.5 million barrels of kerosene. In 2005, Yemen's total refinery capacity was 130,000 barrels per day, most from the 120,000-barrels-per-day-capacity 'Aden refinery operated by the 'Aden Refinery Company (ARC), and the rest from a 10,000-barrels-per-day refinery at Marib operated by Yemen Hunt Oil Company. In December 2002, the government signed an agreement with the Hadhramawt Refinery Company, a Saudi venture, for the construction of a 50,000-barrels-per-day refinery at Al Mukallā costing $450 million. Another refinery is planned for Ra's Isa with a capacity of 60,000 barrels per day, to be completed in 2007.

Yemen's considerable natural gas reservesestimated at 480 billion cu m (16.9 trillion cu ft), have not been developed. A liquefied natural gas project was initiated in 1995 by TotalFinaElf (now Total) and several other major multinational oil companies, which established the Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Company (Yemen LNG). In June 2002, two US companies, ExxonMobil and Hunt Oil, announced they were leaving the consortium, but Hunt later retracted its withdrawal. In 2005, the Yemeni government approved three LNG supply agreements for 6.7 million tons per year, with KOGAS, Total, and Tractebel. The government then awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the project. The first shipments of LNG were planned for late 2008, with gas likely flowing to the United States and South Korea. In 2004, more than 25 companies bid on a domestic gas utilization and pipeline feasibility study for a proposed 373-mile pipeline that would transport gas from Marib to a power station at Mabar. The World Bank, in cooperation with Yemen's National Coordination Council, was funding this study.

As of 2006, the government was preparing a new investment plan to utilize Yemen's fish wealth, to attract Arab and foreign investment to the sector. Thirty-six sites were identified for fish cultivation. In May 2005, the first factory for the canning and exporting of fish was set up by a Saudi company. There was also German interest in establishing a fish cultivation site in Hadhramawt. Fish production increased to 151,000 tons between January and September 2005, an increase of 18.5% compared with the same period in 2004. Fish exports reached 74,000 tons in 2004, worth $213 million. Fish sector revenues rank second after oil revenues for the economy. Yemen ranked fourth among Arab fish exporting countries after Morocco, Mauritania, and Egypt in 2004. The fish sector created 315,000 jobs in 2004 compared with 100,000 in 1990. Approximately 1.7 million people were employed in the fish sector as of the end of 2005.

Construction of a 120,000 metric-ton-per-year-capacity rolling mill at Hodaidah for Al-Rahabi Trading Group was expected to be completed in 2005.

The government's economic diversification project would be helped by the development of metal deposits and additional industrial mineral deposits. In 2004, Yemen produced more than 1.5 million metric tons of cement, 44 million metric tons of gypsum, 120,000 metric tons of salt, 630,000 metric tons of sand and gravel, and 2.4 million metric tons of quarried stone.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The University of 'Aden, founded in 1975 at Al-Mansoora, has faculties of science, arts, and education; agriculture; engineering; and medicine. Şan'ā' University, founded in 1970, has faculties of science, medicine and health sciences, engineering, and agriculture.

DOMESTIC TRADE

At the center of most towns is a market place (sug ), the lanes of which are lined with open-front booths where food, clothing, and implements are displayed and sold. Some goods are bartered. Others sold for cash, usually after bargaining. The production of qat, a mild stimulant which many Yemenis chew, plays an important role in domestic trade. Relying on a highly efficient internal distribution system, the production of qat would increase per capita GDP an estimated 1520% were it included in the national income statistics. Corruption among civil servants is a common element of domestic commercesoldiers at checkpoints confiscate money or qat, and businesses are often obliged to pay off local officials.

Customary business hours are from 8 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm, Saturday through Thursday. Banks are open from 8 am to noon (11:30 am on Thursdays).

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 4,077.7 2,326.5 1,751.2
China 774.1 81.6 692.5
Korea, Republic of 735.2 28.3 706.9
Thailand 700.0 76.1 623.9
India 612.5 59.3 553.2
United Kingdom 252.3 177.4 74.9
Areas nes 113.9 113.9
Japan 84.3 73.9 10.4
Kuwait 71.0 108.7 -37.7
Australia 69.5 58.6 10.9
Brazil 63.5 57.4 6.1
() data not available or not significant.

FOREIGN TRADE

Petroleum accounts for about 90% of the country's exports. Income from the production and sale of crude oil and natural gas accounted for 72% of total government revenue in 2004, largely due to the high price of oil on international markets. Other exports in recent years have included coffee and dried and salted fish; imports included food and live animals, machinery and equipment, and manufactured goods.

In 2004, Yemen's primary export partners were: Thailand (33.8%), China (30.3%), and Singapore (7.8%). Primary suppliers were: the UAE (12.2%), Saudi Arabia (9.7%), China (8.8%), France (7.3%), India (4.4%), the United States (4.4%), and Kuwait (4.2%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Yemen's balance of payments was adversely affected in the early 1990s, as other nations sought to economically punish Yemen for its support of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. In 1993, the current account deficit reached a peak of $1.217 billion, foreign exchange reserves sank to just $144.6 million, and the trade deficit was $920 million. Transfers, consisting largely of remittances from Yemenis working in other Gulf states fell by 42% between 1990 and 1993.

As of the early 2000s, Yemen's balance of payments position had substantially improved: its current account surplus stood at $1.8 billion in 2000, up from a $455 million deficit in 1998. Yemen's bilateral and multilateral debt situation had also improved, with debt to Russia reduced, debt rescheduling by the Paris Club, and financing from the World Bank and IMF. In 2005, Yemen's outstanding debts stood at approximately $5.689 billion.

In 2005, total exports were estimated at $6.387 billion and imports were estimated at $4.19 billion. The current-account balance was estimated at $1.282 billion.

Current Account 148.7
     Balance on goods 376.9
         Imports -3,557.4
         Exports 3,934.3
     Balance on services -685.9
     Balance on income -909.4
     Current transfers 1,367.1
Capital Account 86.3
Financial Account -61.1
     Direct investment abroad
     Direct investment in Yemen -89.1
     Portfolio investment assets -0.4
     Portfolio investment liabilities
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -31.7
     Other investment liabilities 60.2
Net Errors and Omissions 156.4
Reserves and Related Items -330.3
() data not available or not significant.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The republican government set up the Yemen Currency Board in 1964 with a capital of yr2 million; in 1971, the Currency Board was replaced by the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY). The state-owned Yemen Bank for Reconstruction and Development (YBRD), founded in 1962, finances development activities, and the International Bank of Yemen, organized in 1980, operates as a commercial bank. In the 1970s, the YBRD dominated the banking business, controlling some 70% of the loans outstanding in the YAR; during the same decade, a number of foreign commercial banks, including ones from Hong Kong, Iraq, Pakistan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, opened offices in Şan'ā'.

The economic recovery in 1995 and the partial liberalization of interest rates on bank deposits appear to have succeeded in encouraging the growth in savings as reflected in higher quasimonetary holdings. In 2002, there were 11 commercial banks (9 private and 2 public) and two public sector specialized banks (Agriculture and Housing) operating under the jurisdiction of CBY. There were also three Islamic banks in operation. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $1.7 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $3.4 billion. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 15.16%.

There are no securities exchanges in Yemen.

INSURANCE

There were at least 10 insurance firms in the Yemen in 1999. Much of the Yemen's insurance business is transacted abroad. In 1999, there was 18.8 million dollars of premiums written in Yemen, giving the insurance industry a. 30% share of the Gross Domestic Product.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Yemen's central government took in revenues of approximately $5.6 billion and had expenditures of $5.7 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$103 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 35.9% of GDP. Total external debt was $5.689 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1999, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were yr282,268 million and expenditures were yr310,702 million. The value of revenues was us$1,813 million and expenditures us$1,995 million, based on a market exchange rate for 1999 of us$1 = yr155.718 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 30.8%; defense, 18.8%; public order and safety, 8.3%; economic affairs, 11.5%; housing and community amenities, 1.6%; health, 4.4%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.8%; and education, 21.8%.

TAXATION

Personal income taxes are levied on wage workers and the self-employed. Taxes on business profits are taxed at a 35% rate. Capital gains are included in taxable income and are taxed at the corporate rate. Dividends, interest and royalties are each subject to a 10% withholding tax.

Other taxes include excise duties, road and vehicle taxes, port fees, a tax on rents, and telegraph fees. The state also derives income from the confiscated property of the imamate. Another tax is the 2.5% Zakat (the religious charity tax) which is state-enforced, but under the republican regime, its estimation has become a voluntary concern of each individual. Yemeni businessmen have been trying to abolish Zakat as an obligatory levy entirely, leaving it to the discretion of each individual to give to the needy. The chronic budget deficits of the 1980s forced the government to place considerably more emphasis on the traditionally lax collection of taxes. In early 2002 a general sales tax (GST) was signed into law, but its implementation was delayed pending a review of the country's indirect tax system.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Import duties are generally levied at rates varying from 5% on essential goods to 25% on luxury items; medical and agricultural items are duty-free, while tobacco is dutiable at 145%. Surcharges are added to these basic rates to cover defense expenditures, to finance schools and orphanages, and to assist the poor. Export duties are levied on a variety of products. Interestingly, in 1995 the government renounced the secondary and tertiary aspects of the Arab League's boycott of Israel, but will not renounce the primary aspect until the Arab League gives up the boycott completely by consensus of the member nations.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Foreign investment is encouraged by the Yemeni government as it is prospecting for more oil and hoping to develop its natural gas reserves. The Yemen General Investment Authority (GIA) was established in 1992, and worked with the World Bank's Foreign Investment Advisory Service, to revise Yemen's Investment Law 22 of 1991 (as amended) to refocus it on promotion rather than regulation of foreign investment. Investment law restructuring is part of the IMF-World Bank-sponsored economic reform program that has been being pursued in Yemen since 1995. The Yemeni Free Trade Zone Public Authority was established in 1991 to develop the 'Aden Free Trade Zone. The port was developed as a joint venture between the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and the Bin Mahfouz Group of Saudi Arabia. In Phase II of the program, 30 hectares were made available for lease. Free zone incentives the right to have 100% foreign ownership, no personal income taxes for non-Yemenis, a 15-year corporate tax holiday, renewable for up to 10 years, and the right to 100% repatriation of capital and profit.

There are no reliable statistics on foreign investment in Yemen. US investment has mainly been in the oil and gas sector. The Houston-based Yemen Hunt Oil Company has been operating since 1984. Its pipelines have been repeatedly attacked. Security can not help but be a concern for Western investors given events like the kidnapping of 16 tourists in 1998 (with four killed in the rescue attempt; a bomb explosion at the 'Aden Refinery in 1998, the bombing of the USS Cole in 'Aden Harbor in October 2000, with 17 dead, and in 2002, the explosion and fire on the French-flagged tanker the Limburg, with one killed and 90,000 barrels of oil spilled. More hopeful is the settlement of its debt issues with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which has thus made Yemen eligible for concessional loans from these neighboring states. In 1995, a consortium was established for the development of natural gas production. In addition to the government's 26% share, Total (France) had 36% equity; Hunt Oil (US), 14.6%; Exxon (US), 14.1%; and Yukong (ROK), 9.3%. In 2002 Exxon (now ExxonMobil) and Hunt Oil withdrew from this enterprise, which has stalled for lack of an identifiable market through which the investors could recoup their investments. However, Hunt later retracted its withdrawal. In 2005, the Yemeni government approved three LNG supply agreements for 6.7 million tons per year, with KOGAS, Total, and Tractebel. The government then awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the project. The first shipments of LNG were planned for late 2008, with gas likely flowing to the United States and South Korea. In 2004, more than 25 companies bid on a domestic gas utilization and pipeline feasibility study for a proposed 373-mile pipeline that would transport gas from Marib to a power station at Mabar. The World Bank, in cooperation with Yemen's National Coordination Council, was funding this study.

As of 2006, the Chinese Bank for Exports and Imports was considering funding the building of Yemen's first railway. In addition to Chinese investments, an overall increase in foreign investment was projected for the late 2000s. Up to the end of June 2005, the volume of Arab and foreign investment in Yemen reached approximately yr129 billion; investment in the industrial sector had reached yr69.5 billion. The services sector ranked second, at yr51.9 billion.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

After unification in 1990, the new government assumed all debts incurred by former governments. Domestic political strains ultimately culminated in civil strife in 1994. As a result, the economy was further burdened with reconstruction costs.

The government launched a major reform program in 1995. The program included revenue mobilization through tax measures, depreciation of the customs valuation rate, the liberalization of cement prices, an increase of petroleum product prices by about 90%, and a 60% rise in electricity tariffs. The government's medium-term goal was to eliminate all subsidies by 19992001. Fiscal and monetary measures included the containment of primary nondevelopment budget expenditures, partial reform of the exchange system (including currency depreciation), interest rate reform, and monetary management reforms. Furthermore, transportation and communication charges were deregulated, health and education fees were increased, and privatization programs were initiated. In 1996, 16 public enterprises were targeted for privatization. Laws prohibiting foreign investment in certain industrial sectors were abolished in 1996.

International aid has an ongoing role in the economy's development. In early 1996, the IMF agreed to provide a 15-month standby credit of $191 million, and the World Bank authorized the loan of $80 million to support the reform policies. The World Bank also decided to allocate government loans to Yemen worth $365 million during 199699. The EU also pledged grants worth $61.7 million in 1996/97, including $30 million in project finance. Yemen benefited when Russia was admitted to the Paris Club (an organization of countries owed money from past official loans). Approximately 80% of Yemen's debts to Russia, mostly for arms purchases, was forgiven in the debt rescheduling. The remainder of Yemen's debt to Paris Club members was rescheduled under Naples terms (for the poorest countries, this allows for cancellation of 5066% of eligible sovereign debt), and in 2001, another Paris Club rescheduling provided an "exit treatment" that allowed Yemen to reach a sustainable level of indebtedness.

External debt was brought to a steady average of about 55% GDP for 2000. Yemen's fiscal imbalance has also improved in recent years, helped considerably by recovering oil prices. The fiscal deficit reached 6.4% of GDP in 1998, but then moderated to 0.2% of GDP in 1999, and, with increasing oil prices, soared to a surplus of 8.5% of GDP in 2000. In 2001 and 2002, the government continued to run surpluses of revenues and grants over expenditures, amounting to 2.8% of GDP in 2001 and 0.4% of GDP in 2002. Inflation, however, reached over 15% in 2002 due to increased prices for fuel, electricity and food. By 2005, however, the government had a budget deficit once again, with revenues of $5.616 billion and expenditures of $5.719 billion. Public debt was 35.9% of GDP. External debt was $5.689 billion. The inflation rate was estimated at 9.6%.

In 2002 the parliament signed into law a general sales tax (GST), but implementation of this major tax reform designed to broaden and rationalize the tax base was delayed with IMF approval while more information about the effect of indirect taxation was collected. Yemen remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. With a population growth rate of 3.45% in 2005 and growing, poverty has actually been expanding in recent years. About one-third of households are considered to be living in poverty. Water scarcity poses a severe challenge. The water crisis involves a depletion of groundwater, so that economic activity may become unsustainable in some areas. The growing of qat, while lucrative for many rural dwellers, consumes a disproportionately high amount of water, and accounts for half of irrigation water use in Yemen. Areas used for the growing of qat have expanded at a rate of 9% a year; the development of income-generating alternative crops that consume less water would create jobs and potentially develop new export commodities. The fertility rate is 6.67 and growing, and illiteracy among women and girls is particularly high70% of females and 29.5% of males are illiteratea social deficiency with serious implications for economic development.

In 2005, the World Bank announced it would increase its allocations for Yemen for the following three years, but only if the country's economic performance improved. The World Bank had reduced its funding from $420 million for three years beginning in 2002, to $280 million for three years beginning in 2005. In January 2006, the Yemeni government announced a third five-year development plan for poverty reduction, which was geared toward integrating the national economy with the international economy. Yemen hoped for accession to the WTO at that time, and was pushing for trade and industrial development. The five-year plan aimed to set up new industrial zones to improve opportunities for medium and small industries, and to set up a fund for industrial development. The plan also has measures to stimulate investment, including reforming the legal structure. Small industries are to be developed, such as crafts, clothes, and foodstuffs, so that they may compete in foreign markets. The plan called for measures to protect the environment from pollution, and to meet international standards regarding the protection of the environment.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A social insurance system provides old age, disability, survivor, and workers' compensation benefits. This program covers most employees, including Yemeni nationals working overseas. Workers contribute 6% of their wages, and employers pay 6% of payroll. The government contributes as an employer only. Old age benefits are payable at age 60 with at least 15 years of contributions for men, and age 55 with at least 10 years of contributions for women. A health insurance program exists only for public employees. While the government has expanded its role in providing assistance, traditional means still predominate.

Although the constitution provides for equal rights and opportunity for all, women face considerable official and social discrimination. Polygamy is legal, and the practice of paying large dowries continues to be widespread. Women are required to obtain permission from a male member of the family in order to leave the house, and are rarely allowed to travel unaccompanied. Women have limited access to education. Estimates place the illiteracy rate for women at 67.5%, compared with 27.7% for men. Child marriage is common, and some girls marry as early as 12 years old. Women are permitted to vote, but social customs discourage most women from becoming politically active. The law states that a wife must obey her husband. Violence against women and children is prevalent but considered a family issue and not reported to authorities.

Although reports of arbitrary arrest and detention continue, Yemen's human rights record remained poor, and the government continued to commit serious abuses in 2004. However, some international and domestic human rights organizations operate in Yemen.

HEALTH

Malnutrition and the diseases associated with it are major health problems It was estimated that nearly 30% of children under five were malnourished. Malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery, whooping cough, measles, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, and typhoid fever are widespread, and sewage disposal of the most rudimentary type constitutes a general health hazard. Approximately 69% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 45% had adequate sanitation. Civil conflict in July 1994 created a shortage of water, food, and medical supplies in 'Aden, exacerbating health problems. As of 2004, there were an estimated 22 physicians, 45 nurses, and 1 dentist per 100,000 people. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 5.6% of GDP.

Immunization rates for children up to one year old were tuberculosis, 62%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 57%; polio, 57%; and measles, 51%. Life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 61.75 years; the infant mortality rate that year was 61.50 per 1,000 live births. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 43 and 9.3 per 1,000 people.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 1,200 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

HOUSING

Housing is inadequate; about one-fourth of urban housing units are huts, tents, or other makeshift structures. In the hot coastal region, most dwellings, except those of the ruling classes, are straw huts. In the highlands, the poorer people live in huts of stone or baked brick. Wealthier Yemenis live in large houses whose style is unique to southwestern Arabia: the lower part is generally built of sandstone, basalt, or granite, while the upper part, which may rise from two to eight stories, is usually of baked brick with windows outlined in decorative designs. Often a loggia topped with brass and open on all sides rises from the roof. The preliminary results of the 2004 census indicated that there were 2,882,034 dwelling units in the country to serve a total population of 19,721,643 people. There were 7.14 people per household on average.

EDUCATION

Early Yemeni education, with regard to medieval disciplines of law, religion, history and poetry, was sophisticated and, for a country of its type, remarkably widespread. Its people contributed nobly to medieval Islamic civilization. The Al-Azhar University of Cairo was well known for its education during the 10th and 11th centuries and it attracted students from nearby countries such as Ethiopia, Arabia, and Somalia. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, there was slow progress in the field of education. Prior to the 1962 revolution, no proper educational system was in place. Civil war and internal political upheaval only worsened the situation.

In 1990, the literacy rate for the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen was 39.1% (males, 52.8%; females, 26.1%). The rate for the Yemen Arab Republic was 38.5% (males, 53.3%; females, 26.3%). The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 49%, with 69.5% for men and 28.5% for women.

Basic education is compulsory for nine years. This may be followed by three years of secondary education, through which students choose either scientific or literary studies at a general school or vocational or agricultural studies at a technical school. Islamic schools focusing on religious studies are also available. The academic year runs from September to June.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 72% of age-eligible students; 84% for boys and 59% for girls. In 2000, secondary school enrollment was about 34.5% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 65.5% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 30:1 in 2000; the ratio for secondary school was about 14:1.

There are two universities: Şan'ā' University (founded in 1970) and the University of 'Aden (established in 1975). Students who score well on the secondary leaving exam (Al Thanawiya ) may be admitted to university. Over 2,000 Yemenis are being educated at foreign universities. In 1999, it was estimated that about 11% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in higher education programs. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 9.5% of GDP, or 32.8% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The Yemen National Library is located in 'Aden. The Miswal Library in 'Aden maintains a traveling library to serve citizens. The Library of the Great Mosque of Şan'ā' maintains a collection of 10,000 manuscripts, but is not accessible to the public. The British Council maintains two libraries: at 'Aden (3,000 volumes) and at Şan'ā' (10,4000 volumes).

The National Museum has branches in 'Aden and Şan'ā'. The 'Aden site focuses primarily on ancient, pre-Islamic civilizations. 'Aden is also home to the Crater Military Museum and the Crater Folk Museum. There are local museums in Taizz and Zafar.

MEDIA

Since unification, efforts have been underway to upgrade the country's telecommunications infrastructure. Two-way radio links Yemen directly with Cairo and Rome. Telephone and telegraph facilities are available in major cities, and a modern dial telephone system has been installed in Şan'ā', Ta'izz, and Al 'udaydah. In 2003, there were an estimated 28 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 704,800 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 35 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The government operates or controls all of the broadcast networks through the Ministry of Information and the Public Corporation for radio and Television. As of 1999, there were 4 AM and 1 FM station and 7 television broadcast stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 65 radios and 308 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 7.4 personal computers for every 1,000 people. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

In 2004, there were 6 government-controlled newspapers, 19 independent papers, and 14 party affiliated newspapers. There are approximately 80 magazines in circulation. In 2002 the three major daily newspapers were: Al-Thawrah (circulation 110,000), published in Şan'ā'; Al-Jumhuriyah (100,000), in Ta'izz; and Ar-Rabi Ashar Min Uktubar (20,000), published in 'Aden. The English-language weekly, Yemen Times, has a circulation of 20,000. All of the press is controlled by the Ministry of Information.

The constitution provides for free speech and press only within the limits of the law. The law includes restrictions on any speech or press against the government, particularly criticism of the head of state.

ORGANIZATIONS

The government has encouraged the formation of cooperatives, but private associations with political overtones are suspect. There are chambers of commerce in the major cities. The Federation of Yemen Chamber of Commerce and Industry is located in Şan'ā'.

National youth organizations include the Fattah Socialist Youth Union, the General Union of Yemeni Students, General Union of Yemeni Youth, Supreme Student Committee of the Yemen Arab Republic, and the Yemen Scout Association. There are sports associations representing amateur athletes of all ages in a wide variety of pastimes.

The Yemeni Federation of Women's Organizations is based at Şan'ā' University. There are national chapters of the Red Crescent Society and UNICEF.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Tourists can visit historic and religious sites (such as the Ghumdau Palace and the Great Mosque in Şan'ā') and exotic markets, and enjoy scenic areas including the Red Sea coast. Passports and visas are required by foreign visitors. Vaccination against meningitis is required for pilgrims to Mecca. Precautions against meningitis, typhoid, and hepatitis are recommended for all visitors.

In 2003, there were 154,667 tourist arrivals, almost 39% of whom came from Saudi Arabia. There were 13,280 hotel rooms with 33,816 beds that same year.

According to the 2004 US Department of State estimates, the cost of staying in Şan'ā' was $216 per day. Elsewhere in the country, travel costs were less expensive.

FAMOUS YEMENIS

Imam Yahya ibn Muhammad Hamid ad-Din (1869?1948) ruled during the period when Yemen established its independence; he was assassinated during an uprising. 'Ali 'Abdullah Saleh (b.1942) became president of the YAR in 1978, ending a period of upheaval in which his two immediate predecessors were assassinated. He became united Yemen's first directly-elected president in 1999. Field Marshal 'Abdallah as-Sallal (192094) was the first president of the YAR and held power from 1962 until a coup ousted him in 1967. 'Ali Nasir Muhammad al-Hasani (b.1940?) was prime minister of the PDYR in 1980 and president from 1980 to 1986. Haydar Abu Bakr al-'Attas (b.1939) was prime minister of the PDYR during 198586.

DEPENDENCIES

Yemen has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burrowes, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Yemen. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1995.

Caton, Steven Charles. Yemen Chronicle: An Anthropology of War and Mediation. New York: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.

Chaudhry, Kiren Aziz. The Price of Wealth: Economies and Institutions in the Middle East. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Jones, Clive. Britain and the Yemen Civil War, 19621965: Ministers, Mercenaries and Mandarins: Foreign Policy and the Limits of Covert Action. Portland, Ore.: Sussex Academic Press, 2004.

Kostiner, Joseph. Yemen: The Tortuous Quest for Unity, 19901994. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: The Unknown Arabia. Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press, 2000.

The Middle East. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2005.

Rushby, Kevin. Eating the Flowers of Paradise: A Journey through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Saliba, Therese, Carolyn Allen, and Judith A. Howard (eds.). Gender, Politics, and Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Seddon, David (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2004.

The Yemeni War of 1994: Causes and Consequences. Edited by Jamal al-Suwaidi. London: Saqi Books, 1995.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

Republic of Yemen

Major Cities:
Sanaa, Aden, Taiz, Hodeida

Other Cities:
Dhamār, Ibb, al-Mukallā, Sa'dah

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated July 1993. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

YEMEN , once part of the ancient Kingdom of Sheba, is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Although much of its early history is obscure, it is known that from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 600, it was the center of an advanced culture based on intensive agriculture and a prosperous link in trade between Africa and India. A biblical reference speaks of its gold, spices, and precious stones as gifts given by the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon.

Halfway across the world and shielded from Western civilization for centuries, this lush, mountainous country has long remained politically and economically backward. Within Yemen, there is a variety of scenery, architecture, people, and customs, ranging across the hot and sandy coast land with bananas, palms and African-style thatch-roofed houses to the cool, coffee-growing central highlands dotted with stone fortresses.

After years of conflict, pro-Western Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen), and the only Marxist Arab country, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen), merged into one countrythe Republic of Yemenon May 22, 1990. Today, Yemen is making rapid advances in modernizing political, economic, and public institutions, while seeking to retain the traditions of its culture and history.

MAJOR CITY

Sanaa

Sanaa, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, is a growing city of about 630,000 people located in the middle of a broad valley between mountains that rise to 12,000 feet. Sanaa's altitudes of 7,226 feet above sea level and its position on the Arabian Peninsula provide an almost ideal climate. Although dust can be a problem, the winters are warm and the summers relatively cool. With the exception of two short rainy periods in spring and late summer, the air is very dry.

The geology of the Sanaa basin mixes volcanic with sedimentary rocks and the brown and black mountains create striking patterns in the morning and evening light. Many people are reminded of the stark beauty of Arizona and Utah, although the generally barren terrain is relieved by verdant channels of vegetation along the valley water courses. These water courses, or wadis, permit an extraordinary system of terraced farming along the slopes of the escarpment that turn the hills green during the two growing seasons of the year.

Sanaa has a unique architectural tradition dating from medieval times, which is preserved within the walls of the old city. Stone houses, often six or seven stories high, are highlighted by clusters of stained glass windows. Intricate designs traced in plaster decorate the exterior walls, while within the house guests climb stairs past the family quarters to a "mufraj" reception room. The mufrajthe word comes from the Arabic root "to view"is chosen if possible for its view of the city and mountains, and guests recline on colorful cushions and carpets.

A wall still surrounds most of the old city, and life within has changed little over the years. Narrow streets twist through the suq, or market area, offering a glimpse of blacksmiths working over their forges, meat, and vegetable vendors with their wares, gold and silver merchants and moneychangers doing brisk business, donkeys plodding beside their masters, colorful and pungent baskets of spices and children running everywhere. There is an atmosphere of continual festivity, with tribesmen from mountain villages examining the wares of the city alongside veiled housewives striking hard bargains with the merchants.

Westerners visiting the suq are treated with genuine friendliness by shopkeepers and their customersand with little of the harassing pressure to buy found in some other countries. The old city is a favorite destination of many Mission members, who enjoy bargaining for such treasures as elaborate silver jewelry, antique rifles, Maria Theresa coins from the Africa and India trade, as well as traditional jambias and embroidered cloth.

Outside the walled city, land prices have risen rapidly as emigrant workers invest their savings in new houses and shops. Construction projects continue in every area of Sanaa, but city services have lagged behind the population increase. Electricity outages in some areas are frequent, and voltage fluctuations can cause serious damage to electronic equipment not protected by voltage regulators. Houses in several districts are connected to municipal water and sewer systems, but many houses still rely on water wells or water delivered by tank truck, and their own septic tanks or cesspools. The municipal system provides water only for a limited time each week requiring that water be stored in roof-top tanks.

Traffic is increasingly congested, both from cars imported with emigrant capital as well as from construction and utility projects which can close roads for extended periods. Most new houses retain traditional features such as stained glass windows and mufraj rooms, but rarely exceed three stories.

Stores carry a variety of consumer goods but supplies are inconsistent and prices high. A well-tuned system of information among the western community announces when scarce items are again in stock. Dedicated shoppers can generally find most items they need and many people enjoy their frequent contacts with local shopkeepers.

Contrary to the situation a few years ago, Sanaa's grocery stores are well-stocked with a wide range of foodstuffs, albeit many are expensive by U.S. standards. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are widely available and inexpensive. Many food products familiar to American consumers, including snack foods, diet drinks and other packaged foods, are not available and should be included in consumable shipments.

U.S.Yemeni Relations

The U.S. first established diplomatic relations with Yemen in 1946, but is was not until 1959 that a resident legation was opened in Taiz. The Agency for International Development program began soon after, and the legation was upgraded to Embassy status.

The U.S. recognized the post-revolutionary Yemen Arab Republic on December 19, 1962. On June 7, 1967, during the Arab-Israeli conflict, the government of Abdullah al-Sallal severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. and all Americans were withdrawn.

In 1970, the Yemen Arab Republic requested the resumption of diplomatic relations, and on April 29, 1970, a U.S. Interests Section was established in the Italian Embassy in Sanaa. On July 1, 1972, full diplomatic relations were resumed during a visit by then Secretary of State William P. Rogers. A new USAID program was started in the spring of 1973 and the Peace Corps began several projects in the same year. A military sales agreement was signed in 1976, followed in 1979 by the establishment of the Office of Military Cooperation.

In 1984, the Hunt Oil Company discovered oil in Marib. The pipeline work began in 1986 and commercial production began in 1988. Then Vice President Bush attended the inaugural ceremonies of the central processing unit in 1986. Mr. Bush also inaugurated the beginning construction of the present embassy compound. President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited the U.S. on an official state visit in January 1990.

The former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen severed its diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1969. Before the resumption of diplomatic relations, contacts between the U.S. and the PDRY was exceedingly rare. However, in 1980, after the fall of former President Abd al-Fattah Ismail, the PDRY began realigning its foreign policy toward the conservative Gulf Shaykhdoms and dropped its sponsorship of Dhofar separatists attempting to secede from Oman. In the late eighties, PDRY began exploring the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the U.S. which were resumed in April 1990.

In May 1990, the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen merged into the Republic of Yemen. A provisional constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum held in May 1991. The unification agreement, according to which the ruling parties of the former North and South Yemen share power equally, stipulated a 30 month transitional period, due to end in November 1992. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held before the end of the period.

U.S.-Yemen relations took a turn for the worse as a result of the Gulf Crisis. The U.S. withdrew its Office of Military Cooperation, the Peace Corps, and slashed its AID program. As of mid-1992, bilateral relations continued to be strained by Yemen's political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein. However, Peace Corps volunteers returned in midsummer, 1991 and the program continues to expand. U.S. companies are playing a growing role in the development of Yemen.

Food

A variety of food items is available in Sanaa, though prices are high, choice of brands is limited and quality varies, especially with fresh meat. Western-brand packaged foods are often found in grocery stores but their availability is sporadic and their price very high. The following is a partial list of foodstuffs available.

  • Fresh Meat: Beef, veal, lamb, chicken, rarely turkey.
  • Frozen Meat: Beef, lamb, chicken, duck, steak, beef sausages (all are imported).
  • Fresh Seafood: Shrimp (periodically), several varieties of fish (generally all of high quality, though lack of refrigeration requires care in choosing items).
  • Fresh Vegetables: Cabbage (no red), carrots, okra, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, leaf lettuce, egg plant, squash (in season), onions (red and yellow), garlic, spinach, green beans (in season), cauliflower (in season).
  • Fresh Fruit: Bananas, papaya, mango, pomegranates, figs, melon, grapes, limes, apples, oranges, peaches, pears and plums. Most fruits are highly seasonal.
  • Dairy Products: Eggs, "long life" milk, butter (imported), yogurt, ice cream. Fresh cheese is now generally available, as are canned cheeses.
  • Canned goods: Fair variety of canned fruits and vegetables, (all expensive). Locally produced fruit juices are reasonable in cost, but no sugar-free brands are available.
  • Toiletries: Limited variety of basic items such as toothpaste, soap, body lotion and shampoo (expensive and sometimes of poor quality).
  • Paper Products: Limited selection and expensive.
  • Soft Drinks: Limited variety but ample supply of brand-name soft drinks are available.
  • Miscellaneous: Most spices, ketchup and mustard (limited selection), pickles (limited selection), tea, coffee beans; vendors will grind the beans but result is usually too fine for American tastes. Instant coffee is available but expensive. Flour and sugar (coarsely ground of uneven quality).

Clothing

Dress is relatively informal in Sanaa. Most Americans wear comfortable business attire to work. Formal wear for men is not required. Women wear both long and short dresses at receptions and cocktail parties. Women should also bring a "suq dress," an oversized, long sleeved garment with a high neck and hemline below the calf, and/or loose slacks with long over-blouse. While Yemenis are generally tolerant of Western behavior and dress, most Americans feel more comfortable wearing conservative clothing in public. For street wear, in addition to the "suq dress," women often wear slacks with a loose-fitting shirt or blouse which reaches the thigh. Shorts are worn only for sports.

Because of the constant dust in Sanaa, clothing may wear out quickly with frequent washing in hard water. Durable fabrics are recommended. With Sanaa's moderate climate, all but the heaviest and lightest materials will be comfortable most times of the year. Sweaters and light jackets are necessary for at least part of the day during the winter months and often evenings in summer. As most streets in Sanaa are unpaved, sturdy shoes with crepe or rubber soles are a necessity. Ladies' leather heels can quickly be ruined on gravel, which is used instead of concrete or asphalt in many parking areas and paths.

There are several stores in Sanaa offering western clothing. Prices are high, selection is limited especially for larger sizes, and quality only fair. A good selection of imported fabrics is available. Imported shoes are available, but, again, prices are high and selection only fair. There are a few dependable seamstresses in town who can make simple garments.

Supplies and Services

Cosmetics and toilet articles are appearing in increasing variety, though quality may not be up to American standards. Favorite brands should be brought.

High altitude and clear skies make for a harsh, bright sun. A good supply of sunblocks or suntan lotions should be brought. Sunglasses are also advisable. Reasonable quality non-prescription types can be found in town; prescription sunglasses should be brought. Hats are recommended for outdoor activities especially for children. Skin creams are important in Yemen's extremely dry air, and liquid soap may be more tolerable than regular bar soap. Lip balm is also useful.

Non-prescription drugs familiar to Americans may not be available; a supply of medicines such as aspirin, cough syrup, and digestive remedies should be brought. Prescription drugs may be available locally, but you should bring a supply.

Local, American, and English brands of cigarettes are readily available at reasonable prices. Menthol brands are harder to find. Some pipe tobacco and cigars are available, but not in great variety.

Three hotels provide clean, fair to good quality barber and hairdressing services at reasonable prices. There are a large number of cheaper barbers, though quality and cleanliness can be a question. Dry cleaning services are offered by hotels and many shops, and quality is satisfactory. Car rentals are available but prices are high and a Yemeni driver's license is required (drivers can be hired for an additional charge). Shoe repair is very primitive.

Religious Activities

Islam is the national religion and Yemeni law prohibits religious proselytizing. However, Yemen is tolerant of the private practice of religion by foreigners. Both Catholic and nondenominational Protestant services are held weekly at the Hadda Community Center. Catholic Mass is also held weekly and on holidays at the Sisters of Mercy home in Sanaa. A Protestant youth group holds regular meetings and sponsors various activities throughout the year. There are no functioning synagogues in Yemen, but Yemeni Jews hold religious services in their homes. There is an active Catholic church and Hindu temple in Aden.

Education

The Sanaa International School (SIS) is an English-language day school with students representing about thirty nationalities. The Department of State considers SIS as "adequate" through the sixth grade, although many American dependents attend SIS through ninth grade.

English (reading, grammar, composition, keyboarding, and spelling), mathematics, cultural studies (history, geography, economics, etc.), science, art, music and physical education are offered as a part of the standard curriculum.

A 4-year American secondary program is offered, which includes the basic subjects and a limited selection of electives. Various enrichment activities are scheduled some afternoons each week.

The school year runs from late August through early June, and the children attend school Saturday through Wednesday with Thursday and Friday off. The school hours are: 8 am to noon for kindergarten; 8 am to 1:30 pm for children ages 6 through 11 (although some days students will stay for various activities or special subjects); and 8 am to 3 pm for students ages 12 years and up. Bus service is available for a yearly fee. Children are expected to bring a snack on the shorter days and lunch on activity days. All textbooks are loaned to the students, who are responsible for their own pencils, erasers and notebooks.

The school is located about 20 minutes outside Sanaa, and consists of a number of comfortable, spacious buildings around a center courtyard. The 35-acre campus has large play areas with outdoor play equipment.

A few English-language preschools are available for younger children. These preschools operate in private homes and have between 10 and 30 students. Qualifications of teachers vary, and other parents should be consulted before choosing a pre-school.

Special Educational Opportunities

The Sanaa International School offers night classes in various subjects from time to time, including computer programming. In addition, Sanaa University offers a few English-language courses, though admission requirements and quality have not been tested. The British Council offers basic Arabic classes at regular intervals for a moderate charge. The Peace Corps offers a 2-month intensive courses in Arabic, but charges must be paid personally by the student. The American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS) hosts lectures on a variety of topics relating to Yemeni and Arab culture, and shows by local artists and entertainers. It also maintains an excellent library of books relating to Yemen. Visiting scholars supported by AIYS and USIA provide opportunities for discussing a myriad of topics.

Sports

The Sheraton and Taj Sheba hotels offer memberships for use of their heated swimming pools, exercise rooms, and tennis courts (Sheraton only).

The Sanaa chapter of the Hash House Harriers sponsors weekly runs through the scenic countryside. Yemeni soccer teams play weekly throughout the season, and visiting teams bring international-level competition several times a year. Many individuals jog through residential streets without difficulty, as long as they are vigilant for ubiquitous potholes, curious dogs, and vehicles that often drive on the wrong side of the streets.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Much of the Yemen's natural beauty is increasingly accessible. Paved roads lead to the coast, to the southern areas of the country, to the city of Sa'ada in the north, and to Marib in the eastern desert. Four-wheel drive allows one to explore more remote areas of the country. However, visitors should use caution when traveling to these areas, as hijackings of vehicles (mostly large, four-wheel-drive Toyota land cruisers) are not uncommon.

The warm, coral-fringed Red Sea coast is a favorite spot for swimmers, fishermen, and snorkelers, especially during the moderate winter months. (There are no facilities for servicing scuba gear.) Scenic but primitive camping sites are available in several areas along the coast. No acceptable hotels are available outside of Hodeidah, and camping gear is necessary. Basic Arabic is quite helpful in communicating with local residents.

The ancient sites of the Marib Dam and Temple of the moon at Marib are an easy day trip from Sanaa. The "triangle" from Sanaa, west to Hodeidah on the coast, southeast to Taiz and back to Sanaa, is a popular weekend trip. It allows one to see the Tihama and the Red Sea coast, the medieval university city of Zabid, the famous port at Mocha, the fertile green farmlands of the southern highlands, spectacular mountain scenery and ancient walled cities at Taiz, Jibla and Ibb. Adequate hotels are available both in Hodeidah and Taiz. Other interesting places to visit are "Job's Tomb," an excellent spot for experienced and novice rock climbers, the extinct volcano of Hamt Dam, and the fossil fields just outside Sanaa.

Since unification in 1990, travel to Aden (formerly the capital of South Yemen and currently the "economic and commercial capital" of united Yemen) has become increasingly popular. There are two paved roads from Sanaa to Aden, where visitors will find stark contrasts with the NorthBritish and Soviet influences on architecture, and cultures are readily apparent. Visitors will find, among other things, one of the world's best natural harbors, scenic beaches, a popular brewery and an international-class hotel. Aden also boasts Yemen's finest (and only) Chinese restaurant.

Yemen is a photographer's paradise. The exotic scenery and children in native dress clamoring to be photographed provide delightful and exciting opportunities. Women, however, should not be photographed without their permission, nor any site that could be considered military. When in doubt, asking a local shopkeeper or traffic policeman for permission to photograph is both good manners and good sense. Yemeni authorities are sometimes suspicious of video cameras, especially in urban areas. In general, these cameras should only be used for recording family or American community events. Film is available, though in limited variety. Local processing is adequate for prints, although slide and movie film must be sent out of the country.

Entertainment

The Sanaa Amateur Minitheater Society, boasting members of several nationalities, provides several opportunities each year for budding performers as well as those who only wish to attend. In recent years the Society has presented several plays and play readings, musicals, dinner theaters, cabarets and pantomimes.

Social Activities

Approximately 350 Americans live in Sanaa, with much smaller communities in Taiz, Jibla, Aden and Sa'ada. Informal parties are frequent and provide excellent opportunities for meeting people. Most social activities take place in the home, but community picnics, athletic events, and amateur theatricals provide occasions throughout the year to meet the entire American community.

Yemenis are accessible people, and interesting friendships are possible, especially for Americans who speak Arabic. A few words of Arabic, even simple greetings, will go a long way toward making Yemeni acquaintances. An ever-increasing number of Yemenis speak English.

There are many diplomatic missions in Sanaa, as well as several expatriate business firms whose employees participate in social activities with Americans. Many nationalities are represented among the Hash House harriers running group, while the Christmas pantomime is an Anglo-American tradition in Sanaa.

Aden

When the two Yemens merged, Aden was chosen to be the economic capital of the country. Aden became a British crown colony in 1937 and in 1968 it became the capital of South Yemen.

The Old Testament book of Ezekiel mentions Aden as a trading partner with the Phoenician port of Tyre on the Mediterranean Sea. Aden maintained its position as a trading center in the following years under its rule by Yemenis, Ethiopians, Arabs, Turks, and the British. Situated between Africa and India, Aden became a strategic and convenient port in the years following its capture by the British in 1839. Aden became even more important as a trading center after the 1869 opening of the Suez Canal. However, Aden's economy and importance declined after 1967 when South Yemen became independent. The British withdrew from the country, resulting in a loss of tourist trade and the income generated by the British military base. The closure of the Suez Canal from 1967 to 1975, during the Arab-Israeli crisis, further eroded Aden's position.

The city has a population of more than 562,000 (2000 est.). Small industries include some light manufacturing, seawater evaporation plants (to obtain marine salt), and boat building. The international airport at Khormaksar, a northern suburb of Aden, is the former British Royal Air Force base.

Aden consists of three sections or quarters: the Crater, Ma'llah, and Tawahi. The Crater, so named because it is located in the crater of a dead volcano, is the old commercial quarter. Despite Aden's long history, very few very historic constructions still exist. The oldest surviving construction is the Aden Tanks, located at the southern edge of the crater. The Tanks are huge water cisterns partially carved out of rocks. On the edge of the crater still stand remnants of the old city walls and bastions, some dating back as far as the 12th century. The Mosque of Sayyid Abdullah al-Aidrus, built in the 14th century and largely renovated, is Aden's Islamic religious center. Ma'llah, a small port area, is known for its traditional Arab dhows (boats). The business quarter of Tawahi is where most of the tourist hotels and shops are located. Also in Tawahi is the National Museum of Antiquities, which has an interesting collection of pre-Islamic statues.

Taiz

Taiz (sometimes spelled Taizz and Ta'iz), with a population over 180,000 is located in Yemen's southern highlands, about 125 miles south of both Sanaa and Hodeida. The three cities form a triangle and are connected by a road system. Bait al Faqih, Abid, and Yarim are other cities situated on these roads. Taiz, called "Aruzat al Yaman" in Arabic, meaning "bride of Yemen," is located in a narrow valley at the base of the rolling Saber Mountains, at an altitude of about 1,400 feet. It is an agricultural marketing center and was the country's administrative capital from 1948 to 1962.

The history of Taiz dates to the early seventh century, when the site first consisted of just a fortress on top of a steep cliff at the foot of Mount Saber. At this time, the town of al-Janad, four miles north of Taiz, was more prominent and because of the famous al-Janad Mosque, it was the religious and administrative center of the area. The shift in importance to Taiz began in 1174 when Turan Shah al-Ayyubi made the city the seat of his government. The city grew into a trade center, a position it still maintains today. Taiz expanded greatly during the time it served as Yemen's capital. The old city became an enclave in a fast-growing, modern urban center; the remains of the city walls near Mount Saber form an imaginary circle in which all the beautiful mosques and old houses can be found.

Many tourist sites may be found in Taiz, including two of the most beautiful mosques in Yemen. Al-Ashrafiya, with its two minarets, still serves as an important Koran school. Al-Mudhaffar has many small domes; its minaret collapsed after centuries and has never been rebuilt. The former Palace of Imam Ahmed and the Salah Palace both are museums now.

The Taiz souk offers a colorful variety of goods, including baskets, pottery, textiles, and carpets. Native women take an active part in the souk ; they wear colorful dresses and do not wear the traditional veils.

Education

Mohammed Ali Othman School, for kindergarten through grade 12, is located in Taiz. The coeducational school, founded in 1972, has an enrollment of over 1,000, and over 60 teachers, including Americans.

The school employs a combined U.S., U.K., and Yemeni curriculum, with instruction in English and Arabic. Extracurricular activities include newspaper, music club, volleyball, and football. The school has seven buildings, 53 classrooms, playing fields, science laboratories, and a 6,000-volume library. The school's mailing address is: P.O. Box 5713, Taiz, Yemen.

Hodeida

Yemen's chief port is Hodeida (sometimes spelled Hodeidah and Al Hudaydah), located on the Red Sea about 90 miles west of Sanaa. Developed by the Turks in the mid-19th century as a seaport, Hodeida exports dates, coffee, and hides. A fire in 1961 destroyed most of the city, but it was rebuilt with aid from the former Soviet Union. Hodeida's modern harbor has a port that can accommodate medium-sized ships and tankers. The port facilities have been the impetus behind the city's expansion. Hodeida is linked to Sanaa by a highway; taxis and airlines also travel between the seaport and the capital. Hodeida has modern health and communications facilities. The population of Hodeida is over 300,000.

Historic sites are nonexistent in Hodeida. There is, however, a fish market on the city's southern shore, where wooden fishing boats are still built in the traditional way. Hodeida's clean, sandy beaches offer excellent swimming.

Southeast of Hodeida is the village of Bait al-Faqih, known as the handicraft center of the Tihama. Craftsmen from the surrounding area come to the village on market day (Friday) to sell pottery, leather goods, textiles, baskets, and other woven goods. Farther south is Zabid, which used to be the site of a prestigious Islamic learning institution. Zabid has a Great Mosque and a colorful market known for its local sweets.

OTHER CITIES

DHAMĀR , with a population of over 40,000, is situated about 50 miles south of Sanaa. It is a provincial capital and market center for the nearby grain-growing region. Local tradition notwithstanding, first mention of the town is by the Arab geographer Yāqūt (1179-1229). He noted the city's handsome buildings and fecund countryside. Market gardens divide Dhamār in two; there are numerous mosques.

IBB is one of Yemen's most picturesque cities. Located about 100 miles south of the capital, its surrounding wall contains several homes. An aqueduct from the mountains supplies the city with a rare luxury in this countryrunning water. The Muzaffarīyah Mosque, among the dozens here, is considered especially beautiful. Ibb is a farming center, situated in the province that receives the highest rainfall, and remains green all year long. It has a souk, or marketplace, that serves as the regional hub for agricultural products. The city may date to biblical times. Its estimated population is roughly over 34,000.

AL-MUKALLĀ , the only important port in eastern Yemen, is 320 miles northeast of Aden. With a population of more than 50,000, al-Mukallā is the largest city east of Aden and is a market center for the mostly undeveloped interior regions. The fishing industry is of prime importance here. Industries include a fish canning plant and a fish meal factory; fish products, along with tobacco, are the major exports. Boat building is also important here.

SA'DAH , situated 120 miles northwest of Sanaa, is the capital of Sa'dah Province. The city of roughly 12,000 residents (1986 est.) is a major administrative center in the north. Industries here include leather goods manufacture and stoneware production. Sa'dah was the first headquarters for the Zaydī imams (leaders), who ruled the country from 860 to 1962. It lost its stature when the capital was moved to Sanaa in the 17th century. A recently built road connects Sa'dah with Sanaa and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Republic of Yemen is located in the southern corner of the Arabian peninsula bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north and east, Oman to the east, and by the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the South and by the Red Sea to the west. In area, it is about 204,000 square milesthe size of France.

Sanaa, the capital, is located at an altitude of 7,200 feet above sea level. Nearby is the highest mountain between East Africa and Iran, Djebel al-Nabi Shu'ayb, at 12,300 feet. The interior highlands have two rainy seasons a year: the first, in March and April; and a second, heavier, rainfall in July and August. For the rest of the year, sunny clear weather is the rule, with occasional dust storms. In winter, nighttime temperatures in Sanaa can drop to 30°F, with sunshine and day time highs of 70°F. Summer temperatures are very moderate, with highs of 85°F, dropping to the low 60s at night. The climate is very pleasant.

To the east of the highland interior, the terrain slopes down to the sandy wastes of the deserts of inner Arabia, the famous "Empty Quarter." These desert areas are extremely dry, with summer temperatures exceeding 110°F, but they can be quite cold on winter nights.

To the west, in the Tihama (the lowlands adjoining the Red Sea) where there is a mixture of African and Arabian cultures, the temperatures are very hot and humid for much of the year. Even in winter, daytime highs can be in the 90s. During the summer, torrential monsoons occur. Aden is similarly hot and humid, with summer temperatures frequently in the 100s. However, winter temperatures are far milder and more pleasant. The Hadhramaut and the desert regions extending east from Aden to the Omani border are hot and dry.

Population

In 2000, Yemen's population was estimated at 17,521,000. Before the Gulf Crisis, about 1.4 million Yemenis were working overseas, with perhaps over 1 million in Saudi Arabia alone. One consequence of Iraqi aggression is that 800,000 to 850,000 Yemeni workers returned home. Over half the population of the Arabian peninsula lives in the Republic of Yemen.

In contrast to the nomadic traditions of other peninsula inhabitants, most Yemenis have long been settled in small agricultural communities, and the population is still mostly rural. Because of poverty and the shortage of arable land, there has been a long tradition of Yemeni men working as expatriate workers and small traders. Many Yemenis have close family relations in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti, and there are Yemeni-origin communities as far-flung as the U.S. and Korea.

Yemenis belong to two principal Islamic religious groups: The Zaydi community of the Shi'a sect, which predominates in the northern, central, and eastern areas of the country; and the Shafi community of the Sunni sect in the southwest. The Zaydi Shi'a have a distinct religious tradition that differs little from the Sunni mainstream. Yemen also has the vestiges of a once thriving Jewish community, believed by some scholars to be one of the oldest diaspora communities in the world.

Arabic is the official language of Yemen, although English is gradually becoming more common as a second language.

Yemenis are proud of their culture and history and regard their distinctive civilization as a unifying force among the many tribes that make up the population. This distinctiveness has been recognized in several fields. For example, the architecture of the old city of Sanaa has been accorded protective status by UNESCO. Another characteristic feature of Yemeni society is the chewing of qat leaves at social sessions. Yemeni men, especially tribesmen, prominently carry the "jambia," a curved knife, at the waist as a sign of their personal dignity and independence.

Although Western dress is becoming more common, especially in the cities, most Yemeni men still wear the traditional "futtah" skirt, or full length "thobe," and an open jacket with their jambias. In the tribal areas of the north and east, most adult men also carry a rifle.

Yemeni women living in urban areas usually veil completely. In public, they generally wear black overskirts, loose-fitting capes and veils, or colorfully printed draperies over embroidered dresses and loose trousers. However, customs differ. In Taiz, women generally cover their hair with bright gold or saffron colored scarves but do not otherwise veil. Veiling is less common in rural areas, although many women will draw scarves across their faces if strangers approach. Some younger Yemeni women, especially university students, cover their hair with scarves. In Aden after unification, women have begun to cover their hair more frequently than before.

Yemenis are, for the most part, very friendly to Americans. Many have family and tribal ties to the thousands of Yemenis who have emigrated to the U.S. Since most Yemenis do not speak English, even a few phrases in Arabic will be warmly appreciated.

History

From about 1000 B.C. to 600 A.D., Yemen was the center of an advanced civilization based on intensive agriculture and a lucrative trade in aromatics, such as frankincense, with Mediterranean countries. The Biblical Queen of Sheba, Queen Bilquis, presided over a flourishing kingdom centered in Marib. Ruins of temples and walls, as well as of the famous Marib dam whose final rupture in A.D.570 (recorded in the "Elephant" sura of the Koran) spelled the end of this civilization, can still be seen near Marib. According to popular tradition, the city of Sanaa was founded by Shem, a son of Noah.

The country converted to Islam about A.D. 628 during the prophet Mohammed's lifetime. Previously, it had undergone periods as both a Jewish and Christian kingdom. Yemen provided many warriors to Islamic armies, and its artisans worked in constructing buildings that have given Islamic architecture its renown. Since early medieval times, Yemen has enjoyed varying political and economic fortunes that have been tied closely to the relative importance of its caravan routes. The Zaidi Imamate was founded by Yahya bin Husain bin Qasim al-Rassi, in A.D. 897 and lasted until the Republican Revolution in 1962. Other important dynasties that ruled in northern Yemen included Sulayhids, who produced the second great female leader in Yemeni history, Queen Arwa bint Ahmad. She established her capital in Jibla and ruled between A.D. 1067 and 1138. A second dynasty, important for its mosque-building activities and for the establishment of the famous medieval university in Zabid, was the Rasulids. Areas of the country were twice ruled by the Ottoman Turksthe first period lasted from 1513 to 1636and the second from 1849 to 1918.

After the departure of the Turks in 1918, Imam Yahya assumed political control of the north. Succeeding Imams kept the country in almost complete isolation until the regime was overthrown on September 26, 1962 by elements intent on modernizing the country's medieval economic, political, and social structures. The new republic was opposed by forces loyal to the Imam's family for several years. The Republicans were supported by Egyptian troops and the Royalists by Saudi Arabia, and periodic heavy fighting continued for almost 8 years between the Republican and Royalist forces and their supporters.

The Egyptians departed in November 1967, and a settlement was mediated by Saudi Arabia and Egypt in March 1970, which guaranteed a republican form of government in the former Yemen Arab Republic. Subsequent presidents of the republic established a written constitution and parliament. The new state faced both external and internal threats. It fought two border wars with the Communist-ruled People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1972 and 1979 and suffered from a Communist-inspired insurgency until the mid-eighties. Two Presidents were assassinated within a year in 1978. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the current President of the unified Republic of Yemen, took office in that year.

South Yemen was a focus of European attentions from the beginning of the 15th Century. Attracted by the superb natural harbor of Aden, the British came to Aden in 1839 and quickly established relations with sultans in the hinterlands of Hadhramaut to protect their position in Aden. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the British reinforced their position in Aden in order to ensure their line to India and their dominance in the region. Following the departure of the British in 1967 and independence, the militant Marxist National Liberation Front (NLF) took power. The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) was proclaimed under Communist Aaegis in 1970 and immediately began to support an unsuccessful guerilla war in the Dhofar province in neighboring Oman. In January 1986, Aden was rocked by a bloody 10-day coup between rival leftist factions. Estimates of those killed during the coup range up to 10,000.

Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990, following the decline of Soviet support for the PDRY and the collapse of the economy. The new state, the Republic of Yemen, was accorded immediate recognition by most of the world community, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

Public Institutions

Yemen essentially has two political systems: an developing democracy and an ancient tribal system. Yemen's government is divided into three branches: the executive, with the President appointing a cabinet headed by a Prime Minister; the legislative, with a 301-member unicameral Parliament; and the judiciary, consisting of three levels of courts (magistrate, appellate, and supreme).

The president is elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. Yemen held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdallah Salih to a five-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections. However, a Constitutional amendment adopted in 2000 extended the presidential term by two years, moving the next presidential election to 2006.

A 2001 amendment created the bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote). Parliamentary terms of office are 6-years.

Yemeni law is a mixture of tribal customs (known as urf), Muslim religious statutes (sharia), executive decree, and parliamentary legislation. New laws do not yet cover the full range of civil issues, but they have codified some traditional procedures, while introducing new concepts regulating commerce, labor, nationality, taxes, and civil rights. Outside urban areas, justice and law are still largely administered by traditional figures such as religious judges and tribal leaders

Arts, Science, and Education

In medieval Yemen, disciplines of law, religion, history and poetry were sophisticated and widely spread among the population. Yemen made many important contributions to Islamic civilization: a famous example is the development of algebra in the University of Zabid in the Tihama. Yemeni teachers taught in the Al-Azhar University of Cairo in the 10th and 11th centuries and students came to Zabid from all over Arabia, Ethiopia and Somalia. Yemeni isolation in recent centuries, however, led to a development gap which has had lasting consequences.

A low level of education (literacy is about 53% for males and 26% for females) has hampered development projects initiated by the government, but the number of students has greatly increased in recent years. Primary school enrollment in 1997 was about 2.7 million students. However, in the same year, secondary school enrollments only reached to about 354,000 students.

Yemen's principal universities are the University of Sanaa's arts colleges (including the Faculty of Education, which has branches in several other locations in Yemen) and Aden University. Total university enrollment in 1997 was about 65,675 students, with about 2,000 additional students studying abroad.

Commerce and Industry

Although once noted for its exports of coffee from the port of Mocha, today Yemen now exports little other than oil. The discovery of oil in both North and South Yemen has been regarded as the most significant economic development in many years. Oil was discovered July 4, 1984, by the American-owned Yemen Hunt Oil Company (YHOC) in the Marib region east of Sanaa. The Soviets also found oil about 80 miles to the south of the Marib area in the mid-80's. Yemen is believed to have modest reserves by Arabian peninsula standards. Export pipelines were constructed from both fields to oil terminals. Oil from the YHOC fields began to be exported in 1988, while no oil from former Soviet field (block 4) has been exported as of July 1992.

Outside of the petroleum sector, Yemen's economic prospects are limited. Yemen continues to import much of its food and, with a population growing at over three percent a year, chances for it becoming self-sufficient in food are slim. Agriculture cannot be expanded significantly due to the limited supply of water. Yemen is able to produce modest quantities of fruits and vegetables for export to its neighbors which should increase once relations with them improve. A small food processing industry has developed in the last decade mainly using imported raw materials. While primarily for the domestic market, some of this production is exported; including to Europe. Fishing holds some brighter prospects although over-fishing in the former South has severely depleted stocks. The government is committed to economic liberalization and improving the climate for investment although so far this commitment has yielded few tangible results. A new investment law has been passed but implementing regulations and the investment authority are not yet functioning.

The government has eased restrictions aimed at controlling imports. Formerly, it had sought with little success to limit outflow of foreign exchange by restricting imports through licensing and providing foreign exchange only for authorized imports. After unification, the government relaxed import restrictions and has generally not acted to halt smuggling of consumer goods. The government is allowing high levels of consumption and has not yet completed legal and political steps to create a more favorable environment for capital investment.

Transportation

Local

Within Sanaa, taxis are common, but hardly luxurious, and often operate on a group basis. Fares are generally reasonable and should be negotiated in advance. Tipping is not necessary. Women are generally advised not to take taxis alone.

Regional

Taxis between cities have a poor safety record and are not recommended. Buses are generally considered safer, since journeys are scheduled and drivers have no incentive to make the trip faster than safety permits.

The network of paved roads which now links Yemen's major cities is being steadily extended, but many parts of the country are accessible only by rough and narrow tracks with no roadside services available. Yemen is now connected to Saudi Arabia by an excellent road running from Jeddah to Hodeidah.

Major airlines serve Sanaa International Airport, including Air France, Lufthansa, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, KLM (starting October 1992) and the national carrier, Yemenia Airlines. No U.S. carriers operate in Yemen.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Domestic telephone service is fairly reliable. Service to countries, such as the U.S., with international direct-dial facilities is excellent but very expensive. A call to the U.S. costs about twice as much as the cost of the same call initiated from the U.S. Operator-assisted calls can take up to 3 hours. It is more economical to have families and friends in the U.S. do most of the calling. Telegrams may be sent from the downtown office of Cable and Wireless. A written text is necessary to ensure accuracy.

Health and Medicine

Sanaa is located at an altitude of 7,200 feet and is dusty. Individuals with respiratory or heart problems are suggested to contact Med before assignment.

Medical Facilities

Sanaa hospitals are used only in emergency situations. Hospitals are also located in Sa'ada and Jibla (both about 4 hours by car from Sanaa).

You and your family should ensure that all required dental treatment is completed before arriving in Sanaa. Local dentists are not trained or equipped to U.S. standards. They generally are used only for simple fillings and similar dental procedures.

Community Health

Public health conditions in Sanaa and other cities remain poor. Municipal garbage collection is irregular, and many areas suffer from overflowing dumpsters. Given the dryness and altitude, household pests are not a big problem and all homes are screened against flies. Happily, few rats exist in Sanaa, since a thriving population of wild cats and dogs keeps them under control. The cats and dogs pose some threat of rabies. Early morning joggers sometimes carry small stones to scare off the easily cowed dogs, who are rarely seen during day and evening hours.

Most water supplies, either from city services or private water companies, come from deep wells but are often contaminated. A city-wide sewer system is under construction but not yet completed, and wells can be contaminated by ubiquitous shallow cesspools. Proper treatment of water by boiling and filtration protects against water-borne diseases.

Preventive Measures

Dusty days can prove an inconvenience to sinus and allergy sufferers. Plant allergies, in contrast, are not a problem with the sparse vegetation around Sanaa.

Commercially bottled water and carbonated soft drinks manufactured in Yemen are safe and are widely available throughout the country. Some local hotels and restaurants offer food that is safe and sanitary.

Typhoid has occurred in Yemen in recent years, as well as polio, tuberculosis and scattered incidents of hepatitis A. Some malaria cases have been reported from exposure in the lowlands. However, malaria is not present at the altitude of Sanaa. Cholera has been reported in scattered locations in Yemen.

Gastro-intestinal parasites are common, but can be diagnosed and treated routinely. Firm discipline in water and food preparation greatly reduces the likelihood of such illnesses.

Schistosomiasis or bilharzia is endemic in Yemen but can be easily avoided by not wading or swimming in streams or fresh water pools. Fresh vegetables must be washed in a chlorine or iodine solution. You can buy imported meats, but they must be well cooked. Local meat from selected stores is also safe after thorough cooking.

Qat

Qat is a leaf which many Yemenis like to chew in the afternoon hours after lunch. It is on the official U.S. list of controlled substances and may not be imported into the U.S. It produces a mild amphetamine-like reaction. Much of the social activity of Yemen is centered around the "Qat chew." Important business agreements as well as community and national matters are usually discussed, and often decided during these sessions.

While qat does not appear to be physically addicting, withdrawal reaction has been known to occur after many years of regular chewing. The dangers include: blood pressure elevation; infectious diseases transferred via its leaves and/or the water with which it is washed; and ingestion of pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on the leaves.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

Connections are usually made from Frankfurt, Paris, London, Bahrain or Jeddah, with flights in or out of Sanaa most days of the week. Reservations should be made and confirmed as far ahead of time as possible.

Passports and visas are required. As of November 17, 2001, the Yemeni government stopped issuing visas to American passport holders at airports and other points of entry. All U.S. travelers to Yemen must obtain visas prior to travel at Yemeni embassies or consulates overseas. Upon arrival in Yemen, travelers should register within the first month at the Immigration Authority in Sanaa or at any police station in the district where they are residing. Long term residents should reregister when they change their residence. Yellow fever vaccination is recommended. For further information on entry requirements, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 965-4760; or the Yemen Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. The Embassy in Washington, D.C. maintains a home page at http://www.yemenembassy.org.

Americans who are considering studying in Yemen should make this fact clear to a Yemeni consular official in the United States and apply for the appropriate visa. Some American Muslims who come to Yemen for tourism or Islamic studies at Yemeni schools and have appropriate visas nevertheless have been detained by Yemeni security officials who seized their passports. In such instances, the American citizens were told their passports would be returned when they departed the country. Some Americans studying in Yemen without official permission have been deported.

Yemeni government security organizations have arrested and expelled foreign Muslims, including Americans, who have associated with local Muslim organizations considered extremist by security organs of the Yemeni government. The events mentioned in the WARNING section of this Consular Information Sheet have served to make Yemeni authorities, if anything, more suspicious of some foreign Muslims. Any American in Yemen who is considering associating with any political or fundamentalist Islamist group should discuss those intentions with a Yemeni consular official in the United States before traveling to Yemen. Americans risk arrest if they engage in either political or other activities that violate the terms of their admission to Yemen.

Yemeni law prohibits the removal of antiquities from the country. Yemeni authorities define antiquities loosely as anything man-made that is more than 50 years old. Persons attempting to depart with antiquities are subject to arrest, imprisonment or fines.

Yemeni customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Yemen of items such as firearms, pornography, and antiquities. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in or visiting Yemen are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and obtain updated information on travel and security conditions within Yemen. The U.S. Embassy is open for American citizen services between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., Saturday through Tuesday. The Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967) (1) 303-155, extension 118, 265 or 266. The fax number is (967) (1) 303-175.

Laws

Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.

Pets

Dogs and cats require current rabies and distemper vaccinations as well as a general certificate of good health dated within 2 weeks of arrival. Pets are generally cleared immediately upon their arrival. Shipment through Air France or Lufthansa is recommended. Some birds, including African parrots, and animals such as turtles and reptiles are not permitted entry. There are several Western-trained veterinarians in Sanaa.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The Yemeni Riyal (YR) is broken down into 100 fils. Notes are available in denominations of YR1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 fils. The exchange is around 164.59YR=US$1.

Travelers should be aware that automatic teller machines (ATM) are not available in Yemen. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

The metric system is understood within Yemen's main cities, but several traditional measures continue in use.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

May 1 Labor Day

May 22 Yemeni Unity Day

Muharram*

Mawlid an Nabi*

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

Id al-Adha*

Lailat al Kadr*

*variable, based on the Islamic calendar

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History, Politics, and Economics

Ahroni, Reuben. Yemenite Jewry: Origins, Culture, and Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

Amin, Dr. S.H. Law and Justice in Contemporary Yemen: People's Democratic Republic of Yemen and Yemen Arab Republic. Glasgow: Royston Limited, 1987.

Bidwell, Robin. The Two Yemens. Westview Press: Boulder, 1983.

Burrows, Robert D. The Yemen Arab Republic: The Politics of Development, 1962-1986. Boulder: Westview Press: London and Sydney: Croom Helm: 1987.

Daum, Werner, ed. Yemen: 3000 Years of Art and Civilization in Arabia Felix. Innsbruck: Pinguin Verlag, n.d.

Doe, Brian. Southern Arabia. London: Thames and Hudson, 1972.

Dorsky, Susan. Women of Amran: A Middle Eastern Ethnographic Study. University of Utah: Salt Lake City, 1986.

Dresch, Paul. Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen. Oxford: Clarendon Press: New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Gause, F. Gregory III. Saudi-Yemeni Relations. Columbia University Press: New York, 1990.

Halliday, Fred. Arabia without Sultans. New York: Vintage Books, 1975.

Ismail, Tareq Y., and Jacqueline S. The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen: Politics, Economics, and Society. London: Pinter, 1986.

King, Gillian. Imperial OutpostAden. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964.

McDonald, Elieen. Brides For Sale? Human Trade in North Yemen. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company, 1988.

. Conflict in the Yemens and Superpower Involvement. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 1981.

Peterson, John E. Yemen: The Search For a Modern State. London: Croom-Helm, 1982.

Pridham, B.R. Contemporary Yemen: Politics and Historical Background. Croom-Helm: London, 1984.

Pridham, B.R. (ed) Economy, Society and Culture in Contemporary Yemen. London: Croom Helm, 1985.

Serjeant, R.B. and Lewcodk, Ronald, eds. Sanaa, An Arabian City. London: World of Islam Festival Trust: London, 1983.

Stookey, Robert. South Yemen: A Marxist Republic in Arabia. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982.

. Yemen: Politics of the Yemen Arab Republic. Westview Press: Boulder, 1978.

Wenner, Manfred. Modern Yemen, 1918-1966. Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, 1967.

. The Yemen Arab Republic, Development & Change in an Ancient Land. Westview Press: Boulder, 1991.

World Bank. Yemen Arab Republic: The Development of a Traditional Economy. Washington, D.C., 1979.

Zabarah, Mohammed Ahmad. Yemen: Tradition vs. Modernity. New York: Praeger, 1982.

Tourist Guides

Chwaszcza, Joachim, ed. Insight Guides: Yemen. 1st ed. Singapore: APA Publications (HK) LTD, 1990.

Hamalainen, Pertti. Yemen: a Travel Survival Kit. Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 1988.

Hansen, Eric. Motoring With Mohamed. Vintage Press: New York, 1992.

Marechaux, Maria and Pascal. Arabian Moons: Passages in Time through Yemen. Concept Media Ltd: Singapore, 1987.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Cities of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Cities of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." Cities of the World. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Yemen
Region: Middle East
Population: 17,479,206
Language(s): Arabic
Literacy Rate: 38%
Academic Year: August-June
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 7.0%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 2,699,788
  Secondary: 354,288
  Higher: 65,675
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 70%
  Secondary: 34%
  Higher: 4%
Teachers: Primary: 90,478
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 40%
  Secondary: 14%
  Higher: 1%



History & Background

The Republic of Yemen (hereafter, Yemen) was formed on 22 May 1990 with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR, or North Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY, or South Yemen). The YAR, an Imamate (or kingdom), which had been under Ottoman rule until it achieved independence after World War I, was very insular and retained much of its traditional lifestyle and social structure until the 1980s. It became a republic after a civil war from 1962 to 1970, which also saw the involvement of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The YAR's traditional and conservative society contrasted sharply with the PDRY, which gradually became a British protectorate after the capture of Aden in 1843 and after the British left in 1967, adopted Marxism as its political system after declaring independence. The merger of the two very different countries can be traced to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic pressures of the late 1980s, as well as to an informal shared sense of ethnicity and nationhood among the people of both countries. A short but difficult civil war was fought for several weeks in 1994, largely along YAR-PDRY lines and led by elites of each side, over the issues of political power in the unified state and the disbursement of public funds and wealth from newlydiscovered oil fields.

Yemen is located in the southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula; its Arabic name al-yaman, is derived from the old term al-yamanan meaning "south"(of Mecca, the center of the Islamic religion). Modern Yemen shares a border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the north, the Sultanate of Oman to the east, the Red Sea to the west, and the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south. The country includes the island of Suqutra in the Arabian Sea and several small islands in the Red Sea.

Yemen is 532,000 square kilometers in size. The western and northern parts of the country (the former YAR) are very mountainous, apart from thin stretches of coastline, with the highest peak reaching more than 3,600 meters and a number of peaks over 3,000 meters. The sandy western coastline (the Tihama ) is extremely hot and humid. To the east in the former PDRY are more mountains, which descend into a rocky plain in the central east part of the country before merging into one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world, the rub' alkhali ("Empty Quarter"). There are patches of relatively fertile valleys in the east as well.

The Yemeni people are mostly Arabic by descent, although some remote tribes have their own languages and cultures that set them apart. The country's proximity to Africa and its position on sea routes to and from India and Africa has provided it with a diverse cultural mix; its foods and architecture, for example, are distinctly separate from neighboring Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia. The country's population is around 15.4 million, according to a 1994 census, about three-quarters of which are located in the former YAR. The people are predominantly rural; they often live in small villages or hamlets and usually identify with a larger tribal group, although the urban population is rising steadily. There are sizeable Yemeni communities overseas, including in the Middle East, Britain, and the United States.

Modern Yemen is a very poor country, with GDP per capita of US$750 in 1999. The country has few export industries of note apart from oil, although there is potential in light manufacturing, shipping, and tourism. Very low inward investment, limited mostly to the oil sector, is a result of poor infrastructure and perceived political instability. In 1996 the Government began a series of International Monetary Fund (IMF)-sponsored economic reforms, which continue to the present time.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The highest foundation for education in Yemen is the Constitution (Constitution of the Republic of Yemen, 1994), which includes several references to the obligations of the Government and its citizens in regard to education.

Article 32 of the Constitution provides that:


Education, health, and social services are the basic pillars for building and developing the society. Society shall with the state take part in providing them.

The role of the Government in this respect is spelled out further in Article 53:

Education is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee education in accordance with the law through building various schools and cultural and educational institutions. Basic education is obligatory. The state shall do its best to obliterate illiteracy and give special care to expanding technical and vocational education. . . .

This has generally been assumed to require the Government to provide a fair and equitable access to education for the country's population. Despite this, perhaps because of some vagueness and generalization in its wording, the Government's performance has been mixed. In fact, results have been quite poor in certain cases such as countering illiteracy and guaranteeing equal access to education among both males and females. The latter, and through it the former, is a perhaps an example where traditional culture is at variance with the liberal Constitution. Nonetheless, the Constitution is very protective of the principle of education, as well as the principles of educational and academic freedom. For example, Article 27 states that:

The state shall guarantee freedom of scientific research and achievements in the fields of literature, arts and culture, which conform with the spirit and objectives of the Constitution. The state shall provide means conducive to such achievements and shall provide support and encouragement for scientific and technical invention, and artistic creation and shall protect achievements thereof.

The policy and administrative aspects of education are legalized under Laws enacted by Parliament and by Presidential Decree. The Law on Education of 1992 is the main piece of legislation, and there have been Presidential Decrees and administrative orders since then to supplement and administer the law.


Educational SystemOverview


The Yemen Arab Republic (YAR): The YAR was, until the 1970s, one of the most isolated countries in the world. It was also, perhaps as a result, one of the poorest and least developed. For example, until the 1960s the YAR had no paved roads, no factories or export industry, and no doctors of Yemeni nationality. This stemmed, in large part, from the limited education sector in the YAR before that time.

Prior to the 1960s, the educational system was limited primarily to religious education provided by Islamic scholars in one of many local kuttab (an Islamic school usually attached to a mosque). A kuttab could be found in all cities, major towns, and most small towns. The primary goal of religious education was to teach students, exclusively boys, the Holy book of Islam, the Qur'an (also transliterated as "Koran"). Most undertook the mammoth task of memorizing the Qur'an by heart, which requires about nine years of study. Religious study also included learning the sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad and reading debates by latter scholars on Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. This form of education was very socially exclusive with only about 5 percent of young people (that is, about 10 percent of males) attending. Students usually came from elite or wealthy parentage. Most students' fathers held senior religious or bureaucratic positions or were wealthy merchants.

Only a handful of secular schools were formed during this time. Imam Yahya (1919-1948) formed a small number of schools with specific purposes: an Orphans' School, the students of which were typically trained in clerical skills; a Scientific School, which despite its title largely trained clerks for the judicial system; a teachers' college; and a military school. Despite this, secular schools remained scant. A few wealthy landowners formed modern schools at this time; the first was probably Ahmad Nu'man who, after a formal religious education, established a secular school in the 1930s at Dhubhan (near Ta'izz). Nu'man's school was the closest to date to true secular education and taught subjects such as mathematics, geography, and physical education. Nu'man found, however, that he was not popular with traditional Yemenis, who saw his school as un-Islamic and counterproductive to the moral development of young people; the Imam sent a traditional religious teacher to supervise him, and in 1937 he surrendered and moved to Egypt.

Nu'man's experiment highlighted the cultural factors that hindered secular education in the YAR during Imam Yahya's reign. Islamic knowledge, and as an extension linguistic and calligraphic skills, were valued at the expense of all others. Added to this was the use of isolation as a political strategy by Imam Yahya, who felt that isolation would protect his rule and draw disparate tribal groups closer together. It was to no avail. In 1948 members of an opposition group assassinated him, although his son Ahmad managed to claim the throne.

Little changed under Imam Ahmad (1948-1962), although he introduced some very minor steps towards opening Yemen to the outside world and to introducing a modern education system. Late in his reign, Ahmad introduced a secular school system, but not a large number of schools were established. The schools that were formed were based on 6 years of primary school and then 3 years of secondary school, typically covered the ages from about 6 to 15, and still existed for the benefit of males.

During this time, many Yemenis who sought a secular education headed to other countries, which they had been doing since before the 1930s. Under Ahmad, increasing numbers went to Egypt, Lebanon, or Europe, especially for their secondary or tertiary education.

After Ahmad's overthrow in 1962, a military government with a secular outlook took power and began to dramatically change and secularize the educational system. Egypt, which had troops and advisers in the country throughout much of the internal conflict between the republicans and royalists that occurred during the period of 1962-1970, provided considerable assistance. More than 50 schools were established, including vocational schools. New topics were taught for the first time formally, such as mathematics, English, and social and natural sciences. Also for the first time, schools for girls were established in the major cities of Sana'a, Ta'izz, and al-Baydha. The College for Radio Telecommunications and the College for Aviation were also established at this time with Egyptian instructors.

The post-revolutionary period of the 1960s also created greater educational and intellectual awareness and led to an increase in public discourse. Libraries were established and expanded along with the growth of public education. Informal associations were also established by writers, intellectuals, and the politically active, where debates and discussions were held and information and theory exchanged on topics as varied as political science, literature, religion, and even the role of women in society.

The 1970s and 1980s saw secular education expand dramatically and become more accessible. A Ministry of Education was established, after a 1963 decree by the military government, to monitor the public school system. Throughout the republic period (1962-1990), religious schools continued to operate, and a few private schools were also established. The school system included six years of primary, three years of preparatory, and three years of secondary education, followed by tertiary study at university or abroad. Primary education revolved around elementary skills, preparatory on practical and vocational skills, and secondary on one of five options: general (arts and sciences), vocational, commercial, agricultural, and teacher training.

The system was poor and heavily reliant on external aid. Only 6-8 percent of annual budgets were spent on education, but it was nonetheless a dramatic improvement and expansion from the past. While compulsory education was not enforced, the percentage of school-aged children attending school went from 12 percent in 1971 to almost 50 percent in 1981. Despite this, the number of girls at school did not increase significantly and remained around 10-15 percent. Further, the completion rate for primary school was poor at about 12 percent in the late 1970s. This meant that illiteracy rates, while slightly improved, remained remarkably high; in 1980, illiteracy was over 80 percent overall, including over 90 percent for females. By 1990, it was still high, but improved for both males and females. On the other hand, transitional rates were high for those who did complete primary school: 85 percent continued to preparatory level, 100 percent of preparatory level continued to secondary, and 78 percent then continued to tertiary study.

The first and most important step in developing the indigenous tertiary education system was the formation of the University of Sana'a in 1970, which remained the YAR's only university until it merged into the Republic of Yemen in 1990. The university was established with Kuwaiti aid and initially was small; at formation, it had only 61 students and 15 staff in three colleges (of law, science and arts). The university was headed by the Minister of Education as University President and included a Secretary-General in charge of day-to-day operations. In the late 1970s the school added colleges of economics and education. The university grew to number over 5,000 students in the late 1980s. Government scholarships were created along with the university to help students study abroad for degrees that were not available at the University of Sana'a.

During the YAR's republic era, there also remained a strong informal education sector, mostly teaching trades and basic literacy. At-work training, for example in clerical and administrative and managerial skills, was also common.


The Aden Protectorate (pre-1967) & the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY, 1967-1990): The British invested little into their protectorate of Aden and, at least prior to World War II, there was limited access to education. In fact, until 1937, the British ruled the area from India in an openly aloof way. The primary interests of the British were in controlling the port of Aden and having a territory from which they could watch and control maritime traffic in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, especially so as to protect the far more important asset of India.

In the 1930s, there were about 1,000 students enrolled in public schools and another 2,000 or less in private education or tutoring. This figure emphasizes the educational opportunities available to local Yemenis, as it includes a sizeable proportion of expatriates from both Britain and India. The latter was a key criticism of nationalists at the time who did not fail to notice the lack of educational opportunities available, the fact that education went primarily to foreigners, nor indeed that most teachers were foreigners, usually from India. One famous nationalist quote at the time cried, "Where are the Arab teachers?"

Little changed during and after World War II, even though war had brought an economic boom to Aden and had dramatically increased its wealth, population, and influence. The population rise was attributable more to a rise in the number of foreigners than to internal migration. There was a structured public education system, but the chief beneficiaries were those at secondary and tertiary levels or those who could access the English language training that became essential for local Adeni elites. In 1943 the British Council introduced English lessons for both men and women. For young people from elite backgrounds and a secondary education, places were available at the United Kingdom's best universities. Most of these people came from, and went into, public administration, rather than business, reflecting not only what was seen as prestigious, but also the education that was received.

Informally, as in the YAR, there was a rise in the level of political awareness and activity of intellectuals during the 1950s and early 1960s. Clubs were formed among the interested cultural elite, many of which not only served as civil groupings, but also promoted the use of Arabic in everyday life and the education system.

The reliance on foreign teachers under the British left South Yemen in a difficult situation after they claimed their independence in 1967. Education was dramatically expanded and access to it greatly widened after that time. Immediately after the removal of the British, the PDRY education system was expanded, nationalized, and Arabized. The cycle was a six-three-three system, not dissimilar in basic structure to the YAR or most other Arab countries. In 1975, this structure was changed to two-eight-four: two years of kindergarten, eight years of basic schooling (effectively covering primary and preparatory or lower secondary), and four years of secondary. The secondary level was in fact quite flexible with alternative options such as a two-year vocational program or a five-year specialized secondary program.

Education was not compulsory, but attendance was substantial and widespread in marked contrast to earlier periods. Girls were under-represented in education with female primary school enrollment at about 20 to 25 percent in the 1970s and growing to about 35 to 40 percent in the 1980s.

The education system was completely free at all levels with children given free textbooks and transport. In rural areas without a school, students were also given free board. At university level, students were also given a monthly stipend equivalent to about half the average salary.

The higher education level consisted of only one university, the University of Aden, opened in 1975. Six faculties were established in agriculture, law, economics, education, technology, and medicine. Some students also studied abroad, mostly in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but also in other Arab countries. Other higher education was provided through teachers' training institutes, which supplemented teacher training at the University of Aden. Teaching institute graduates could teach immediately at lower levels (that is, primary school) with the College of Education providing further training for teaching at secondary level. The Ministry of Education also provided training. In both cases, practical experience was included in the curriculum.

Adult illiteracy was a problem in the PDRY as in the YAR, mostly as a result of the lack of education prior to the late 1960s. This was tackled aggressively, however, through countrywide programs. In 1985, for example, the summer break was extended for three extra months to a total of almost six months duration, during which time all adults, men and women and throughout the country, were given the chance to have basic language and literacy training, as well as basic education in other areas such as mathematics.


Unification (1990) & the Republic of Yemen: The unification of the YAR and PDRY in 1990 stemmed from several sources, including both economic pressures and a shared sense of identity between the two peoples. In a sense, although the two states were completely ideologically and administratively differentone tribal and traditional, the other Marxistthe merging of their educational systems was not complex. Sadly, this was partly because both countries had poor levels of education, and suffered from the same problems in trying to develop their education systems. These problems included a lack of financial resources and limited teacher skills, as well as a poor infrastructure that disadvantaged rural areas. To some extent, though more in the YAR, there was a bias, both formal and social, towards the education of males over females, which was made all the worse by high population growth and thus overcrowding in most schools.

The main changes made after unification were the standardization of texts and curricula, as well as a slight restructuring of the education cycle. The new system was structured as nine years of basic education, followed by three years of secondary education. These changes were made difficult by the challenges at the time, including Yemen's international isolation after it was perceived as being pro-Iraqi during the Gulf crisis and Gulf War of 1990-91, not to mention the long-standing problems of poverty and poor economic infrastructure.

The education system that was adopted in Yemen after unification in 1990 was essentially a blend and merger of the systems of the YAR and PDRY with some small changes. The education cycle consists of nine years of primary education, followed by three years of study at secondary level. The usual age to commence education is six years, meaning that students generally enroll in primary school from ages 6 to 14 and then secondary school from 15 to 17. Primary education is, in theory, compulsory, although access for rural areas and females remains a problem and a large number of students still do not complete primary school.

Religious schools remain important and numerous, especially in the north (the former-YAR) where geographic isolation often means limited government and official reach and a mistrust, especially in tribal areas, of centralized, secular government. In urban areas, there has also been in increase in the number of private secular schools.

Higher education in Yemen has grown rapidly in recent years from a handful of universities at the time of unification to seven government universities and eight private ones at present.

Overall expenditure on education in Yemen has risen slightly in recent years. In 1996, total educational expenditure represented 3.6 percent of GDP, which was 23.5 percent of total public expenditure. As a percentage of GDP, the figure is expected to have risen after the economic growth of the late 1990s, although there are conflicting indications that, as the government seeks to reduce costs and its role in the economy, the total figure may actually have declined.

The academic year runs from September to June. Students have an extended summer break of almost three months, as well as shorter breaks for major Islamic and secular holidays.

The language of instruction at primary and secondary levels is Arabic, where students interact in colloquial Yemeni Arabic, but also study more formal Modern Standard Arabic, which is the medium of communication in formal settings such as newspapers, the law, formal political speeches, and international contexts with other Arabic speakers. English is used as the language of instruction in some technical areas at university level, where the most appropriate texts and journals are in English. This includes disciplines such as medicine and natural sciences. English has also become the most common second language studied by students.

Enrollment ratios demonstrate the fact that access to education remains a problem in Yemen, especially for females but also for students in remote areas. In 1996, the enrollment ratio for both sexes was 70 percent in primary level, 34 percent in secondary level, and 4 percent in tertiary level. By gender the figures were: primary, 100 percent for males and 40 percent for females; secondary, 53 percent for males and 14 percent for females; and tertiary, 7 percent for males and 1 percent for females. Female enrollment is, however, dramatically different across regions: at primary level, it is typically above 50 percent in urban areas and often less than half that number in rural areas.

The Ministry of Education oversees the education system. The Prime Minister selects the Minister for Education and must obtain the approval of the House of Representatives for the appointment. The Minister is the head of the Ministry of Education and has overall responsibility for implementing government policies and initiatives dealing with education.

In recent years, the role and relative influence of the Ministry has diminished in line with Yemen's economic liberalization program. Yemen's agreement with the International Monetary Fund for an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility for the period 1999-2001 included a specific agreement to limit the role of the Ministry and place greater control into the hands of the private sector. Yemen agreed to establish annual per student current and capital expenditure figures, to remunerate teachers on the basis of qualifications and their willingness to relocate to rural and disadvantaged areas, to reduce the administrative costs of education, to increase education access for students from rural areas and for females, and to reduce the number of more expensive foreign teachers. These changes, which Yemen has begun to implement, will likely lead to a greater private sector role in secondary and higher educationindeed, this was already underway, with secular private schools growing in number and popularity during the 1990sand, in a socio-economic sense based on the experience of other Arab countries with economic reform, possibly a greater metaphorical distance between the state, the professional classes, and the broader population. This said, it is also given that the Ministry will retain its broad oversight role regarding education quality, funding, and strategic and policy direction, while decentralizing the day-to-day management and administration to governorates and districts and, in some areas, to individual schools.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preprimary education, in the form of kindergartens and nursery schools, is still very much fledgling. In 1993-1994, the last year for which statistics were available, there were 62 public kindergartens with 680 teachers and a total student enrollment of 11,999, of which 47 percent were females. The figure had increased slightly from 1990-1991, when there were 51 kindergartens, 665 teachers, and 10,067 students. A report in the Yemen Times in May 1998, however, pointed to a strong growth from this low base. It stated that in the single school year 1995-1996, there were 110 new Preprimary schools opened, of which 43 were government schools and 63 private. This would indicate a dramatic growth, assuming that that particular year was not an anomaly and despite the fact that the private schools figure would include some nurseries.

Nurseries are much more numerous but are very expensive and, like kindergartens, not available everywhere. Despite this, there are estimated to be about 100,000 infants attending a nursery.

Primary education is, for the majority of Yemenis, their major education experience. With the education cycle of 9 years of primary and 3 years of secondary, with primary covering the ages of 6 to about 14, the primary level covers what many other countries consider both primary and lower secondary (or junior high school). It is, in other words, the mainstream level of education before students are then accepted into various streams of secondary school in preparation for a technical or education career or for tertiary study. By the end of primary level, therefore, students are expected to have basic skills in literacy, mathematics, and other core subjects and to have demonstrated their level of scholarly aptitude.

In 1993-1994, Yemen had 11,013 primary schools throughout the country with 2,678,863 students. In 1996-1997, the figure for the number of schools was not available, although the figure for the number of students had not increased significantly (only to 2,699,788). Given the rise in education spending and the fall in current spending as a proportion of this figure over the period, resources were going to other areas such as infrastructure and secondary education.

Completion rates for primary school are not high, partly as a result of the breadth of years covered at primary level, but also as a result of the cultural attitude towards education and the education expectations of parents. The former reason means that many students satisfy their educational needs before finishing high school; those that take up unskilled work, or who work with their parents in, for example, the family shop or farm, either do not perceive the need to continue to the completion of primary level, or their parents cannot afford to have them absent from the family business. The second reason, which involves cultural ones attitudes, is a common problem, but particularly so for females. In many cases, especially in rural areas, schools are simply too far from home and transport cannot be arranged or is not affordable. Less commonly, parents may be dissatisfied with the quality of teachers or materials. In the case of girls, especially in more traditional families, the parents do not see the need for extensive education, do not trust coeducational schools or male teachers, or simply cannot afford to have all their children fully educated and choose to educate the boys before the girls.


Secondary Education

Secondary education is a 3-year program that typically runs from ages 15 to 17 and is similar to upper secondary or senior high school in many countries. Secondary school allows students to develop specializations in preparation for particular careers or work that requires a comparatively advanced education. The main streams include a general academic one for students wishing to go to into higher education, covering both social and natural sciences, as well as specializations in vocational areas and in preparation for teacher training.

Secondary school enrollments increased dramatically during the 1990s, from 212,129 in 1993-1994 to 354,288 in 1996-1997 (the most recent years for which statistics are available). This latter figure included 286,405 students in general education, 52,349 in vocational training, and 15,534 in teacher training.

Completion rates at the secondary level are quite high, as a result of the large number of students who do not continue to this level and the emphasis at secondary school of preparing students for particular careers and/or for higher education. The completion rate is estimated at over 90 percent. As with other levels, females are under represented at secondary level, accounting for 71,309 students or 20 percent of total enrollments in 1996-1997 and 21 percent of enrollments in the general education stream.

A failing of secondary education in the past has been an over-emphasis on general, theoretical study in preparation for university at the expense of vocational and applied study. In the late 1990s, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training introduced a policy to increase the emphasis placed on vocational and technical secondary education. It is too early to determine the success of this strategy, although in the past these areas of study have not been very popular with students.


Higher Education

Higher or tertiary education witnessed a dramatic expansion in the 1990s. In 2000, there were seven public universities and eight private ones, compared with only two public ones at unification in 1990. Further, there are a number of two year colleges, plus several postsecondary specialized education institutes.

In 1996-1997, there were 53,082 students enrolled at Yemeni universities, of which 8,224 or 13 percent were females. Academic staff in 1991-1992 totaled 1,800. In 1996-1997, the proportion of Yemeni tertiary students by field of study was 29.6 percent in social sciences, 24.3 percent in education, 10.9 percent in humanities, 10.2 percent in natural sciences, 3.9 percent in medicine and medical sciences, and 21.1 percent in other fields. The last group includes students in business studies, engineering, and law.

These figures were the latest available at the time of writing (2001) but should have increased markedly in the interim given the rise in enrollments at the University of Sana'a, the country's largest campus, as well as the growth in the number of private universities in recent years. One estimate in 1998 put the total number of university students at 170,000 with nearly half of all students being at the University of Sana'a.

While the University of Sana'a remains the largest university in Yemen, the University of Aden is also large and offers diverse courses of study. The expansion of university education began after the unification of the two Yemens in 1990. Around the mid-late-1990s, five new public universities were opened in Ta'izz, Hadramout, Ibb, Dhamar, and Hodeida. Eight private universities were also established during the 1990s.

There are also several institutions offering two-year diplomas, especially in teaching, technical, and vocational disciplines, but in comparison to universities proper, enrollments in two-year programs are low and not as popular with prospective students.

The most common issue with university education, as with secondary, is the fact that most students choose theoretical rather than applied courses. Even in applied courses, the lack of laboratory and other facilities has meant that students spend a disproportionate amount of their time on theoretical rather than practical learning making them poorly equipped when they graduate. The dramatic rise in numbers has also had a negative impact on class sizes and the general quality of tertiary education. Nonetheless, there have been improvements in recent years with a priority placed on better-equipping university libraries and with new courses and programs created in fields such as health, demography, environmental studies, and physical education.

Postgraduate and academic research in Yemen is extremely limited, including in crucial areas such as medicine, engineering, and business administration. This is due in part to the limited resources allocated to research, as well as the fact that there is virtually no culture within government or business that sees postgraduate study or research experience as a necessary step for appointment or promotion.

Figures on research expenditure are not available. Postgraduates account for 0.2 percent of the population, which, including students undertaking coursework, demonstrates a very low level of research emphasis. Yemenis studying or residing overseas are, on average, considerably better educated, although the total figure would still be minuscule.

Outside of academia, the figure is little better. The public sector undertakes some statistical research, often of good quality, although obviously it is mostly for reporting and policy purposes rather than being qualitative or original research for the purposes of inquiry or the development of new knowledge or techniques. The private sector undertakes very little research apart from a handful in the area of business trends and strategy.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

As mentioned, the Ministry of Education manages the public education system with some administrative and local decisions devolved to governorates, districts, and individual schools.

Government spending on education rose steadily during the 1990s as a combined result of greater focus on education, the need for improved and increased facilities as the population grew, and as increased income, especially from oil, provided some additional funds. In the early 1990s, unification brought the need for short-term higher spending to cover the costs of integrating the two education systems. Also, there had been an immediate education emergency in late 1990, almost immediately after unification of the YAR and PDRY, when almost one million Yemeni workers were expelled from the Gulf. This included about 150,000 school-aged children who suddenly flooded the education system, which in turn was financially stretched by the return of the parents who were usually unemployed.

For the most recent years available, total expenditure on education in Yemen as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) was 6.2 percent in 1993, 6.3 percent in 1994, 5.4 percent in 1995, 6.3 percent in 1996, and 7.0 percent in 1997. This strong growth was hampered by the civil war of 1994, after which the reconstruction process called on enormous finances to the detriment of education.

The country also suffered economic setbacks after the war. However, by 2001 spending should have reached the government's target of 8 percent or higher, although the figure is not yet available. Since the early 1990s, this spending has represented more than 20 percent of government expenditure, and, during that decade, the figure increased towards 25 percent.

Within these figures, current expenditure represented a large but falling proportion: 95.6 percent was current expenditure in 1993, 97.3 percent in 1994, 94.7 percent in 1995, 89.9 percent in 1996, and 80.1 percent in 1997. The decline may be accounted for, in part, by an increased emphasis during this time on improved public infrastructure and new education facilities.

Excessive bureaucracy in the administration of education has long been an issue. In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, like many Arab states, both Yemens had developed a strong and influential bureaucracy to support modernization and government social initiatives; in the PDRY, a strong bureaucracy developed in line with a strong and penetrative nation-state, and in the YAR the republic era saw a strengthened bureaucracy, partly stemming from the Egyptian modernization influence in the 1960s. Recent agreements between Yemen and the IMF have included the reduction of bureaucracy and greater administrative efficiency, including in the education system, as important components.


Nonformal Education


There is very little information available on informal education. Formal private education has become increasingly widespread in recent years, and informal education, in terms of private tutoring and at-work learning and training, is probably also quite common. In many countries, including Yemen, deficiencies and poor quality in the public education system often leads to parents arranging for extensive tutoring for their children after-hours, which is also an important way for teachers to supplement their low incomes. At-work training is also a common method of staff development with experience usually placed above tertiary qualifications as a measure of competence, but no figures are available as to the extent or expenditure of this form on learning.

Adult education, especially in the Arabic language to counter the problem of extensive illiteracy, has long been pivotal to the governmental education policy, especially in the YAR and PDRY. In contemporary Yemen, adult education is in serious decline. Despite the on-going problem of illiteracy, enrollments in illiteracy eradication programs fell spectacularly from the peak of 631,228 students in 1990-1991 to 122,610 in 1994-1995. The main reason for this decline appears to be a failing in the quality and effectiveness of the teaching, whether real or perceived and whether in the system structure, teaching methods and quality, or student motivation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that all these are factors, that the programs are extremely bureaucratic, and, ultimately, that there is a very low success rate in achieving literacy.


Teaching Profession


According to one figure, Yemen had 85,688 teachers in 1996 across all levels, of which 79,044 were Yemeni nationals and 6,644 were non-Yemenis. This was probably a low estimate that did not include religious, private, or technical tertiary teachers. The true current (2001) figure is probably much higher, perhaps circa 120,000-125,000 plus some casual or informal teachers and private tutors. The figures (unfortunately available only for different years) for the various levels of education include the following. For preprimary education in 1993-1994, there were 680 teachers. At primary level in 1996-1997, there were 90,478 teachers, of which 17 percent were female, and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1 to 29.9. For secondary level education in 1996-1997, there were 13,787 teachers, of which 23 percent were female, and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1 to 25.7. A breakdown is not available of the teaching community for this level, although student figures, which would be similar for teaching numbers, were 81 percent in general education, 4 percent in teacher training, and 15 percent in vocational training. For tertiary level in 1991-1992, there were 1,800 teaching staff, of which 12 percent were female, and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1 to 29.5 (although this figure was from the time when there were only 2 universities rather than the current 15).

The usual mode of entry into the profession is to obtain a university degree or teaching institute qualification. Secondary education by itself has traditionally been adequate to teach at preprimary and primary levels, although this is changing and a diploma, or even a university degree, is becoming standard for any teaching position. University graduates wishing to teach at secondary level usually take a diploma from a teaching institute after studying. For older teachers who qualified without a degree or the formal qualifications typical today, the Ministry of Education runs mid-career and summer training courses to improve teacher skills. At universities, a doctorate is becoming standard for teachers in most disciplines with Yemeni nationals teaching at this level having higher degrees from a variety of places, including the United States, Europe, the former-USSR, and other Arab countries.

As a generalization, teaching, like most forms of public service, pays very poorly. As an indication, teachers earn around US$100 to $150 per month, slightly more at university level, and a little more again at senior levels such as headmaster or full professor. Furthermore, at times salaries have been paid late. To place salary levels in perspective, some example of costs (to live comfortably, but not luxuriously, with a family of five) are: rent on a small house for a family costs about US$100 to $120 per month, food for five would cost US$100 to $200 per month depending on consumption patterns, good qat (a mild stimulant chewed socially) might cost US$60 to $80 per month for one person, and utilities would cost around US$30 per month. Assets such as a car, telephone, or private education for the children are luxuries, available only to upper-income Yemenis. In other words, with total costs of US$400 to $600 to run a family of four or five comfortably, conditions are very tight without additional work such as providing private tutoring, having ideally at least two income-earners in the household, or otherwise, without owning one's house or having separate land as an income source.

In recent years, to improve the standard of education there has been an increase in teacher training, usually conducted by the Ministry of Education over the summer school holidays, as well as increases in teachers' salaries. This has met with some, albeit limited, success in improving the quality of education and the pay of teachers, but in both cases, there remain considerable problems.


Summary

Many of the weaknesses and problems have been highlighted previously and include problems of equitable access for males and females and for urban and rural students, the problems introduced by poverty and very limited public funds, excessive bureaucracy, and the variance between students' preferred areas of study and the graduates that the country most needs.

There are some other general points that can be made about the education in system in Yemen. The first, which is a considerable failing but one that is common to many countries, is the overemphasis on rote learning and memorization at the expense of independent analysis. The second is the lack of materials and equipment stemming from a preference in recent years for education quantity over quality. While there has been a strong and positive attempt to provide education widely and equitably, this is perhaps better achieved at the primary level to tackle problems such as illiteracy and poor numeracy skills than at the higher education level, where more needs to be done to improve the standard of education, especially in areas important to development such as medicine, natural sciences, business administration and management, engineering, and other applied fields. Finally, a coherent plan for developing Yemen's research capabilities and for converting discoveries and inventions into applied products and methods that enhance economic development has yet to be developed and successfully implemented, although it is gradually gaining greater attention in the education debate.

Yemen has faced enormous problems in developing its education system. It is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and the world, and its education system has faced serious problems throughout the 1990s, including those stemming from international and domestic conflict, economic austerity, and the problems from unification. In this sense, to have expanded access to education to the extent that Yemen has and to merge two different systems into one is quite an achievement. That said, however, the future is not likely to be much easier. Yemen will probably remain economically disadvantaged for many years (despite the development of oil as a source of export income), unemployment at 30 percent remains high, the need for economic reform is urgent, and population growth at 3.4 percent (1999 figure) places considerable pressure on public finances, unemployment, and education requirements.


Bibliography

Al-Mutawakil, Ahlam. "School Libraries Bereft of Books and Readers." Yemen Times VIII 17 (27 April-3 May 1998).

Al-Qadhi, Mohammed Hatem. "Fighting for Salary." Yemen Times VIII 17 (27 April-3 May 1998).

Al-Saeed, Mohammed, K. E. Shaw, and Alan Wakelam. "Issues of Educational Administration in the Arab Gulf Region." Middle Eastern Studies 36 (October 2000): 63-74.

Al-Saqqaf, Imad and Farooq al-Kamali. "Universities in Yemen: Too many students and unqualified graduates. Is it Time to Scrap University Education?" Yemen Times XI 17 (23-29 April 2001).

Carapico, Sheila. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

The Central Intelligence Agency. CIA World Factbook 2000. Available from http://www.odci.gov/.

Constitution of the Republic of Yemen, 1994. Government of the Republic of Yemen, 1994. Available from http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/gov/con94.htm.

Dresch, Paul. A History of Modern Yemen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Europa Publications. The Europa World Year Book 2000 (Volume II). London: Europa Publications Limited, 2000.

Joffé, E.G.H., M.J. Hachemi, and E.W. Watkins, eds. Yemen Today: Crisis and Solutions. London: Caravel, 1997.

Minister of Education. "Private Education must be monitored and guided more in depth by the Ministry of Education." Yemen Times IX 12 (22-28 March 1999).

Noman, Laila. "Education of girls in the Yemen."The British-Yemeni Society, November 1995. Available from http://www.al-bab.com/bys/articles/noman95.htm.

Sa'ad, Abdul-Jabbar A. "Educational Challenges Facing Yemen." Yemen Times VIII 19 (11-17 May 1998).

Tansel, Aysit, and Abbas Kazemi. "Educational Expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa." Middle Eastern Studies 36 (October 2000): 75-98.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO Statistical Yearbook 1999. Paris: UNESCO & Bernan Press, 1999.


Matthew Gray

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

Republic of Yemen

Al-Jumhuriyah al-Yamaniyah

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Yemen is located in the Middle East at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea bound its south and west. It is also bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north and Oman to the east. Yemen also includes the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, and the Kamaran group in the Red Sea. With an area of 527,970 square kilometers (203,849 square miles) and a coastline of 1,906 kilometers (1,184 miles), Yemen is slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming. The capital city, Sanaa, is located in the west. Other major cities include Aden in the south and al-Hudaydah on the Red Sea coast.

POPULATION.

With a population of 18,078,035 (est. July 2001), Yemen is one of the most populous countries on the Arabian Peninsula. The 1990 population estimate was only 11.88 million. The population growth rate in 2000 was estimated at 3.36 percent, but is expected to drop significantly in the coming decade. With a projected growth rate of 2.8 percent between 2000 and 2015, the population is expected to reach 36 million by the year 2029. The majority of the population are Muslims of the Sunni Shaf'i and the Shi'ite Zaydi traditions. There is also a small minority of Jews and Christians.

Yemen's population growth is very high by world standards, and the highest in the Middle East. The population is generally young, with some 50 percent below the age of 15. About 25 percent of the population live below the poverty line, up from 19 percent in 1992, and the average annual income is less than US$400. Widespread malnutrition and diseases make the infant mortality rate in Yemen one of the highest in the region. An estimated 38 percent of Yemenis age 15 or older could read and write in 1990. Among women, the rate was only 26 percent.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Yemen's domestic economy is largely dependent on oil, which accounts for about 85 percent of export earnings and 75 percent of government revenue. Yemen's oil reserves, however, are small in comparison to its larger oil-producing neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia. Oil reserves are concentrated in the north and south, with the southern field of Masila being the largest, followed by the Ma'rib field, also in the south. Agriculture, the second largest sector, accounts for 20 percent of real gross domestic product (GDP) and employs over half of the labor force . Higher oil prices fueled GDP growth of 2.8 percent in 1999 and 6.0 percent in 2000, and that upward trend is expected to continue in the coming years, barring a drop in oil prices.

Yemen entered the 20th century as part of the Ottoman Empire, administered by officials appointed by the Ottoman sultan based in Istanbul. For most of the 20th century Yemen was divided into 2 separate states: South Yemen and North Yemen. South Yemen was carved out by the British, who had established a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century. The British withdrew their forces from Aden in 1967. In 1970, when the government declared a Marxist state in the south, hundreds of thousands of Yemenis relocated to northern Yemen. North Yemen became an independent state in 1918, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1990, after years of hostilities and occasional conflict, north and south Yemen formally united to form the Republic of Yemen. Since unification, the country has struggled to overcome the legacy of the civil war that broke out between the north and the south in 1994, and to reform the economy. In 1995, Yemen launched an economic reform program in coordination with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). By the end of the 20th century, however, Yemen still had not created a vibrant economy or diversified its sources of income. As a result, Yemen remains dependent on oil revenue and on international lending agencies for financial assistance.

Yemen's economy is an underdeveloped free market economy with limited state control. Despite political violence, it has a fairly stable multiparty system and enjoys the support of the United States and the European Union. The economy's main exports are cotton, coffee, and dried and salted fish, but oil remains by far the largest single contributor to the national economy. Agricultural products account for one-fifth of GDP. Industry and mining, which are concentrated in Masila in the north and Ma'rib in the south, account for approximately one-fifth of GDP. Limited manufacturing, retail trade, and services are centered in the urban centers of Sanaa and Aden. Because of its limited productive capacity and industrial base, the country is heavily dependent on imported goods and on foreign debt relief and assistance to sustain its struggling economy.

Neither the agricultural sector nor the oil sector is capable of providing enough jobs to counteract long-standing problems with unemployment, which is exacerbated by rapid population growth. Unemployment reached 35 percent in Yemen during 1998, while the unemployment rate in the United States was just 4.2 percent in 1999. Despite the government's efforts to address the problem, unemployment will continue to present a serious challenge to the government for a long time to come.

Yemen's economic difficultiessluggish GDP growth and high unemploymenthave traditionally been offset by remittances from Yemeni workers abroad, and foreign aid from neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, however, both expelled Yemeni workers and cut off aid in 1990, due to Yemen's support for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that started the Gulf War. The country has also sustained a heavy foreign debt as a result of the 1990 unification, which, at its peak in 1990, was valued at almost twice the gross national product . Unable to make its debt payments, Yemen was forced to reschedule its debt to the Paris Club (a grouping of country creditors that extends loans to poor developing countries) in 1996. However, foreign assistance in the form of grants and loans, mainly from the United States and Europe, has alleviated the country's debt burden.

Corruption is a major problem in Yemen, and is especially so in the overstaffed and underpaid government bureaucracy. Chief illicit practices include soliciting bribes, evading taxes, and nepotism (favoring relatives, especially in hiring). The government has taken a tough stand against corruption, but with little success.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Since independence, Yemen has been ruled by one party, the General People's Congress (GPC), which holds an absolute majority in parliament. The party is liberal and committed to reform. The emerging multiparty political system coexists with a feudal tribal system, and suffers from a legacy of deeply embedded rivalry between the north and the south. Until its unification with North Yemen, a Marxist-oriented government dominated South Yemen, and its economy was in ruins at the time of unification. For the first 3 years after unification in 1990, the country was governed by a transitional legal code under which the government was a hybrid of the pre-unification cabinets and parliaments of North and South Yemen. Before the 1994 civil war, the Marxist Yemeni Socialist Party ruled South Yemen. Its role diminished greatly after its leaders were sent into exile by the northern government as a pre-condition for peace.

Following the marginalization of the Socialist Party, the government was able to launch an economic reform program in 1995, which was formally endorsed by the IMF in 1997. The program stipulated deep spending cuts and the privatization of numerous state-owned facilities, including the National Bank of Yemen, the Yemen Cement Company, and Yemenia airlines, among other state-owned enterprises. It also aimed at keeping inflation levels low and encouraging foreign investment in the country. Although some progress has been achieved in the areas of cost-cutting and expanding the government's revenue base, the overall performance of the economy has been rather weak.

Taxes are an insignificant source of government revenue. As a result of the reform program, however, the government has attempted to improve its tax revenue collection system by computerizing its customs clearance at ports and airports. The government, however, has been largely reluctant to reform the income tax system in line with the IMF's recommendations. These efforts have been complicated by economic and political uncertainties, such as high unemployment rates, widespread poverty, and a high incidence of political violence. As a result, dependence on the oil sector for revenue is likely to persist.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Yemen's infrastructure is relatively poor and underdeveloped. The country is serviced by a network of over 67,000 kilometers (41,634 miles) of primary and secondary roads, only 7,700 kilometers (4,785 miles) of which are paved. Southern Yemen's road system is in especially bad condition, as parts of many roads are washed away by flash floods and heavy rains. As a result, the country's road system constitutes a serious obstacle to economic development. There is no railway system.

Yemen has 5 major airports: the Sanaa, Aden, Rayyan, Taiz, and Hodeida airports. Renovation of the Sanaa and Aden airports began in 2000. Yemenia airline is the country's official airline and is largely protected against foreign competition. The carrier is slated for privatization, but the government has been reluctant to sell its 51 percent share in the airline. Yemen has 6 ports. With the exception of the Port of Aden, all ports experience delays in loading and unloading. Most domestic activity is concentrated at the Port of Hodeidah. Aden Container Terminal, which opened in March 1999 and is still being expanded, is gradually taking over as the country's main port.

Electrical power is supplied to Yemenis by the Public Electricity Corporation, which has a capacity of 400 Megawatts of power. The company can barely meet local demand; electricity reaches only 30 percent of the population. As a result of repeated blackouts and severe shortagesespecially in Mukalla and Hadramawt, both

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Yemen 15 64 29 N/A 1 N/A 1.2 0.02 10
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Saudi Arabia 57 321 262 N/A 31 N/A 49.6 1.17 300
Oman 29 598 595 0.0 43 2.7 21.0 2.87 50
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

of which are not connected to the national gridseveral factories and residences either have their own generators, or are forced to operate only one shift a day. The situation is worse in rural areas, where an estimated 60 percent of households have no electricity. The government has launched a program to upgrade and extend power supplies, largely with the help of the World Bank.

Telecommunications services in Yemen are unreliable. The country had 249,515 working lines in 1998, with a capacity of 296,129 lines. Telephone service, mobile included, is often interrupted for security reasons. Internet service is available, but is both costly and unreliable. In 2000, the country had just 1 Internet service provider for its 12,000 Internet users.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Yemen's economic sectors reflect the small size of the economy. The 2 largest economic sectors are agriculture and oil. Agriculture accounted for 20 percent of GDP in 1998, industry (including oil) for 42 percent, and services for 38 percent. Oil accounts for 85 percent of export earnings and is the largest source of government revenue. Two of the greatest obstacles to growth in all of Yemen's economic sectors are overstaffing in all of the state institutions and the sensitivity of the oil sector to changes in world oil prices. Since 1995, the government has targeted certain areas of economic growth especially the manufacturing and construction sectors to fuel growth and to diversify the sources of revenue by investing in both the oil and non-oil sectors. Growth in these sectors, however, has been rather sluggish.

AGRICULTURE

Agricultural production is the single most important contributor to Yemen's economy, accounting for 20 percent of GDP. The agricultural sector provides approximately 58 percent of the country's employment. The labor-intensive sector is largely underdeveloped and inefficient, as a result of soil erosion, the high cost of credit and land, a lack of investment, and the scarcity of water. Most of the cultivated land is irrigated and dependent on groundwater, but high demand could exhaust water supplies by 2008. Although agricultural output has increased steadily in the past few years, crop yields remain low relative to those produced by comparable countries.

Major agricultural products include fruits, vegetables, and cereals, but production is rarely sufficient to meet domestic demand. As a result, Yemen continues to import most of its food. Yemen also cultivates qat, a mildly narcotic plant indigenous to Africa. Although legal, the government has recently moved to ban its consumption in public offices and on army duty due to economic and social costs associated with those under the influence. It continues to be widely consumed, and future efforts to ban it are unlikely.

FISHING.

Though Yemen's location would suggest a booming fishing industry, actual fishing production remains low, largely due to under-exploitation. Most fishing activity continues to center around small boats and family-owned businesses. The sector employs some 41,000 people and produced over 127,000 tons of fish catch in 1998. Yemeni fishing would likely benefit from regulation and effective enforcement to avoid the over-fishing of some species.

INDUSTRY

MINING.

Oil is a significant source of revenue for the government and of export earnings. Yemen's oil reserves, however, are small by regional standards. Oil reserves, proven and unproven, are estimated to be about 4 billion barrels, in comparison to Saudi Arabia, which has over 260 billion barrels of proven and unproven reserves. Most of the oil production is concentrated in the country's 2 largest fields at Ma'rib and Masila. There are also significant oil fields in Jannah, East Shabwa, and Iyad. Unlike neighboring Arab oil producing states, oil production is dominated by foreign companies. Several foreign companies, such as Hunt Oil Company (U.S.) and Canadian Occidental, enjoy production-sharing agreements, but Yemen's uncertain political atmosphere and dim oil prospects have limited the number of foreign companies interested in the oil sector. The sector's future lies in the successful exploration of new fields.

In addition to oil, Yemen's Ma'rib region is home to natural gas reserves estimated at 16.9 trillion cubic feet. Although small by regional standards, the gas is produced in commercial quantities, but competition and the lack of potential clients have thus far hindered the development of this endeavor. Other minerals include gypsum, salt, and gold.

MANUFACTURING.

The manufacturing sector is an important and growing contributor to the Yemeni economy, accounting for about 12 percent of GDP in 1998. The sector has grown steadily in the last decade, but its growth is hindered by competition from imported goods and the lack of funding. Oil refining accounts for half of manufacturing activity. Refining activities are mostly concentrated in Aden and Ma'rib.

Yemen's small industrial base is built around small-sized, family-owned enterprises. Yemen has some 33,284 industrial establishments employing 1 to 4 workers. All large-and medium-sized establishments account for 5 percent of the total number of industrial enterprises. The bulk of Yemen's industrial base is centered on food processing and beverages, but production of cooking oil and flour has increased in recent years. The production of mixed metal products, such as water storage tanks, doors, and windows is the second largest industry, followed by the production of non-metallic products.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Tourism is not a significant contributor to Yemen's economy, despite the government's continuous effort to promote the country as a tourist destination. The sector suffers from a number of problems, foremost among which are political instability and the absence of modern facilities and infrastructure. Furthermore, at least 100 foreigners were reported kidnapped in 1999. Western countries have been advising their nationals against travel to Yemen since the 1998 abduction and killing of 18 foreigners. The number of tourists visiting the country dropped significantly after the 1998 incident, from 87,000 in 1987 to 45,000 in 1999.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

Yemen's banking system is poor and suffers from a number of problems, including a poor loan collection record, low bank monetary assets, and questionable policies regarding the extension of loans to clients. Despite government efforts to reform the financial sector by setting new standards for local banks in 1997, the sector continues to suffer from poor enforcement and compliance, a weak judicial system to ensure collection, and a general lack of public trust in the banking system as a whole. Furthermore, the government's efforts to sell its 2 major commercial banks have been rather slow, mainly due to the long preparation time required to bring these banks up to standard for sale.

Both public and private banks operate in Yemen. Both state-owned commercial banks and 3 of the 12 private banks follow Islamic banking practices, which includes not charging interest on loans. There are also 4 foreign-operated banks. Banking facilities are virtually absent in rural areas, and most loans are extended to well-known businessmen or on the basis of personal connections, making it hard for independent entrepreneurs to access funding.

RETAIL.

Yemen lacks well-developed commercial centers even in the larger coastal citiesand, therefore, has a poorly developed retail sector. The majority of shops in major cities are small and family-owned and run. Small family shops and temporary road stands characterize this sector in the majority of inland towns.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Over the past several decades, Yemen has relied more and more on imports, but, despite periodic peaks in the amount of imports, Yemen's oil exports have kept its trade balance positive. In 2000, exports stood at US$4.2 billion, while imports were worth US$2.7 billion. In addition to legitimate trade, the smuggling of firearms, alcohol, and consumer goods to and from Saudi Arabia is rampant on the Red Sea. Yemen imports a wide variety of goods, except oil and oil products. Neighboring Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supply the majority of Yemen's imports, followed by France, the United States, and Italy.

Oil accounts for over 85 percent of total sales abroad. Non-oil exports include semi-processed agricultural products, mostly foods. Given its weak industrial base, oil is expected to remain the country's major export. Sales of liquefied natural gas are expected to surge, but the prospects for that eventuality are far from certain. Yemen exports the majority of its oil to Asia, especially Thailand, China, South Korea, and Singapore.

MONEY

Since 1996, the government has allowed the value of the Yemeni riyal to floatmeaning its value is determined by supply and demand, not by the government. Before 1996, the government officially set the price, which led to it being widely sold on the black market . The riyal was devalued in 1996 from YR12 per US$1 to YR50 per US$1. Since 1996, the value has fluctuated sharply. Between 1996 and 1997, the value of the riyal remained stable, selling for an average of YR125 per US$1 for most of that period. Since 1998, however, the value of the riyal has declined steadily, mainly due to rising fears about Yemen's increasing foreign debt and budget deficit . As a result, the riyal traded at YR170 per US$1 in mid-1999. The Central Bank's efforts to keep the value at a stable rate since then have been largely successful. Since late 1999, it has been trading at an average of YR160 per US$1.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

With a per capita income of US$254 annually, Yemen is by far the poorest country in the region. Living standards in the country have fallen sharply since 1990 as a result of high inflation, which in 1995 peaked at 56.3 percent. Although inflation dropped to 10 percent in 2000, the value of wages also decreased, forcing

Exchange rates: Yemen
Yemeni rials per US$1
Oct 2000 164.590
2000 160.683
1999 155.718
1998 135.882
1997 129.281
1996 94.157
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Yemen N/A N/A N/A 266 254
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Saudi Arabia 9,658 11,553 7,437 7,100 6,516
Oman 3,516 3,509 5,607 5,581 N/A
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Yemen
Lowest 10% 2.3
Lowest 20% 6.1
Second 20% 10.9
Third 20% 15.3
Fourth 20% 21.6
Highest 20% 46.1
Highest 10% 30.8
Survey year: 1992
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

Yemenis to spend more than half their income on food and beverages and limiting their ability to purchase imported goods. An estimated 25 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in 1997, up from 19 percent in 1992.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Yemen's poor education system has meant that the majority of Yemen's labor force is unskilled. About 62 percent of Yemeni adults are unable to read and write. This problem is aggravated by the fact that the majority of Yemen's labor force is concentrated in the agricultural sector, in jobs that do not require advanced skills. The unemployment rate in the country is quite high by regional and international standards, reaching 35 percent in 1998. Local training programs are also poor by regional standards, and job opportunities for graduates of local universities are limited. As a result, thousands of skilled and semi-skilled laborers are forced to seek employment opportunities in neighboring Arab countries. Child labor has been prohibited since 1999, but it remains widespread, especially in the agricultural sector. Government work hours are from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Private businesses maintain a different work schedule, which runs in 2 shifts: from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Yemen 25 5 26 3 5 5 31
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Saudi Arabia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Oman 22 8 25 13 21 5 7
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1538. Yemen falls under Ottoman rule.

1839. The British occupy Aden in southern Yemen.

1918. North Yemen gains independence from the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I (1914-1918), calling itself the Yemen Arab Republic.

1935. The British create the Aden Protectorates.

1962. A group of nationalist officers revolt against the British and proclaim the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) under the leadership of Abdullah al-Sallal.

1967. South Yemen gains independence from the United Kingdom.

1970. South Yemen, renamed the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, nationalizes foreign-owned properties and establishes close ties with the Soviet Union.

1974-1978. A series of military coups in North Yemen leads to the ascendancy of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who rules until the 1990 unification.

1986. A 12-day civil war erupts within the government of South Yemen. Former premier Haydar Bakr al-Attas is elected president in October.

1990. The Republic of Yemen is established peacefully on 22 May.

1993. Fair, multi-party, universal-suffrage elections are won by the General People's Congress.

1994. The south rebels against northern domination. The north wins, and the constitution is amended to establish a multiparty democracy.

1995. The government launches an economic reform program.

1999. In the first direct presidential election, Saleh returns to office.

2001. First municipal elections in country's history. The ruling General People's Congress wins the majority of seats. The constitution is amended to extend the term of the president from 5 to 7 years and parliamentary terms from 4 to 6.

FUTURE TRENDS

Yemen entered the 20th century under a cloud of economic decline. For much of the century, the rivalry between northern Yemen and the Marxist-led government of the south sapped the country's resources. The legacy of socialism left the southern economy in ruins. The reunification of the countries in 1990 and the subsequent civil war in 1994 further contributed to Yemen's economic decline. Government policies to stabilize the economy enacted in the mid-1990s have significantly improved the country's macroeconomic and structural conditions.

Yemen will likely address the unemployment problem, attempt to curb population growth, and implement the privatization policy in hopes of achieving long-term economic growth. The government has yet to lift subsidies on diesel fuel completely, cut military spending, downsize the public bureaucracy, or quash corruption in its public institutions and ministries. Much work will need to be done on the political front to achieve social and political stability, particularly to soothe the tensions between the current government and rural tribal groups and southern Marxists.

DEPENDENCIES

Yemen has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Yemen. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen. <http://www.yemenembassy.org>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Yemen. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/nea/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

Reem Nuseibeh

CAPITAL:

Sanaa.

MONETARY UNIT:

Yemeni riyal (YR). One riyal equals 100 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 fils riyals, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 riyals.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Crude oil, cotton, coffee, and dried and salted fish.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food, live animals, machinery and equipment, and manufactured goods.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$14.4 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$4.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000). Imports: US$2.7 billion (f.o.b., 2000).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

A state on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

The Republic of Yemen was created in May 1990 as a result of the merger of the two previous states that used the name Yemen: the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR; often called North Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY; often called South Yemen). The merger brought together two disparate political systems: the North had been governed by a military/tribal elite, which supported a free-market economy, whereas the South had been governed by a Marxist-Leninist political elite, which had introduced one of the most centrally directed economies in the modern world. After a transition period, the president of the North, Ali Abdullah Salih, was made president of the new unified state.


Population

In 2000, the population was estimated at 17.5 million, not including an indeterminate number of Yemenis living and working abroad, primarily in Arabian Peninsula states. Yemen has one of the highest birthrates in the world, as well as a high infant mortality rate; the net rate of annual increase is estimated at 3.6 percent.

Area and Borders

Since Yemen is one of the few states in the modern world without completely demarcated borders, it is not possible to give a precise figure for its total area. The northeast and east still have no internationally (or even locally) accepted borders. This has led to numerous border disputes and even wars between Saudi Arabia and both of the previously existing Yemens since the 1920s. The border with Saudi Arabia was demarcated as far as the Najran oasis after the Saudi-Yemeni War of 1934; this conflict also gave control of the Asir region to the Saudi state through a treaty renewed every twenty years, creating continued difficulties in relations between the two states. In the northeast, the generally recognized end of Yemeni sovereignty lies east of Maʾrib; with the discovery of oil and gas deposits in this area, however, new conflicts over the border between the two states arose in this area in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The demarcation of the border with Oman was officially completed in 1995, but despite repeated memoranda of agreement with Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, as well as a contract with a German firm to undertake its delineation in 2001, that process has yet to be completed. In the mid-1990s, a new set of border disagreements arose; these involved numerous islets in the Red Sea, the ownership of which was disputed with Eritrea as well as Saudi Arabia. A UN arbitration panel awarded the islands to Yemen in 1999, but the agreement specifically avoided defining the maritime boundary in a way that would offend the claims of Saudi Arabia. To the south, Yemen lies on the Gulf of Aden. The old border between the North and Southcreated by the Ottoman and the British empires in the early years of the twentieth century and technically abolished as a result of the union of 1990nevertheless continues to be of some political importance.


Major Cities

Sanʿa is the most important, largest, and probably the oldest city in Yemenit is mentioned in the Bible under its old name, Uzal. By 2000, its population was considerably more than 1 million. It has been the capital city of Yemen for most of the past two millennia (with the exception of the reign of Imam Ahmad, 19481962, in which he moved the capital to Taʿiz) and became the administrative (political) capital of the new republic after unification. Its old city has been placed on the list of World Heritage Sites because of its unique architecture and historical importance; many of the buildings are more than 800 years old.

Aden, the capital of the former PDRY, has the best port on the Arabian Peninsula. For more than a century, until the late 1960s, it was a major British military and commercial possession. After unification, it was made the economic and commercial capital of the country, but its role in the civil war of 1994 and subsequent events caused it to lose some of its significance.

Hodeida (al-Hudayda) is the major port of the former North Yemen. Its facilities were extensively modernized by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Consequently, it grew rapidly from a sleepy Red Sea fishing port handling primarily local trade to a major metropolitan area.

Taʿiz, the major city of the southern highlands of the former North Yemen, is located in one of the richest agricultural areas. Its population, predominantly of the Islamic Shafiʿi sect, had the longest and best-developed contacts with the outside world during the reigns of Imams Yahya and Ahmad in the twentieth century.

Although the country has a few smaller cities (e.g., Ibb, Dhamar, Saʿada and Zabid in the north, and Mukalla, Tarim, and Shibam in the south), the vast majority of the population lives in villages, each with an average population of fewer than 200 people. Yemen probably has the most decentralized population of any contemporary state.


Geography and Climate

Yemen's location, combined with its geographical characteristics, gives it the most favorable climate and agricultural resources of any country on the Arabian Peninsula. The country is divided into a number of relatively clear zones: The first of these, along the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea coasts, is hot and humid; from there, the land slopes upward into the first range of hills and low mountains, where the climate is considerably more temperate; eventually, after a series of high plains, the peaks of the central
massif reach between 11,000 and 13,000 feet (3,3553,965 m). These mountains have been terraced from time immemorial, and a vast array of fruits, vegetables, and grains (and the infamous qat plant) can be raised in the many microclimates created by this geography. In the central mountains, the humidity is low and the temperatures moderate, although in the winter it is not unusual to find temperatures below freezing and the occasional snow or ice storm. Over the centuries, the Yemenis have developed plant strains to occupy the many microcli-mates. On the other side of the central massif and away from the monsoons, which deliver the rain that makes extensive agriculture possible on the westward side, the land slopes away into the great central desert of Arabia, the Rub al-Khali, broken only by the great Hadramawt Valley, the home of numerous towns exploiting the limited water resources found there. The rainfall that the various mountain ranges wring out of the prevailing winds varies widelyfrom less than 3 inches (7.62 cm) per year in the deserts and northern reaches of the country to about 38 inches (96.52 cm) per year in some of the areas around Taʿizabout the same as in Seattle, New York, or Chicago.

Political Subdivisions

Administratively, the two preunification Yemeni states varied considerably. The units into which the two states were organized were frequently modified, sometimes as the result of political expediency and at other times due to the nature of the personnel available for major administrative duties. For example, in the PDRY, the first administrative reorganization sought to get rid of the old tribally organized political entities, which had been called the protectorates. Later, the state undertook to recreate some of these entities under new names to regain popular support. In the North, after the revolution, the number of administrative units (governorates) rose with the growth in the population as well as with the increasing number and variety of demands for governmental services. In the immediate aftermath of reunification, the number and characteristics of the administrative subunits within the two separate entities were largely retained. On the other hand, electoral districts have been substantially increased and modified over the years.


The Economy

The natural resource base of Yemen has begun to be developed, largely because it was not until the 1960s that either the North or the South had the opportunity to assess that base or attempt its development. The most important contemporary resources are oil and gas deposits, which were discovered in both North and South Yemen prior to unification and which contributed significantly to the push for unification. The majority of the population of Yemen continues to be employed in the agricultural sector, although productivity is not adequate to the requirements of the population. The multiplicity of microclimates makes it possible to grow just about any fruit or vegetable, from the citrus fruits, bananas, and cotton of the hot coastal plain, through the coffee, grains, and qat (a small tree valued for the alkaloids contained in its leaves) of the middle highlands, to the pears, grapes, and nuts of the high mountains.

Although industrial development has been a priority in both North and South Yemen since independence, it has not reached the stage where industry is a significant factor in the economy of either region. In fact, Yemen operates a monumental deficit in its current accounts because it has few exportable resources. Until 1991, the most important positive element in its balance of payments was the remittances of its large workforce in the various Gulf states and in other countries. Following the 1991 Gulf War, however, the majority of Yemenis abroad were forced to return home (some 800,000 from Saudi Arabia alone), creating a massive social and economic problem. Since then, a variety of international loans and development assistance funds have helped to ameliorate the continuing economic problems.


Culture

The population of Yemen is ethnically Arab, although of different origins. The majority is descended from the ancient south Arabian peoples, and the remainder immigrated from the Fertile Crescent area more than a thousand years ago.

Arabic is the official language. Although everyone speaks it, there are substantial differences in dialect from region to region. In some of the more remote areas of the island of Socotra (located in the Gulf of Aden) Mahri is still spoken.

The overwhelming majority of Yemenis are Muslims. They are, however, divided into different sects: In the northern areas, the Zaydis, members of a branch of Shiʿism, predominate; in the southern areas, the Shafiʿis, who follow a branch of Sunni Islam, are in the majority. There are, in addition, Ismaʿilis, members of another branch of Shiʿism, in the northern mountains; in and around Saʿada there are also small settlements of Jews.

The educational infrastructure is in a state of flux. Until the revolution of 1962, an insignificant number of people received any formal education. After the revolution, the government embarked on a major program to establish educational institutions, from primary schools to universities, of which there are several, including those at Sanʿa, Taʿiz, and Aden; these were, in the overwhelming majority of cases, coeducational. In the 1990s, however, Islamists gained increasing political power and began to impose their views on the educational establishment. Owing to several incidents in which the government saw the hand of Islamic extremists, the government began to implement earlier legislation intended to bring independent religious institutions under the control of the Ministry of Education, closing many, eventually even the private al-Iman University, operated by perhaps the most extreme Islamic leader in Yemen, Shaykh Abd alMajid al-Zindani, and considered the center of Islamic extremism.


Government

Yemen is governed under a constitution that was approved by the parliaments of the two Yemens in 1990 and by popular referendum in 1991. This constitution declares Yemen to be a parliamentary democracy, with an executive appointed by and responsible to the parliament (the Council of Deputies). In 1994, Ali Abdullah Salih was elected by the council
to a five-year term as president. In 1999, due to changes in the law, the first direct elections to the presidency were held; Salih was overwhelmingly elected to a seven-year term. His only real opponent was the son of the former leader of the PDRY, Najib Qahtan al-Shaʿabi, although there were two additional candidates.


Elections to the new parliament were held in April 1993, with some eight parties and a sizable number of independents taking seats. Three parties dominated the outcome: the General People's Congress (GPC), formerly dominant in the North and associated with Ali Abdullah Salih; the Islah, now commonly referred to as the Yemeni Islah Party (YIP), a coalition of tribal and Islamic interests led by the second most influential political figure in the country, Shaykh Abdullah al-Ahmar of the Hashid Tribal Confederation; and the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), formerly dominant in the South and led by Ali Salim al-Baydh, who had become vice president of the new state. Other parties exist, including a Nasserist party. The second election to the Council of Deputies took place in 1997; the aftermath of the 1994 civil war, however, meant that the role and influence of the YSP was considerably reduced, and the YSP boycotted the elections (alBaydh went into exile). Consequently, the GPC gained 187 of the 301 seats, with its only serious competition, the YIP, gaining only 53. In the next round of elections, in April 2003, the GPC's margin of victory increased to 238 of 301 seats; the YIP could only manage 46 seats, and the YSP was reduced to 8 seats.

History

Some 2,000 years ago, Yemen (known as Arabia Felix to the Roman geographers) was famous and its city-states (e.g., Saba/Sheba, Maʿin), grew powerful and wealthy due to their monopoly over the trade in frankincense and myrrh. Once this monopoly was broken, Yemen retreated from the world stage. It was not until coffee became an important international trade commodity in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries that Yemen once again achieved renown. However, its early monopoly over coffee was broken by foreign traders and governments, and it once again became a little-known province of various empires on the Red Sea.

The contemporary state of Yemen was created by two states with different historical experiences during the past two centuries. Although occasionally united in the past, they had not been so since 1728. Developments in the nineteenth century, however, are most important to an understanding of the events that led to the reunification of North and South Yemen in 1990.

In 1839, the British took the city of Aden in South Yemen in order to have a major port in the western Indian Ocean and to forestall further expansion by other parties in the Arabian Peninsula. Over the years, British interests continued to grow, and they eventually established extensive links with the multitude of principalities located in Aden's (Yemeni) hinterland.

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire, which had occupied Yemen for a variety of strategic and economic reasons but which had departed in the early seventeenth century, decided to return. One motive was to play a role in the Red Sea trade, as it had in the past, although there were other factors; this goal increased in importance with the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869. Eventually, British and Ottoman interests in southwestern Arabia clashed; the two powers decided to negotiate a frontier between their zones of influence and interest. Beginning in 1902, they agreed to demarcate a border between them; the agreement that was eventually signed in 1914 created the frontier between the Ottoman possession that became the Kingdom of Yemen (North Yemen) after World War I and the British Aden Protectorates, which became South Yemen.

Under the reigns of Imams Yahya and Ahmad (19181962), North Yemen remained largely cut off from the rest of the world, while Aden and the protectorates in the south received British subsidies and Aden developed into one of the world's busiest ports. Both states, however, had political movements that sought change. In 1962, a revolution broke out in North Yemen, which sought to create a republic and remove the conservative Zaydi imam(s) from power. After an eight-year civil war, the two major factions compromised and created the Yemen Arab Republic. Imam Muhammad al-Badr, the titular head of the effort to restore the imamate, fled to Saudi Arabia and eventually died in exile in Great Britain. Shortly after the revolution broke out in North Yemen, various groups in South Yemen began to work for independence from Great Britain. After a lengthy and often violent conflict, the British agreed to withdraw from Aden and its protectorates in 1967. The group to which they ceded power, the National Front for the Liberation of South Yemen, created the People's Republic of South Yemen (later the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen).

Although both Yemens spoke of the goal of re-unification, relations between them were often extraordinarily poor, due largely to their different economic and political systems. The North was governed by a military elite, which was tied to the West and permitted an almost unrestricted, though underdeveloped, capitalist economy to operate; in the South, a Marxist-Leninist political elite took power and tied the country to the communist bloc. Relations between the two states deteriorated into two separate warsin 1972 and 1979.

In the late 1980s, oil (and later natural gas) was discovered in both Yemens; more importantly, it was found in the disputed border areas between them. The effort to develop these deposits without wasting further resources in fruitless wars largely overlapped with the decline of the Soviet Union (and some of its satellites that had provided important assistance to South Yemen). As a result, the potential benefits of a unified effort to develop their oil and gas deposits overcame the mutual suspicions and frictions that had characterized the previous twenty-five years, leading to the unity agreement of 1990. Friction between the North and the South did not disappear, however. Disputes within the original coalition government of the General People's Congress and the Yemeni Socialist Party led to a civil war from May through July 1994. The South suffered a complete defeat, which resulted in the forced exile of its leaders and the concomitant ascent of the Islah Party (YIP).

Perhaps the most important development of the 1990s, however, was the increase in Islamist sentiment and support. Fearful of its growing influence, the GPC (and Salih) undertook various measures to limit Islamist power, including seeking a rapprochement with a truncated YSP. The growing influence of the Islamists in Yemen was most dramatically illustrated by the attack, in 2000, by allies and supporters of al-Qaʿida against the USS Cole while it was refueling in Aden. Numerous incidents of political violence involving previously unknown groups (e.g., the Sympathizers of al-Qaʿida) heightened fears in Yemen and the West that the country had become a major breeding and training ground for radical Islamist groups. Salih's government had to walk a fine line between recognizing the increased Islamist sentiment in the population and accommodating the interests and concerns of its grantors of financial and political support, including the United States. The fact that the government did not control all of its territory and that its borders were porous did nothing to assuage the fears of the United States and Europe.

see also aden; cole, uss; hadramawt; hodeida; ismaʿili shiʿism; maʾrib; people's democratic republic of yemen; qaʿida, al-; salih, ali abdullah; sanʿa; socotra; taʿiz; yemen arab republic; yemen civil war; yemen dynasties; zaydism.


Bibliography

Burrowes, Robert. The Yemen Arab Republic: The Politics of Development, 19671986. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987.

Carapico, Sheila. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Dresch, Paul. A History of Modern Yemen. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Halliday, Fred. Revolution and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Yemen, 19671987. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Joffe, E.G.H.; Hachemi, M.J.; and Watkins, E.W. Yemen Today: Crisis and Solutions: Proceedings of a Two-Day Conference Held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, November 25 and 26, 1995. London: Caravel, 1997.

Wenner, Manfred. The Yemen Arab Republic: Development and Change in an Ancient Land. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.

manfred w. wenner

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

"Yemen." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen (yĕm´ən), officially Republic of Yemen, republic (2005 est. pop. 20,727,000), 207,300 sq mi (535,800 sq km), SW Asia, at the southern edge of the Arabian peninsula. The present nation of Yemen was formed in 1990, when the Yemen Arab Republic (the former Yemen or Northern Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (the former Southern Yemen) were unified. Yemen is bordered on the north by Saudi Arabia, on the east by Oman, on the south by the Gulf of Aden, and on the west by the Red Sea. The islands of Kamaran, in the Red Sea, Perim, in the Bab al-Mandeb, and Socotra, in the Arabian Sea, are part of Yemen. Sana is the capital; the port of Aden is the country's commercial capital. Other important cities are Hodeida, Mukalla, Taiz, Ibb, and Abyan.

Land and People

Yemen has a narrow coastal plain, stretching more than 700 mi (1,130 km), along the southern edge of the Arabian peninsula. It also has interior highlands and an eastern desert. The highlands, which are actually a section of the upturned Arabian plateau, are the highest part (rising to more than 12,000 ft/3,660 m) of the Arabian peninsula. They receive an annual average rainfall of c.20 in. (50 cm), making them also the wettest part of the peninsula; most of the precipitation occurs during the summer rainy season. The remainder of Yemen is hot and virtually rainless in the coastal regions. Numerous wadis radiate from the highlands, but there are no permanent streams; oases and springs provide local water needs.

Yemen is the most populous country on the Arabian Peninsula. The population is predominantly Arab, but there are also Afro-Arabs, South Asians, and Europeans. The north of Yemen is nearly 100% Muslim, both Sunni and Zaydi Shiite; the south is predominantly Muslim, but also has Christians and Hindus. Between 1948 and 1950 about 50,000 Yemeni Jews emigrated to Israel. Arabic is the nation's principal language. The tribal social structure is still prevalent in the country, although its importance diminishes along the coast, due to more foreign contact.

Economy

Most Yemenis are engaged in agriculture and herding. N Yemen produces grain, fruits, vegetables, khat (a stimulant-containing shrub), coffee, cotton, and livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, and camels) but is dependent on imports for most of its essential needs. Terraced agriculture, dating from ancient times, is still practiced. S Yemen is one of the poorest areas of the Arabian peninsula. The climate is arid, and only a fraction of the land is arable. Pastoralism is prevalent in the south, and the greatest amount of industry is located in Aden. There is fishing, food processing, salt mining, and small-scale manufacturing, including cotton textiles, leather goods, handicrafts, and aluminum products. The country produces and refines petroleum, and oil export revenues have boosted the economy since the late 1980s, but oil reserves are now being depleted. Imported oil is also processed into petroleum products for export. Other exports include coffee and processed fish. Foodstuffs, live animals, machinery, and chemicals are imported. Important trading partners include China, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Switzerland. Yemen's GDP is supplemented by remittances from Yemenis working abroad and by large amounts of foreign aid. One of the principal reasons for Southern Yemen's merger with (Northern) Yemen in 1990 was the steady decline of its economy and the loss of Soviet political and economic support. Pervasive corruption, however, has hindered new economic development in unified Yemen.

Government

Yemen is governed under the constitution of 1991 as amended. The president, who is head of state, is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The bicameral legislature consists of the Shura Council, whose 111 members are appointed by the president, and the House of Representatives, whose 301 members are popularly elected to six-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 19 governorates.

History

Northern Yemen

The earliest recorded civilizations of S Arabia were the Minaean and Sabaean. The Sabaean kingdom (see Sheba) flourished from c.750 BC to c.115 BC, with Marib (located east of Sana) the capital after c.600 BC Sabaean society was highly developed technically, as witnessed by the remains of a great dam at Marib that was the center of a large irrigation system. The Himyarites, who followed the Sabaeans, were invaded by the Romans (1st cent. BC) and were occupied by the Ethiopians (c.AD 340–AD 378). During the second Himyarite kingdom Christianity and Judaism took root in Yemen. Ethiopia again conquered the country in 525. After a Persian period (575–628), Islam came to Yemen, which was soon reduced to a province of the Muslim caliphate.

After the breakup of the caliphate, Yemen came under the control of the rising Rassite dynasty, imams of the Zaidi sect who built the theocratic political structure of Yemen that lasted until 1962. The Fatamid caliphs of Egypt occupied most of Yemen from c.1000 until c.1175, when it fell to the Ayyubids, who ruled until c.1250. By 1520, Yemen formed part of the Ottoman Empire, which exercised at least nominal sovereignty until the end of World War I. A turbulent wave of Wahhabism, a puritanical sect of Islam, swept across the Arabian peninsula at the opening of the 19th cent. and drove out the Zaidi imams. Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, acting in the name of the Ottoman sultan, drove out the Wahhabis in 1818, and the Egyptians remained until 1840. The Ottoman Turks then replaced the Egyptians, giving the imam full autonomy in the interior.

After the Ottoman evacuation (1918), Imam Yahya moved to expand Yemen's territory, but his only gain was the port and surrounding area of Hodeida. In 1934, after a brief Saudi Arabian invasion and skirmishes with Great Britain (which had the protectorate of Aden), Yemen's boundaries were fixed by treaty with Saudi Arabia and Great Britain. However, clashes on the Aden border continued sporadically. Modifying its traditional policy of isolation, Yemen became more active in foreign affairs after World War II; it joined the Arab League in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947 and established diplomatic relations with other nations. However, the imam, as both king and spiritual leader, continued to rule along theocratic lines.

Dissatisfaction, hitherto rapidly suppressed, grew, and in 1948 a palace revolt broke out, and the old Imam Yahya was assassinated. Crown Prince Ahmad drove out the insurgents and succeeded as imam. The new ruler accepted technical and economic assistance from both the West and the Communist bloc. From 1958 to 1961, Yemen joined with the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) to form the United Arab States, which in reality was a paper alliance. Disorders broke out in 1959, and Imam Ahmad survived an assassination attempt in 1961. After his death in 1962, Imam Ahmad was succeeded by Crown Prince Muhammad al-Badr (later Imam Mansur Billah Muhammad), who favored a neutralist foreign policy. Soon afterward a revolt headed by pro-Egyptian army officers deposed the imam, but he escaped and led royalist tribes against the new government.

The ruling junta, commanded by Col. Adallah al-Salal, proclaimed a republic, and the army contained the imam's forces. Yemen then became an international battleground, with Egypt supporting the republicans and Saudi Arabia and Jordan the royalists. The Yemeni republicans split into opposing factions on the issue of Egyptian support. In an administrative reorganization in 1966, the independent government of Premier Hassan al-Amri was ousted by a strongly pro-Egyptian regime, with al-Salal assuming the office of premier. Many of al-Amri's supporters were arrested or removed from office. In 1967, by mutual agreement, Egyptian troops were withdrawn from Yemen, and Saudi Arabian aid to the royalists was halted. In Nov., 1967, al-Salal's government was overthrown while he was abroad, and a three-man republican council was formed with Qadi Abd al-Rahman al-Iryani (one of the anti-Egyptian leaders) as chairman; al-Amri resumed the premiership.

Fighting between the republicans and the royalists continued until 1970, when Saudi Arabia formally recognized the republican regime and stopped aid to the royalists. Between 1967 and 1972 frequent border clashes occurred between Yemen and Southern Yemen, until an accord was signed (1972) to merge the two countries. However, by 1974 the agreement had not been implemented, and fighting continued between the two states. On June 12, 1974, Chairman al-Iryani resigned after a period of internal political tension, and the next day a group of army officers led by Col. Ibrahim al-Hamidi staged a nonviolent coup. The officers established a command council to govern the country, suspended the constitution, and reestablished civilian rule.

Al-Hamidi was assassinated in Oct., 1977, and was succeeded by Lt.-Col. Ahmad al-Ghashmi, who continued civilian administration until his assassination in June, 1978. Lt.-Col. Ali Abdullah Saleh then was elected president. In early 1979 border fighting with neighboring Southern Yemen erupted into full-scale war. Peace was soon established, however, and another unification agreement was devised. Saleh was elected to a second term in 1983 and a third term in 1988.

Southern Yemen

A number of ancient empires, including the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite, flourished in southern Yemen. The region came under Muslim influence in the 7th cent. In the 16th cent. it became part of the Ottoman Empire and came under the suzerainty of the imams of Yemen. (For a more detailed history, see above history of Northern Yemen or see Arabia.)

The British presence in Southern Yemen began in 1839, when forces of the British East India Co. occupied Aden. In 1854 and 1857 the Kuria Muria and Perim islands were ceded to the British, and other mainland areas were purchased by them. Between 1886 and 1914, Britain signed a number of protectorate treaties with local rulers. In 1937 the area, which by then consisted of 24 sultanates, emirates, and sheikhdoms, was designated the Aden Protectorate and was divided for administrative purposes into the East Aden protectorate and the West Aden protectorate. In 1959 six small states of the West Aden protectorate formed the Federation of the Emirates of the South; it was later enlarged to 10 members. Despite considerable opposition from its population, the Aden colony proper was made part of the federation (1963), which was then renamed the Federation of South Arabia (see South Arabia, Federation of).

By 1965, 16 tribal states had joined the federation. However, nationalist groups in Aden remained adamantly opposed to the federation and began a terrorist campaign against the British. Two rival nationalist groups emerged: the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY). Although Britain had promised to withdraw from the region by 1968, the NLF, which had emerged as the dominant group by 1967, forced the collapse of the federation after taking control of the governments of all the component states. Britain accelerated its withdrawal, and Southern Yemen became independent in Nov., 1967, with Qahtan al-Shaabi of the NLF the first president. In June, 1969, he resigned, and was succeeded by Rubayi Ali. In 1970 the country received a new constitution and was renamed the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen.

Following independence border disputes arose with Oman and the Yemen Arab Republic, some of which led to armed clashes. An accord was signed with the Yemen Arab Republic in 1972 calling for the end of fighting and the merger of the two countries. However, the agreement was not to be implemented for several years. In Apr., 1972, the government of Southern Yemen suffered a severe blow when 25 of its top officials were killed in an airplane crash. Rubayi Ali was ousted in June, 1978, by Abdalfattah Ismail, a radical rival who in 1979 signed a 20-year relation treaty with the Soviet Union. Soviet influence, including the presence of naval bases, became predominant in Southern Yemen, which was the Arab world's only Marxist state. Fighting with Northern Yemen again broke out in Feb., 1979, but was resolved one month later by a peace treaty.

In 1983, Ali Nasser Muhammad, Ismail's successor as president, restored relations with Saudi Arabia and Oman. In Jan., 1986, Muhammad tried to eliminate internal party opposition by killing party leaders and former president Ismail, but rival political fighting erupted for two weeks, after which Muhammad fled to Ethiopia. His supporters were mostly eliminated by the administration of Haider Abu Bakr al-Attas, Muhammad's successor. In Oct., 1988, Attas visited Oman, the first Southern Yemen leader to do so.

Unified Yemen

The leaders of the two Yemens met in Dec., 1989, when final unification agreements were made, and the borders were opened in Feb., 1990. On May 22 of that year, the two Yemens were officially united. North Yemen president Saleh became the leader of a unified Yemen, and Sana became the nation's capital. By 1993, however, relations between north and south had again grown tense. Fighting between northern and southern army units in 1994 erupted into a civil war between southern secessionists and Yemen's northern-based government. The war lasted for nine weeks and was decisively won by northern forces. Subsequently, Saleh was officially elected by parliament as president of the country, and a coalition government that excluded the leading southern party was established. The new government imposed unpopular economic austerity measures. Muslim extremists committed sporadic acts of violence in the south, and armed tribespeople from remote areas staged kidnappings of foreign tourists.

Yemen's armed forces clashed with Eritrea over control of the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea in the early 1990s; the Hague Tribunal awarded the islands to Yemen in 1998. The president's party won nearly two thirds of the seats in the 1997 legislative elections. In Sept., 1999, in Yemen's first direct presidential election, Saleh was returned to office; candidates from opposition parties were not approved to run, and the government was charged with fraudulently inflating the vote count. In Oct., 2000, the U.S.S. Cole was damaged by a suicide bombing while anchored at Aden and the British embassy was bombed. Also in 2000, a border treaty ending disputes with Saudi Arabia that dated to the 1930s was signed.

President Saleh announced support for the U.S. "war on terror" in 2001 and subsequently received American aid and made some moves against Muslim extremists, but the terror attacks also continued. Saleh's General People's Congress won more than two thirds of the seats in the 2003 legislative elections. In June, 2004, government forces began raids against supporters of Shiite cleric Hussein al-Houthi, who was accused of sedition and extremism. The cleric had denounced the government's pro-American policies and government corruption. Several months of fighting in NW Yemen, in which hundreds died, followed, and in September Sheikh Houthi was killed and a cease-fire mediated. Fighting erupted again in Apr., 2005, when the government attacked his followers, commonly referred to as Houthis or Hawthis, after unsuccessful negotiations. Almost a year later some 600 rebels were released in an amnesty, but attacks continued spordically until June, 2007, when a cease-fire was agreed to. There were, however, additional attacks by Jan., 2008, and in subsequent months, and fighting with the rebels intensifed in the second half of 2009, displacing some 200,000 persons. In Nov., 2009, a rebel incursion into Saudi Arabia led also to fighting between Saudi forces and the rebels. The conflict extended into Feb., 2010, when a truce was established; the rebels also withdrew from Saudi Arabia. The truce largely held, although there were clashes in July, 2010. There also have been clashes with Islamic militants linked to Al Qaeda, with an increase in operations against them in E Yemen in early 2010 after an attempted bombing (Dec. 25, 2009) of a plane in the United States by a Nigerian with ties to the Yemeni Islamists.

Meanwhile, in July, 2005, fuel price increases sparked protests and riots across Yemen, leading the government to roll the increases back somewhat. That same month the president said he would not seek a new term in Sept., 2006, a position he reversed a year later. In the 2006 presidential Saleh was reelected with more than three-fourths of the vote, but the opposition rejected the results. Despite irregularities, the election was generally regarded as an improvement over the previous presidential poll.

By early 2008, S Yemeni unhappiness with unification was again becoming pronounced, as protests and riots occurred in parts of S Yemen; sporadic unrest continued into 2010. Amid protests in early 2011 against his rule (which echoed similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt against entrenched rulers there), the president promised in February not to seek reelection. Recurring demonstrations, however, were stoked by the killings of demonstrators, which also split the ruling party and the military. By April, the widespread protests had crippled the country.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) attempted to negotiate Saleh's resignation, but the president several times reneged on agreements. The unsettled situation invigorated militant Islamists, who mounted attacks in S Yemen and were able to seize control of some areas; fighting with the Islamists continued into 2012. In late May tribal militias became increasing active in opposing Saleh, and fought with government forces in Sana and Taiz. In early June Saleh was severely wounded in an attack on the presidential compound and went to Saudi Arabia for treatment; he returned in September. A truce with the tribal militias largely held during the summer, but beginning in September there were more serious outbreaks.

In November, Saleh agreed to transfer his powers to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi under a GCC-brokered plan, remaining on as titular president until an election (later were called for Feb., 2012). An interim government, with cabinet posts divided equally between the government and opposition and headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa, an opposition politician, was appointed in Dec., 2011; the new government subsequently approved a law granting immunity to Saleh. In Feb., 2012, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi was elected president in an election in which he was the only candidate, but Saleh remained a political force and attempted to undermine the interim government through his supporters in it and the military. The military subsequently mounted an offensive against the militant Islamists in S Yemen, and by mid-2012 had largely reestablished government control there, but the area continued to be the scene of sporadic fighting.

In August and in December, Hadi ordered armed forces reorganizations designed to reduce the influence of Saleh and others in the military. Not all the changes. however, came into effect in subsequent months. In Apr., 2013, Hadi ordered further changes and removed Saleh's relatives from military command positions. A national dialogue conference intended to help develop a new constitution for Yemen began in Mar., 2013, and ended in Jan., 2014; it approved a six-region federal system for the country and extended Hadi's term by a year.

In Sept., 2013, the prime minister was the subject of an assassination attempt. Houthi Shiites attacked in a Sunni Salafist school in NW Yemen in October and November, accusing the Salafists of running a training camp for foreign fighters. Fighting continued into 2014, spreading to other areas in the northwest as the Houthis expanded the area under their control with increasing support from Yemen's Shiites. They captured Amran (Omran), N of Sana, in mid-2014. In Apr., 2014, government forces began a new offensive against Al Qaeda–aligned militants in S Yemen; the militants launched a number of attacks in the capital in retaliation.

In August, the Houthis mounted protests around Sana against the government. When a peace deal was signed ending the conflict in September they secured control of the capital and then expanded in October W into Hodeida and, fighting Al Qaeda–aligned Sunni militants, S into central Yemen, but the Sunni militants subsequently mounted a violent retaliatory campaign. The prime minister, whom the Houthis objected to, resigned in September, and after appointment of a new prime minister (Khaled Bahah), they objected to the makeup of the cabinet, which was re-formed in December. They also seized control of a number of ministries. The Houthis received support from Saleh and military forces that continued to support him, and in November the United Nations sanctioned Saleh.

By Feb., 2015, the Houthis had formally seized control of the government, and Hadi, who they had placed under house arrest, had fled to Aden, where he attempted to rally progovernment forces. Houthi and Saleh forces advanced south toward Aden, seizing Taiz (subsequently contested by progovernment forces), and by March the opposing forces were fighting for control of Aden; that month Hadi left Yemen for Saudi Arabia. Also in March, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations began an air campaign against the Houthis, and there were clashes with the Houthis along the Saudi border. The air strikes slowed the advance of Houthi and Saleh forces. The civil war in W Yemen allowed the Al Qaeda–aligned forces to seize Mukalla, a port on the central Gulf of Aden coast, in April, and that same month the United Nations imposed an arms embargo on the Houthis and their military allies.

Bibliography

See C. Fayein, A French Doctor in the Yemen (tr. 1957); E. Macro, Yemen and the Western World since 1571 (1968); E. O'Ballance, The War in the Yemen (1971); R. W. Stookey, South Yemen (1982); R. Bidwell, The Two Yemens (1983); R. F. Nyrop, ed., Yemens (1986); P. Dresch, Tribes, Government and History in Yemen (1989); F. Halliday, Revolution and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Yemen (1989); T. Mackintosh-Smith, Yemen: The Unknown Arabia (2000); P. Dresch, A History of Modern Yemen (2001); V. Clark, Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes (2010).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Official name: Republic of Yemen

Area: 527,970 square kilometers (203,850 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: An-Nabī Shùayb (3,760 meters/12,336 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 3 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 540 kilometers (336 miles) from north to south; approximately 1,250 kilometers (777 miles) from southwest to northeast

Land boundaries: 1,746 kilometers (1085 miles) total boundary length; Oman 288 kilometers (179 miles); Saudi Arabia 1,458 kilometers (906 miles)

Coastline: 1,906 kilometers (1,184 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Yemen is located in the Middle East on the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. It has a western coastline on the Red Sea and a southern coast on the Arabian Sea. With a total area of about 527,970 square kilometers (203,850 square miles), the country is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of Wyoming. Yemen is administratively divided into seventeen governorates.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Yemen has no outside territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Yemen has a very hot, semitropical climate, with temperatures as high as 54°C (129°F). The average temperature varies over the two basic seasons, ranging from 22°C (72°F) in summer to 14°C (57°F) in winter. The Red Sea coast is particularly hot and humid. The interior mountain regions experience frost in winter. Sandstorms often appear in both summer and winter as winds sweep across Yemen.

Monsoon rains drench much of otherwise dry Yemen twice each year, from March through May and July through September. In the southwest corner of the country there is more consistent rain, with constant fog along the coast. Yemen's average annual rainfall is 51 to 91 centimeters (20 to 36 inches), with great regional variation. Less than 12 centimeters (5 inches) of precipitation falls on the coastal lowlands, contrasting with 100 centimeters (39 inches) in the highlands above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet).

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Yemen has five principal geographic regions: the Tihama coastal plain; the mountainous interior; the high plateau, the Wadi Hadhramawt region, and the Al Mahra uplands; the Rub'al-Khali interior desert; and the offshore islands.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The Red Sea lies to the west of Yemen. The Red Sea is a narrow, landlocked sea that separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula. It links to the Mediterranean Sea through the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal. In the south, the Red Sea links to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea through the Strait of Mandeb (Bab el Mandeb).

The Arabian Sea, which is an extension of the Indian Ocean, lies to the south of Yemen. The Gulf of Aden, to the southwest of Yemen, is an extension of the Arabian Sea. Some 5 percent of Yemen's coast has nearby coral reefs, with particularly diverse marine habitats in the Red Sea.

Sea Inlets and Straits

One of the world's most important shipping lanes, the Strait of Mandeb, connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden southwest of Yemen, and separates Yemen from the African countries of Djibouti and Eritrea. The natural harbor of Aden lies on the Gulf of Aden. The coast curves inward at Cape Fartak, forming the Qamr Bay (Ghubbat al Qamar) near Yemen's border with Oman.

Islands and Archipelagos

Yemen has more than 115 islands, including Perim in the Strait of Mandeb and the Hanīsh Islands and Kamaran further north. Yemen also possesses the 3,626-square-kilometer (1,400-square-mile) island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. Socotra has numerous endemic species, with intact land and marine ecosystems. The Brothers, a chain of small islands near Socotra, also belong to Yemen.

Coastal Features

Cape Kathib (Ras al Kathib) interrupts the north-south stretch of Yemen's Red Sea coast near the port of Al Hudaydah. The town of Turba marks the corner on the Strait of Mandeb where the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts converge. Yemen's Gulf of Aden coast runs from southwest to northeast. Coastal plains follow on the Gulf of Aden, with sandy beaches including Cape Sharma and Dhobbah, which are nesting sites for endangered green turtles.

Jebel al Houf, on the coast far to the east, has Yemen's largest forest (200 square kilometers/77 square miles), in an area where mountains trap monsoon moisture to create a foggy, misty zone; it is protected by the local community.

6 INLAND LAKES

Yemen has no significant natural freshwater lakes. There are some small brackish lagoons along the coast, however, and several hot springs in the highlands.

Wastewater lagoons north of Ta'izz and northeast of Al-Hudaydah, and a treated-sewage outflow area west of the city of Aden, have become important bird habitats. Mudflats, sandbars, and mangroves form wetlands with individual ecosystems along the Red Sea coast.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

Yemen's highlands are interspersed with deep wadis, or riverbeds. The wadis are usually quite dry with little vegetation, but many of them will fill dramatically during times of heavy rains. Rainfall drains through seven major wadis that can flow west as far as the Red Sea. These are the Rima, Rasyan, Mawr, Surdud, Siham, Zabid, and Mawza. Wadis that drain south into the Gulf of Aden from the eastern regions include Hajar, Jahr, Warazan, and Yemen's longest, Wadi Hadhramawt, at 240 kilometers (149 miles).

8 DESERTS

Inland from the mountains and north of the Wadi Hadhramawt valley, gravel deserts transition into the sand dune deserts of the Rub'al-Khali, or Empty Quarter, which extends across the border from Saudi Arabia. Even in this inhospitable region, oases are inhabited during the rainy season. Productive salt pans are found in the Rub'al-Khali.

On the Gulf of Aden coast is a coastal fog desert ecosystem, with vegetation that eventually gives way to the Tihama desert. The Tihama is a narrow, hot, humid, yet almost waterless strip that extends along the Red Sea coast and covers approximately 10 percent of the country.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

Scrub grasslands, with sparse ground cover and shrubbery, are common throughout Yemen. This type of terrain, which covers about 30 percent of Yemen's area, is used for raising livestock. Over-grazing is an environmental threat.

Yemen's eastern mountains slope down into hills that merge with the sands of the Rub'al-Khali desert. Other hill areas include the Hadhramawt and Al Mahra uplands in the east. Throughout Yemen, the foothills of mountain ranges are terraced for farming.

The valleys of Wadi al-Malih and Wadi Warazan near the city of Ta'izz, as well as Wadi Zabid near the port of Al Hudaydah, contain marshes that are decreasing in area due to demands on the groundwater, agricultural conversion, and grazing.

The valley of Wadi Hadhramawt extends from the central part of the country south-eastward to the Gulf of Aden. Surrounded by desolate hills and desert, the upper and middle parts of the Hadhramawt, with their alluvial soil and seasonal floodwaters, are relatively fertile and are inhabited by a farming population. The lower eastern part of the valley, which turns southward to the sea, is barren and largely uninhabited.

DID YOU KNOW?

The term "Middle East" was coined by western Europeans as a geographic designation for those countries of southwest Asia and northeast Africa that stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the nations on the Arabian Peninsula. This area was considered to be the midpoint between Europe and East Asia, which was often called the Far East.

In a cultural sense, the term sometimes refers to all the countries of that general region that are primarily Islamic. In this sense, the Middle East also includes the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as some of the North African countries that border the Arabian Peninsula.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

Yemen's interior is quite mountainous, with several ranges running along a north-south axis parallel to the Red Sea and also along an east-west axis parallel to the Gulf of Aden. The mountains, which include extinct volcanoes, reach 2,438 meters (8,000 feet) in the extreme west, gradually tapering off to the east. Elevations in the interior mountains range from 2,133 to 3,048 meters (7,000 to 10,000 feet). Rocky spars and sharp, steep ridges dominate these systems; the rugged landscape limits access to the country's interior.

There are western, central, and eastern ranges. The western mountains, although steep, are terraced to support intensive agriculture. The central mountain range begins in the vicinity of the old city of Ta'izz and includes Arabia's highest peak, An-Nabī Shu'ayb, which rises to 3,760 meters (12,336 feet). Yemen's capital, Sanaa, is located in one of the largest basins of the central range, at an elevation of 2,400 meters (7,874 feet). The eastern highlands rise to heights of 762 to 1,067 meters (2,500 to 3,500 feet).

Efforts are being made to preserve the forests of the mountainous Utma region of the central highlands, which include medicinal and fragrant tree species.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

Yemen's canyons include the Al Guedam canyon in the mountains north of Sanaa, Wadi Dahero canyon on Socotra Island, and the Bir Maqsur limestone crevasse, also on Socotra. Deeply eroded ravines cut by extinct or seasonally flowing rivers (the wadis ) fissure much of Yemen's interior.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

Yemen's eastern region occupies the irregular southern end of the Arabian Plateau, which was formed from ancient granite and has been partially covered by sedimentary limestone and sand. The central highlands of Yemen are broken into plateaus ranging in height from 1,200 to 3,000 meters (4,000 to 10,000 feet). The Harra Plateau, north of Sanaa, is a spectacular landscape of lava rock, sandstone striations, and extinct volcanic cones.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The largest lake in Yemen is the artificial Marib Reservoir, which was created by a dam built in 1986. The 30-square-kilometer (12-square-mile) reservoir is shrinking in size as its water levels have been depleted; it also has been afflicted with algae blooms. Throughout history, Yemeni residents have built small dams and canals along the country's riverbeds in order to collect water for drinking and irrigation. Unfortunately, since few of the rivers are permanent, these dams have not always been helpful. In fact, flash floods have destroyed some of these damsswept away by the waters they were meant to contain.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Hansen, Eric. Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea. New York: Vintage, 1992.

MacKintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: The Unknown Arabia. New York: Overlook Press, 2001.

Stark, Freya. The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramawt. London: John Murray, 1940.

Wald, Peter. Yemen. London: Pallas Athene, 1996.

Web Sites

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: Yemen. http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/swlwpnr/y_nr/z_ye/ye.htm (accessed May 5, 2003).

Yemen Gateway. http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/about.htm (accessed May 5, 2003).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Yemen
Region (Map name): Middle East
Population: 17,479,206
Language(s): Arabic
Literacy rate: 38%

In 1990 Southern and Northern Yemen merged to become the Republic of Yemen (Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah ), which in size is about about twice the size of the state of Wyoming. While unification has proved difficult, with a secession attempt occurring in 1994, the state has remained relatively cohesive and there are indications that understanding and acceptance of national identity continues to increase. This is in part supported by Yemen's (Al Yaman ) bold moves toward pluralism and democracy (22 registered political parties were reported in 2000) through conducting elections that on the whole continue to be open and fair, despite controversies that have arisen.

While economic and technological modernization is occurring in the country, Yemen, remains primarily rural (66 percent). Recent statistics suggest that in a country of almost 18 million people there are per 1,000 people: 283 television sets, 64 radios, 15 daily newspapers, 2 mobile phones, 19 mainline telephones overall with 77 conglomerated in the largest urban areas, and 2 personal computers. As well, approximately 15,000 use the internet.

Radio in both North and South Yemen began in the 1950s and was utilized by parties to promote their competing ideologies. The South was particularly helped by Voice of the Arabs and Radio Cairo in those early years and later by the Soviet Union and East European countries. The North received significant aid from the BBC Arabic Service and from Sharq al-Adna based in Cyprus and also operated by the British.

Today, while illiteracy is decreasing in Yemen especially among menradio remains a significant medium by which to communicate to the general populace. Radio is state-controlled through the Ministry of Information with the main broadcasting contact being Yemen Radio and Television Corporation (Dir. Ali Caleh Algamrah). There are two main domestic Arabic stations, one located in San'a and one in Aden, along with local stations in four other areas. Saudi and Omani broadcasts can also be picked up. Short wave and satellite frequencies are utilized on top of other domestic frequencies.

North Yemen first saw television in 1965 and the South in 1975. Today there are two channels with Yemen Radio and Television Corporation overseeing these. They broadcast primarily in Arabic with some news available in English. As well, Arabsat is utilized to broadcast to Europe and other regions of the Middle East.

The Press of the Republic of Yemen remains under significant state-control despite legislation that was enacted in 1990 guaranteeing its freedom. There are a small number of dailies and quite a number of weeklies/ monthlies operating. Dailies include:

  • Al-Jumhuriya (circulation 100,000)
  • Ar Rabi' 'Ashar Min Uktubar (circulation 20,000; chief editor, Muhammad Hussain Muhammad)
  • Ash-Sharara (The Spark, circulation 6,000)
  • Ath-Thawra (The Revolution; govt. owned; circulation 110,000; editor, Muhammad Az-Zorkah)

Of the other publications, some of the more largely circulated include:

  • Al-Wahda al-Watani (National Unityformerly Al-Omal; circulation 40,000; monthly)
  • The Yemen Times (circulation 30,000; independent weekly; editor-in-chief, Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf)
  • 26 September (circulation 25,000; armed forces weekly)
  • Al-Fanoon (circulation 15,500; monthly; arts review)
  • Ash-Shura (circulation 15,000)

Other publications without circulation numbers include:

  • Yemeni Women (monthly)
  • Al-Yemen (weekly; center-right)
  • Ath-Thawri (weekly; used by the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP)
  • At-Ta'awun (Co-operation, weekly, supports cooperative societies)
  • Al-Bilad (weekly; center-right), Attijarah (monthly; trade)
  • Ar-Ra'i al-'Am (Public Opinion; weekly; independent)
  • As-Sahwa (Awakening; weekly; Islamic Fundamentalist)
  • Dar as-Salam (Peace; weekly; political, economic and general essays)

There were two news agencies operating in Yemen: Aden News Agency (ANA), which was government owned (Director General Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim), and SABA News Agency (Editor Husein Al-Awadi). However, recent BBC material suggests that only SABA remains. The Yemeni government maintains an Internet site and a number of other Yemeni publications are accessible via the Internet. SABA's Internet site has links to eleven other local Yemeni Internet publicationssome solely Internet based and others operating both electronically and traditionally.

Bibliography

All the World's Newspapers. Available from www.webwombat.com.au.

Atalpedia Online. Country Index. Available fromhttp://www.atlapedia.com.

British Broadcast Company. News Country Profiles. Available fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk.

Boyd, Douglas. Broadcasting in the Arab World: A Survey of the Electronic Media in the Middle East, 3rd ed. Iowa State University Press. Ames, IA: 1999.

Carapico, Sheila. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, Mass: 1998.

Central Itelligence Agency. The World Factbook 2001. (2002) Available from http://www.cia.gov.

International Press Institute. World Press Review. Available fromhttp://www.freemedia.at.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Available from http://www.itu.int/home/index.html.

Kurian, George, ed. World Press Encyclopedia. Facts on File, Inc. New York: 1982.

Leveau, R., F. Merimer, and U. Steinbach, Eds. Le Yémen contemporain. Karthala. Paris: 1999.

Maher, Joanne, ed. Regional Surveys of the World: The Middle East and North Africa 2002, 48th ed. Europa Publications. London: 2001.

Redmon, Clare, ed. Willings Press Guide 2002, Vol. 2. Waymaker Ltd. Chesham Bucks, UK: 2002.

Reporters Sans Frontieres. Middle East Archives 2002. Available fromhttp://www.rsf.fr.

Reporters Sans Frontieres. Yemen Annual Report 2002. Available fromhttp://www.rsf.fr.

Russell, Malcom. The Middle East and South Asia 2001, 35th ed. United Book Press Inc. Harpers Ferry, WV: 2001.

Stat-USA. International Trade Library: Country Background Notes. Available fromhttp://www.stat-usa.gov.

Sumner, Jeff, ed. Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media, Vol. 5, 136th ed. Gale Group. Farmington Hills, MI: 2002.

The Middle East, 9th ed. Congressional Quarterly Inc. Washington, DC: 2000.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Available fromhttp://www.uis.unesco.org.

World Bank. Data and Statistics. Available fromhttp://www.worldbank.org.

World Desk Reference. Available fromhttp://www.travel.dk.com/wdr.

Yemen Observer. Available from http://www.yobserver.com.

Yemen News Agency (SABA). Available from http://www.sabanews.gov.ye.

Yemen Times. Available from http://www.yementimes.com.

Clint B. Thomas Baldwin

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Country statistics

area:

527,970sq km (203,849sq mi) 18,862,999

capital (population):

Sana'a (1,590,624)

government:

Multi-party republic

ethnic groups:

Arab 96%

languages:

Arabic (official)

religions:

Sunni Muslim (Shaf'i order) 65%, Shi'a Muslim 35% (Zaidi order)

currency:

Yemen rial = 100 fils

Republic on the s tip of the Arabian peninsula. The Republic of Yemen lies on the s tip of the Arabian peninsula. Much of Yemen's interior forms part of the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert. The desert is bisected by a central plateau. A narrow coastal plain borders the Red and Arabian seas. The Arabian coastal plain includes Aden, the former capital of South Yemen, and the fertile Hadramaut valley. The w plain is backed by highlands, which rise to more than 3600m (12,000ft) near the capital Sana'a.

Climate and Vegetation

Most of Yemen is hot and rainless, except during the monsoon month of August. The highlands are the wettest part of Arabia and the temperature is moderated by altitude. Palm trees grow along the coast. Plants such as acacia and eucalyptus flourish in the interior. Thorn shrubs and mountain pasture are found in the highlands. The Rub al Khali is a barren desert.

History and Politics

The ancient kingdom of Sheba (Saba) flourished in present-day s Yemen between c.750 bc and 100 bc. The kingdom was renowned for its advanced technology and wealth, gained through its strategic location on important trade routes. Romans invaded the region in the 1st century bc.

Islam was introduced in ad 628. The Rassite dynasty of the Zaidi sect established a theocratic state, which lasted until 1962. In c.1000, the Fatimids conquered Yemen. In 1517, the area became part of the Ottoman Empire, and largely remained under Turkish control until 1918. In the 19th century, the Saudi Wahhabi sect ousted the Zaidi imams, but were in turn expelled by Ibrahim Pasha.

In 1839, the British captured Aden. In 1937, Britain formed the Aden Protectorate. Following the defeat of the Ottomans in World War 1, Imam Yahya of the Hamid al-Din dynasty ruled Yemen. In 1945, Yemen joined the Arab League. In 1948, Yahya was assassinated and Crown Prince Ahmed became imam. From 1958 to 1961, Yemen formed part of the United Arab Republic (with Egypt and Syria).

In 1962, a military coup overthrew the monarchy and established the Yemen Arab Republic. Civil war ensued between republicans (aided by Egypt) and royalists (aided by Saudi Arabia and Jordan). Meanwhile, the Aden Protectorate became part of the British Federation of South Arabia.

In 1967, the National Liberation Front forced the British to withdraw from Aden and founded the People's Republic of South Yemen. Marxists won the ensuing civil war in South Yemen and renamed it the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1970). Border clashes between the two Yemens were frequent throughout the 1970s, and erupted into full-scale war in 1979.

In 1990, after lengthy negotiations, the two Yemens merged to form a single republic with Ali Abdallah Salih as president. Yemen's support for Iraq in the Gulf War (1991) led to the expulsion of 800,000 Yemeni workers from Saudi Arabia. A coalition government emerged from 1993 elections, but increasing economic and political tensions between North and South led to civil war in 1994. The South's brief secession from the union ended with victory for the Northern army. In 1995, Yemen reached agreements with Saudi Arabia and Oman over disputed boundaries, but clashed with Eritrea over the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea. In 2000, a suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole in Aden killed 17 US personnel. In 2001, President Salih offered support to the USA in its "war on terrorism".

Economy

Civil war devastated Yemen's economy, seriously damaging the country's infrastructure, such as the oil refinery at Aden. Yemen is a low-income developing nation (2000 GDP per capita, US$820). In 2000, unemployment stood at more than 30% and inflation at more than 10%. Nearly 50% of the population are under 15 years old. Agriculture employs 63% of the workforce, mainly at subsistence level. The major economic activity is livestock-raising, principally sheep. Crops include sorghum, wheat and barley. Oil extraction began in the nw in the 1980s. Natural gas is also exploited.

Political map

Physical map

Websites

http://www.yemenembassy.org

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Culture Name

Yemeni

Alternative Names

South Arabian, al-Yamani

Orientation

Identification. The name of the country is derived from the legendary ancestor Yaman, the son of Qahtan, or from the Arabic root ymn ("the right") since Yemen is located to the right of the Meccan sanctuary of Kaaba. Some scholars compare the Arabic word yumna ("happy") with the Roman name for the southwest Arabia, Arabia Felix ("Happy Arabia"). Inhabitants feel that they have a common culture, although local and class identities are still important.

Location and Geography. Medieval Arab geographers thought of Yemen as covering the entire southern strip of the Arabian peninsula, from the mountainous southwest, including Najran and Asir, to Hadhramaut and Oman on the east. Today that area includes the regions that make up the Republic of Yemen (RY), which was formed in 1990 when the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR, or North Yemen) with its capital in Sana'a, and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY, or South Yemen), with its capital in Aden, were unified. The capital is Sana'a, and Aden is referred to as the country's economic capital. The approximate size of the nation, since some of its borders are not demarcated, is 187,000 square miles (North: 75,000 square miles; South: 112,000 square miles), or 482,100 square kilometers.

There are six cultural and economic zones. The Tihama, a coastal plain and hilly area along the Red Sea, is fifteen to twenty-five miles (twenty-five to forty kilometers) wide. It is an area of fishing, commerce, and trade in the ports of al-Mukha (Mocha) and al-Hudayda as well as agriculture in oases (the main crops are millet, maize, sugarcane, watermelons, tobacco, and cotton) as well as livestock breeding. Handicrafts are made in Zabid, Bayt al-Faqih, and other centers. The highlands in the west have regular seasonal rains. Terraced agriculture (millet, wheat, barley, grapes, coffee, tobacco, vegetables, fruits, qat) is practiced, and goats, sheep, cows, and donkeys are raised. The central mountains consist of wide plateaus and basins. Fields are watered from wells and rainfall is sufficient for most crops. This region includes urban centers such as Sana'a and Sa'da. The high plateau in the east gradually merges with the desert Rub al-Khal. Date palms are cultivated in small oases, and the population is semi nomadic. There are salt deposits near Shabwa, Safir, and Harib. The limestone tableland of Hadhramaut and Wadi Masila has valleys (wadis) carved deep into the plateau. Cultivated patches are irrigated with rain and flood waters and from wells. Hinterlands towns include Shibam, Sayun, and Tarim in the Inner Wadi, and there are seaports at al-Mukalla and al-Shihr. The adjacent Mahra province and Socotra island are culturally related to this zone. The Gulf of Aden coastal plain, which is five to ten miles (eight to sixteen kilometers) wide, is discontinuous. Its ports, from Aden in the west to Sayhut and al-Ghayda in the east, are connected with the inland regions rather than with one another.

Demography. The population is ethnically Arab, divided between Sunni Muslims of the Shafi'i school and Shi'a Muslims of the Zaydi school. There are small groups of Jews, Hindus, and Christians. In 1949 and 1950, about fifty thousand Yemeni Jews left for Israel. In 1998, the population was 17,071,000. The annual growth rate is limited by migration and a high infant mortality rate. The birthrate is high, and almost half the population is under fifteen years of age.

Linguistic Affiliation. Yemenis speak Arabic, which belongs to the Semitic language family. Classical Arabic, the language of Islam and the Koran, is used on formal occasions. The spoken dialects, whose areas roughly correspond to the six cultural zones, are used in everyday life. Some groups have maintained their ancient oral tongues of the south Arabic branch. The most commonly used foreign language is English, and Russian is still understood in Sana'a and Aden.

Symbolism. The notion of allegiance is shaped by kinship, the native land, language, faith, and a shared culture. The symbol of male honor is a curved dagger, the jambiyyah ; lineage is symbolized by a clan's tower at the top of a hill; and generosity and hospitality are expressed in making and serving coffee. The coffee tree, the state eagle, the national colors, and the Marib Dam are shown in the new national emblem. The colors of the national flag (horizontal bands of red, white, and black) reflect pan-Arab symbolism, being similar to the flags of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. The national anthem and national days of celebration emphasize the unification of the country.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The ancient walled city Sana'a is said to be the oldest city in the world, founded by Noah's eldest son, Shem, the forefather of Qahtan. Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba (Saba), is mentioned in the Bible and the Koran. The kingdom of Saba, with its capital, Marib, had existed since the first millennium b.c.e. The Marib Dam provided irrigation for about twenty-five thousand acres of arable land; its collapse in the first centuries c.e. is depicted in the Koran as a punishment from God. The prosperity of the principal rival kingdoms, Saba, Hadhramaut, Awsan, Qataban, and Ma'in, was based on the cultivation and overland exportation of frankincense, myrrh, and spices to the Mediterranean. Ancient South Arabian culture developed an intricate architecture and created masterpieces of figurative and decorative arts. It maintained contacts with Egypt, Greece, Palmyra, Chaldea, and Abyssinia, which was founded by Sabaeans, as well as India. In 2524 b.c.e., the Roman emperor attempted to conquer the Sabaean kingdom, which was the southernmost outlet of the trade route to India. At that time, caravan traffic became less important than the shipping route between Egypt and India. The whole of southwestern Arabia was united by the kingdom of Himyar (circa 100 b.c.e. 525 c.e., which controlled the Red Sea and the coasts of the Gulf of Aden. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 c.e., many Jews settled in the region, and the Christian (Nestorian) faith was propagated. In the early sixth century, the kings of Himyar converted to Judaism and persecuted local Christians, leading the Abyssinians to take control of South Arabia in 525. The Persian Sassanians followed in 575.

The advent of Islam to South Arabia in the seventh century ousted local pantheons and monotheistic cults. Yemeni tribes took an active part in the Arab conquests and the construction of an Islamic state, and the tribal principal became a distinct form of communal organization in the area. In 898, al-Hadi Yahya proclaimed himself the first Zaydi imam, establishing a Shi'a dynasty that ruled in several regions of northern Yemen until 1962. The Egyptian Ayyubids invaded in 1173 and controlled all of Yemen until 1228. Their local vassals, the Rasulids, ruled until 1454, the golden age of art, science, and prosperity. The Tahirid tribesmen succeeded the Rasulids but were overthrown by the Egyptian Mamluks (15151517), who opened Yemen to invasion by the Ottoman Turks.

The Portuguese, the French, and the British as well as the Ottoman Empire tried to seize the main routes to the Indian Ocean. The local coffee mocha (named after the town al-Mukha), became an important item in world trade. The split of Yemen into the south and the north was caused by British and Ottoman politics. In 1839, the British occupied Aden. The Ottomans took control over main regions of the north in 18481872 in spite of armed resistance by the Zaydi imams, who had defeated the Turks in 1568, 1613, and 1635. Frequent uprisings forced the Ottomans to grant autonomy to the Zaydi regions in 1911. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Turks withdrew from the north; its independence under the Zaydi imams was internationally recognized in 1923. The imams claimed the right to all of historical Yemen but ceded the province of Najran to Saudi Arabia in 1934. In 1962, the rule of imams was overthrown, and YAR was paroclaimed.

The South was administered by British Bombay presidency until 1937, when it was designated the Crown Colony of Aden and Protectorate. In 1963, the Aden Colony became part of the British-sponsored Federation of South Arabia, which was scheduled to become independent in 1968. The British had to withdraw in 1967, and power was seized by the Marxist-oriented National Liberation Front. The south was proclaimed the People's Republic of South Yemen in 1967 and the PDRY in 1970. The tribal, religious, and pro-Western YAR and the Marxist, secular, and pro-communist PDRY engaged in border warfare in 1979 and 1987. In 1989, the YAR and the PDRY signed a draft document for unification. On 22 May 1990 the new Yemeni nation was born. Six months after unification, the Gulf War started. Yemeni labor migrants from the Arab oil states were forced to return home, causing a population increase, a slowdown in the migrants' remittances, and a reduction in foreign aid.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Apart from a relatively few pastoral nomads who live in tents or caves, most residents are urban dwellers (one-fourth) and sedentary agriculturalists. Since ancient times builders have used local materials to build cities and villages on mountain slopes, dry islets at the bed of a valley, stony plateaus, and sandy seashores. Most localities, from walled cities to tiny hamlets, are still divided into traditional quarters or neighborhoods. Public spaces, especially markets, foster communication among men.

Cultural zones vary in the use of building materials. In villages in northern Tihama timber and straw are used, while in towns shell lime is more common; in southern Tihama timber and brick are used. In the central mountainous region, hewn stone is used; in the highlands, houses are made of stone, burned brick, and stamped clay. In the desert, houses are built from stamped clay and sun-dried mud bricks. These materials also are used in Hadhramaut, whose multistory "skyscrapers" in Shibam are reputed to be the highest mud constructions in the world. Natural stone is used mainly in Mahra and on Socotra.

The majority of buildings originate from pre-Islamic fortified towers that combine in a single structure under a whitewashed flat roof the functions of dwelling, storage, and fortress.

The traditional division of Arab dwellings into men's and women's halves led to the use of separate staircases and room entrances hidden behind partitions. There is a minimum of furniture: cushions and mattresses are placed along the walls for sitting, and special mattresses, which are taken away in the daytime, are used for sleeping. The floor is covered with palm leaf matting, goat-hair rugs, or imported rugs. Cubbyholes are made in thick walls for books, utensils, and clothes.

UNESCO has sponsored international campaigns to protect the architectural heritage, encouraging the use of local materials and building methods. These principles were maintained in the building of the Ministry of Justice in Sana'a and Provincial Health Center and Hospital in Dhamar. The 1990s witnessed a construction boom in the urban centers.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Yemenis usually eat three times a day at home. The traditional diet varies locally and socially and is open to innovations. Generally, there is an early breakfast of sweet strong tea with bread made of sorghum, wheat, or barley; dinner includes a porridge prepared from fenugreek with meat, eggs, vegetables, herbs, and spices, which is served hot in a stone or clay bowl; a light supper consists of vegetables and/or dates. One can drink a glass of tea or a brew of coffee husks outdoors in the daytime. Lentils and peas are traditional staples in addition to sorghum. Many inexpensive restaurants have opened, some of them Lebanese. Local food taboos are those common to the Islamic world: alcohol and pork are officially prohibited.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. At feasts and celebrations, the festive meal of the nomads, roasted or boiled meat from goat or sheep served on heaps of rice, is eaten. In town and villages it is served with side dishes of roasted or fried eggplant and mixed green salads, with fruit or custard with raisins or grapes for dessert. People now consume more fish, poultry, and dairy products. Among the variety of sweets is bint as-sahn, a puff pastry covered with honey. Yemenis prepare special dishes and sweets for nightly breaks during the Ramadan fast. At wedding celebrations and religious feasts, coffee is drunk. In decorated drawingrooms, people smoke water pipes and chew qat.

Basic Economy. About one-fourth of the gross domestic product is derived from agriculture. However, the nation imports more than sixty percent of its food needs. About twenty percent of the population suffers from malnutrition. Agriculture employs more than half the labor force. The principal crops are sorghum, potatoes, dates, wheat, grapes, barley, maize, cotton, millet, and garden vegetables, but only part of the harvest is produced for sale. This is also the case for sheep, goats, and camels. Coffee, biscuits, grapes, sesame seeds, sugar, honey, and dried and salted fish are exported.

Land Tenure and Property. Land can be state, private, or communal. Traditionally, state lands were used for cultivation and public purposes and were controlled by the state authorities; private property consisted of agricultural, building, and other plots; there were Islamic endowments and tribal land was used for grazing livestock and served as areas of tribal responsibility for travelers and protected groups. In the north, customs, laws, and practices concerning land and water allocation are based on Islamic, customary, and, after 1962, civil regulations. In the south, the first two practices were supplemented by British law and, after 1967, socialist legislation. After unification, agricultural land was denationalized and returned in the south to those who owned it under the British. About 6 percent of the national territory is arable, 30 percent is occupied by pastures, and 7 percent is forest and woodland.

Commercial Activities. Shops and permanent and weekly markets offer local and imported foodstuffs, qat and frankincense, livestock, manufactured goods, fabrics, and clothing. Goods traditionally associated with the culture, such as side arms, textiles, leather, and agates, also are available for purchase.

Major Industries. The petroleum refinery in Little Aden produces a major share of the industrial output. Other products are foodstuffs, including soft drink bottling and dairy plants; cement and cinder blocks, tiles, and burned bricks; textiles; aluminum utensils, rubber and plastic; and salt. Yemenis still practice traditional handicrafts such as silver and copperwork, dagger manufacturing, carpentry, boat building, pottery, weaving and dyeing, wickerwork, and leather tanning. Electricity is generated from thermal power plants. The major sea ports are Aden, al-Hudayda, al-Mucha, al-Mukalla; international airports are situated in Sana'a, Aden, al-Hudayda, Ta'izz, and al-Mukalla. Economic prospects depend on the development of oil resources.

Trade. The principal exports are livestock and food, cigarettes, leather, and petroleum products, which are shipped mainly to Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Italy. Yemen traditionally exports labor to the Arab world, East Africa, the Indian Ocean area, and the United States. All manner of staples from food to consumer goods are imported.

Division of Labor. Most of the population is employed in agriculture and herding or works as expatriate laborers. Industry (about 5 percent of total labor power), services, construction, and commerce employ for less than half the workforce. There is a labor hierarchy that conforms to the traditional social strata.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Under law all citizens are equal. The traditional social structure, however, has at the top the Sayyids stratum, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. The Sayyids competed for the office of Zaydi imam and control sacred enclaves, solved tribal conflicts by mediation, engaged in theology and law, and owned and leased land. Slightly lower on the social scale are the Qadis or Fuqaha (in the south, the Mashayikh ) who perform the same social functions. Qabilis (tribesmen) control their territory and caravan routes, own arable land that most of them cultivate, and carry weapons. The lower strata are underprivileged and have an obscure genealogy. Being under tribal protection, they traditionally were deprived of land ownership and were not allowed to bear arms. The members of this group are called the Bani Khums in the north and the Masakeen and Du'afa (the poor and the weak) in the south. They engage in low-status occupations that in most cases are hereditary, working as smiths, carpenters, potters, brokers, barbers (who also perform circumsion), bloodletters, musicians, heralds, butchers weavers and dyers, and tanners. The Akhdams (servants) wash and bury the dead and clean latrines. The majority of Akhdams and exslaves (Abeeds ) are of African or Ethiopean descent. All these strata tend to be endogamous or, in the south, observe the marital rule of hypergamy, in which men marry within their strata or lower and women marry their equals or higher-status men. The mass return of expatriates in 1990 has raised the social problem of muwalladin, or Yemenis of mixed origins.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Male Sayyids and Qadis traditionally wore long robes and covered their heads with white or green turbans; their authority also was symbolized by a staff, a ring, and a flag. Tribal symbols include weapons (firearms), dances, greetings, call songs, and tribal poetry. Women's dress reflects not so much class differences but social and regional ones except for the fact that women in nomadic tribes and the most under-privileged strata leave their faces unveiled. In the south, the jambiya is worn only by tribesmen. In the north, men in most social strata carry daggers. Today all Yemeni men prefer to wear jambiyas that are placed vertically at the center of the belt.

Political Life

Government. United Yemen proclaimed itself a presidential republic and a multiparty parliamentary democracy. The parliament consists of the House of Deputies and an appointed Upper Chamber, or Senate. The constitution was approved by referendum in 1991 and was amended in 1994. The president is elected for a five-year term; the last campaign for the presidency was won in 1999 by the general Ali Abdullah Saleh. Executive authority is vested in the prime minister and the cabinet. The Supreme Court heads the judicial branch. The press is among the freest in the Arab world.

Leadership and Political Officials. Politics is practiced mostly outside the new democratic institutions. Real power is exercised through a network of personal relations and patronage and clientele ties that involve family, class, and local affinities. Since a multiparty system was not allowed before unification, the strength of party leadership matters today more than does ideology. Among about forty political parties and organizations, the most significant are: the General People's Congress (GPC) of the president, the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (the Islah ) with active Islamic and tribal trends, and the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which, after abortive secession of the south in 1994, has regrouped as a loyal opposition.

Social Problems and Control. In 1991, the court system was set up with the Supreme Court of the Republic at the top in Sana'a, provincial courts of appeal in every governorate, and uniform district courts in the main local centers. In 1994, laws regarding crimes, punishments, and criminal procedures were promulgated; the police and security forces were organized. Those measures were aimed at eradicating corruption, bribery, and favoritism. Other common crimes are larceny in large cities, smuggling along the border, and the taking of hostages in tribal areas; robbery and murder are not widespread. Crime statistics are not representative, since disputes traditionally are solved through mediation, customary tribal arbitration, and mutual accord. Yemenis regard customary justice as less expensive than state courts. Legal practice includes contradictory aspects of secular, religious, and customary regulations.

Military Activity. Military campaigns took place in 1979, 1986, 1987, and 1994. The Defense Forces include an army, a navy, an air force, and paramilitary forces that include the police. Most tribes have their own militias.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The current development strategies are documented in a five-year plan that calls for a market economy led by the private sector. External assistance, which was withdrawn in the early 1990s, returned after 1994, when the government launched an ambitious economic, financial, and administrative reform program under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 1996, those sources were joined by the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, and the European Union. About an eighth of external aid goes for health and human resources development.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

There are trade unions, professional syndicates, human rights groups, and sport, religious (including charitable), and other informal organizations and associations, most of which have a top-down structure.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In the cultural stereotype, women are viewed as subordinate and indulgent mothers, sisters, and wives who perform household duties; men are seen as financial providers in the outside world, responsible for the wellbeing and prestige of the family. Long-term male labor migration has resulted in a modification of the traditional division of labor, since women and older children have had to take over some male tasks, particularly in agriculture. Some women in urban centers have jobs in education and health care. Women Islamic activists are very active in the Islah Charitable Society, which helps the poor.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. The 1994 constitution states that women are men's sisters and have rights and duties guaranteed by Islamic Shari'a and secular law. However, gender disparity in all aspects of life outside the family is striking, since religious authorities strongly recommend gender segregation. For example the testimony of two women in court equals that of one man.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Most marriages are arranged by the families: a bridegroom's female relatives suggest potential brides to him and his father, who come to a decision according to the rules of martial conformity. In most cases, the woman's father asks her about her wishes before the marriage contract is prepared. Groom and bride are attached to their respective descent groups through the male line: The father of the groom has to pay a brideprice mahr, and the family of the bride is expected to help her in times of hardship. Arab custom regards as ideal a parallel cousin marriage in which the father's brother's daughter is the bride as well as other endogamous marriages. Shari'a law allows a man to marry up to four wives if he treats them all as equals; the rate of polygamy is low. Half of the adult population is married, four percent is widowed, and one percent is divorced. Both men and women can request a divorce. If it was initiated by the husband, the ex-wife keeps her brideprice and can remarry after four months and ten days, during which time the ex-husband has to support her. Children up to seven years of age remain with the mother if she does not remarry. Divorce and remarriage are not stigmatized.

Domestic Unit. The most common type family, especially outside urban centers, is patrilocal and extended. There are also nuclear families, as well as fraternal joint families (households consisting of the nuclear families of two or more brothers). The average household has 6.7 persons. Most of the household economy is controlled by men. In villages, men are responsible for qat and cultivation of the crops, whereas women grow vegetables and take care of domestic animals.

Inheritance. Inheritance customs stress the right of primogeniture, which gives preference to the oldest brother. In accordance with Shari'a law, after a husband's death, his mother inherits one-sixth of his estate and one-eighth goes to his widow; a woman inherits half of her brother's share. If she has no brothers or sisters, she gets half the property. Formally inherited property, including land, is at a woman's disposal, but often it is managed by her male relatives.

Kin Groups. This stratified society is based on the tribal idiom of common descent, which serves as the source of mutual rights and obligations within each group. This flexible structure has several levels above the nuclear family: a unit of patrilineal kin (bayt ), whose members share a house or closely interact in other ways; the larger descent group, the clan or subtribe (fakhdh ); a tribe (qabila ); and a tribal confederation (silf ). Individuals usually identify themselves with the lowest or highest levels of kinship, since alliances are not determined solely by kin principles.

Socialization

Infant Care. Children are culturally, socially, and religiously valued, although infant mortality is high. Mothers are responsible for the care of young children, and older daughters take an active part in raising their siblings. Only male children give their mother high status. Small children usually are carried by their caretakers. Girls and small children sleep in the women's half of the house, while adolescent boys sleep apart. Children rarely are punished. If they fight, they are separated by adults.

Child Rearing and Education. Most women give birth at home. A son's birth involves a circumcision festivity during which the mother gets presents. Circumcision (clitoridectomy) of newly born female children usually is done without a special ceremony. Babies are swaddled, and children are regarded as incapable of self-control until age four. Male children are believed to be particularly vulnerable to the evil eye. More emphasis is placed on the education of sons than on that of daughters in free public, or private as well as religious schools, all of which are sexually segregated.

Higher Education. Gender segregation is practiced in higher education, which has been developing rapidly since unification. In addition to national universities in Sana'a and Aden, state and private universities are being organized in al-Mukalla, Taiz, Ibb, Dhammar, and al-Hudayda.

Etiquette

Social and individual interactions are determined by customary law and religious regulations, which include structured series of verbal exchanges and salutations in greeting or saying good-bye and the avoidance of women who are not close relatives. The strata disparity reflected in behavioral norms has been lessening but still exists in regard to marital and other rules. Cultural values include hospitality, respect for elders, decency, and good manners while eating from a communal dish. Guests do not accept more than three cups of coffee or tea and wobble the cup from side to side to show that nothing more is required, and shoes are left outdoors before one enters a dwelling. Physical distance between social interactors is close. The spatial disposition of social interactors is circular at tribal meetings and linear during ritual ceremonies in mosques and outdoors; indoors, it is at the perimeter, with the best position at the far corner of the wall in which the door is situated. In a market one is expected to enjoy the process of bargaining. During social events, poets, singers, and dancers may transgress the precepts of acceptable behavior.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Sunni Islam of the Shafi'i school dominates in the south and many regions of the north; the Zaydi Shi'a school with its center in Sa'da is practiced mainly among the tribes of central mountains and the adjacent highlands. A much smaller Islamic group near Manakha is the Isma'ilis, who are divided into the Sulaymani (Makarima ) branch, which is connected with Najaran, and the Dawudi (Boharas ) which is linked with India.

Religious Practitioners. Islamic scholars, judges, managers of charitable property, elders in sacred enclaves, and leaders of communal prayer used to be recruited primarily from the two upper strata but now may belong to other classes as well.

Rituals and Holy Places. Yemenis observe the Five Pillars of Islam, including five prayers a day and a daytime fast during the month of Ramadan. The weekly day of rest is Friday. Religious celebrations include 27 Ramadan, the Night of Power; 1 Shawwal, the Lesser Feast; 10 Dhu al-Hijja, the Greater Feast, or the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorating the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca; 12 Rabi' al-Awwal, the birthday of the Prophet; 10 Muharram, the day of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn; and 27 Rajab, the day of the Prophet's miraculous journey. In mid-Rajab, pilgrimages are usually made to the tombs of local saints.

Death and the Afterlife. The body of the deceased is washed, perfumed, and wrapped in a white, unseamed shroud. The deceased has to be buried before sunset on the day of death. Women do not accompany the body to the grave, staying outside the cemetery. During the first three days of mourning, the Koran is read and relatives and friends visit the family of the dead person. Remembrance sessions usually are held on the seventh and fortieth days after death.

Medicine and Health Care

The Sayyids and Qadis/Mashayikh are reputed to be effective in giving verbal therapy; some are said to heal illnesses by placing their hands over or breathing on a patient. Tribesmen are known as healers of wounds and snake bites, barbers specialize in blood letting, and both use cauterization, preventive diets and herbal treatments. Traditionally, disease is seen as the effect of bad winds and an imbalance of the four humors of the body. Modern health programs have been established.

Secular Celebrations

National Day on 22 May commemorates the country's unification. The Revolution of 26 September 1962 in the north and the beginning of revolt in the south on 14 October 1963 also are celebrated.

The Arts and Humanities

Literature. Medieval culture was rich in historical, geographic, and religious works; agricultural almanacs; astronomical treatises; and rhymed prose. Poetry in classical and colloquial styles is the most popular art form. Since the Middle Ages, poetry has been spoken, sung, and improvised during social events, at performances, and in competitions.

Graphic Arts. Rich traditions of decorative art, such as silver jewelry, embroidered garments, handwoven textiles, and architectural decor, are still practiced. There are art galleries in large cities with modern drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

Performance Arts. Traditional performaces include musical-poetical improvisations called dan in the Hadhramaut, at which singers chant a tune without words and poets offer them a freshly created text line by line. There are choral ritual processions, tribal call songs, special types of regional songs, and local and strata dances.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The General Organization for Antiquities, Museums, and Manuscripts (GOAMM), with the help of the main universities, does archaeological, historical, and ethnographic studies. GOAMM also coordinates research run by the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, the German Archaeological Institute, the French Center for Yemeni Studies, the British-Yemeni Society, and Russian scientific expeditions. These institutions study social activities, methods of administration, urbanization, land tenure practices, and other aspects of the social and political sciences. Physical sciences and applications, as well as vocational and technical education, require further development.

Bibliography

Adib, Naziha, Ferdous al-Mukhtar, et al. Arabic Cuisine from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, 1993.

Adra, Najwa. "Qabyala: The Tribal Concept in the Central Highlands of the Yemen Republic." Ph.D dissertation, Philadelphia: Temple University, 1982.

Al-Amri, Husayn. Yemen in the 18th and 19th Centuries, 1985.

Almadhagi, Ahmed Noman. Yemen and the United States: A Study of a Small Power and a Super State Relationship, 19621994, 1996.

Al-Sabban, Abd al-Q Muhammad. Visits and Customs: The Visit to the Tomb of the Prophet Hud, translated by Linda Boxberger and Awad Abu Hulayqa, 1998.

Auchterlonie, Paul. Yemen, rev. ed., 1998.

Bidwell, Robin. Travellers in Arabia, 1994.

Buchman, Davie. "The Underground Friends of God and Their Adversaries: A Case Study and Survey of Sufism in Contemporary Yemen." Yemen Update (Bulletin of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies) 39:2124.

Buringa, Joke (ed. By Marta Colburn). Bibliography on Women in Yemen, 1992.

Burrowes, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Yemen, 1995.

Carapico, Sheila. Civil Society in Yemen. The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia, 1998.

Caton, Steven C. "Peaks of Yemen I Summon": Poetry as Cultural Practice in a North Yemeni Tribe, 1990.

Costa, Paolo M. Studies in Arabian Architecture, 1995.

Crociani, Paola. Portrets of Yemen, 1996.

Damluji, Salma Samar. The Valley of Mud Brick Architecture, 1992.

Daum, Werner, ed. Yemen: 3000 Years of Art and Civilisation in Arabia Felix, 1987.

Doe, Brian. Socotra, Island of Tranquility, 1992.

Dostal, Walter. Ethnographica Jemenica, 1992.

Dresh, Paul K. Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen, 1989.

Eickelman, Dale F. The Middle East: An Anthropological Approach, 1981.

Elgood, Robert. The Arms and Armour of Arabia in the 18th19th, and 20th Centuries, 1994.

Freitag, Ulrike, and William G. Clarence-Smith, eds. Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s1960s, 1997.

Gerholm, Tomas. Market, Mosque, and Mafraj: Social Inequality in a Yemeni Town, 1977.

Gingrich, Andre, et al., eds. Studies in Oriental Culture and History: Festschrift for Walter Dostal, 1993.

and Johann Heiss. Beitrage zur Ethnographie der Provinz Sa'da (Nordjemen), 1986.

Glaser, Eduard. My Journey through Arhab and Hashid, translated by David Warburton, 1993.

Halliday, Fred. Arabs in Exile: Yemen Migrants in Urban Britain, 1992.

Hubaishi, Husain. Legal System and Basic Law in Yemen, 1988.

Ingrams, Doreen. A Time in Arabia, 1970.

Ingrams, Harold. Arabia and the Isles, 1966.

Knysh, Alexandr. "The Cult of Saints in Hadramawt: An Overview." New Arabian Studies, 1:37152, 1993.

. "The Cult of Saints and Islamic Reformism in Early Twentieth Century Hadramawt." New Arabian Studies 4: 139167, 1997.

Korotayev, Andrey. Pre-Islamic Yemen: Socio-Political Organisation of the Sabaean Cultural Area in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD, 1996.

Kostiner, Joseph. Yemen. The Torturous Quest for Unity 19901994, 1996.

Lewis, Herbert. After the Eagles Landed: The Yemenites of Israel, 1994.

Makhlouf, Carla. Changing Veils: Women and Modernisation in North Yemen, 1979.

Messick, Brinkley M. The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society, 1993.

Muchawsky-Schnapper, Ester. The Jews of Yemen: Highlights of the Israel Museum Collections, 1994.

Myntti, Cynthia. Women in Rural Yemen, 1978.

. "Notes on Mystical Healers in the Higariyya." Arabian Studies 8: 171176, 1990.

Naumkin, Vitaly. Island of the Phoenix: An Ethnographic Study of the People of Socotra, 1993.

Phillips, Carl. "Archaeological Research in Yemen." The British-Yemeni Society Journal 4: 2228, 1996.

Pieragostini, Karl. Britain, Aden and South Arabia: Abandoning Empire, 1991.

Posey, Sarah. Yemeni Pottery: The Littlewood Collection, 1994.

Pridham, Brian, ed. Contemporary Yemen: Politics and Historical Background, 1984.

Qafisheh, Hamdi A. Yemeni Arabic Reference Grammar, 1992.

Rodionov, Mikhair. "Field Data on Folk Medicine from the Hadramawt." Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 26: 125133, 1996.

. "Poetry and Power in Hadramawt. New Arabian Studies 3: 118133, 1996.

and Mikhail Suvorov, eds. Cultural Anthropology of Southern Arabia: Hadramawt Revisited, 1999.

Sedov, Alexandr, and Ahmad BaTayi. "Temples of Ancient Hadramawt." Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 24: 183196, 1994.

Serjeant, Robert B. Prose and Poetry from Hadramawt: South Arabian Poetry, I, 1951.

. Society and Trade in South Arabia, 1996.

and Ronal Lewcock, eds. San'a', 1983.

Stevenson, Thomas B. Social Change in a Yemeni Highlands Town, 1985.

. Studies on Yemen, 19751900: A Bibliography of European-Language Sources for Social Scientists, 1994.

. "Yemen Filmography." Yemen Update (Bulletin of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies) 40: 2931, 1998.

al-Suwaydi, Jamal, ed. The Yemeni War of 1994. Causes and Consequences, 1995.

Tobi, Jacob. West of Aden: A Survey of the Aden Jewish Community, 1994.

UNICEF. Thee Situation of Women and Children in the Republic of Yemen 1992, 1993.

Varisco, Daniel M. "The Adaptive Dynamics of Water Allocation in al-Ahjur, Yemen Arab Republic." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1982.

. Medieval Agriculture and Islamic Science: The Almanac of a Yemeni Sultan, 1994.

Watson, Jannet C. E. A Syntax of San'ani Arabic, 1993.

Weir, Shelagh. Oat in Yemen: Consumption and Social Change, 1985.

Wenner, Manfred W. Modern Yemen, 19181966, 1967.

Mikhail Rodionov

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Countries and Their Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Countries and Their Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

"Yemen." Countries and Their Cultures. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

YEMENIS 201

Since independence, the population has been almost entirely Arab. Many ethnologists contend that the purest "Arab" stock is to be found in Yemen. There is a small minority of Akhdam.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YemenAlabaman, Amman, Ammon, Drammen, gammon, Mammon, salmon •Bradman, Caedmon, madman, madmen •flagman, flagmen •trackman, trackmen •hangman, hangmen •chapman, chapmen •cragsman, cragsmen •cracksman, cracksmen, Flaxman •batsman, batsmen •batman, batmen •Tasman •clansman, clansmen, Klansman, Klansmen, landsman, landsmen •backgammon •barman, barmen, Brahman, Carman, Carmen, shaman, Sharman, Tutankhamencraftsman, craftsmen, draftsman, draftsmen, draughtsman, draughtsmen, raftsman, raftsmen •marksman, marksmen •atman •guardsman, guardsmen •leman, Lemmon, lemon, Yemen •headman, headmen, Stedman •Beckmann •bellman, bellmen, Hellman •gentleman, gentlemen •penman, penmen •Helpmann •pressman, pressmen •freshman, freshmen •Welshman, Welshmen •Frenchman, Frenchmen, henchman, henchmen •desman •headsman, headsmen •helmsman, helmsmen •lensman, lensmen •airman, airmen, chairman, chairmen •Bremen, caiman, Damon, Eamon, layman, laymen, stamen •railman, railmen •brakesman, brakesmen •statesman, statesmen •tradesman, tradesmen •salesman, salesmen •gamesman, gamesmen •plainsman, plainsmen •railwayman, railwaymen •highwayman, highwaymen •cacodemon, daemon, demon, Freeman, freemen, Philemon, Riemann, Schliemann, seaman, seamen, semen •Friedman •liegeman, liegemen •Eastman, policeman, policemen •beadsman, beadsmen, seedsman, seedsmen •fieldsman, fieldsmen •wheelsman, wheelsmen •persimmon, Rimmon •pitchman, pitchmen •Bridgman • milkman • Hillman •signalman, signalmen •Lippmann •pitman, pitmen, Whitman •guildsman, guildsmen •kinsman, kinsmen •Betjeman • regimen •clergyman, clergymen •tallyman, tallymen •talisman •Englishman, Englishmen •businessman, businessmen •Cornishman, Cornishmen •journeyman, journeymen •cavalryman, cavalrymen •ferryman, ferrymen •vestryman, vestrymen •dairyman, dairymen •Irishman, Irishmen •quarryman, quarrymen •Orangeman, Orangemen •congressman, congressmen •countryman, countrymen •infantryman, infantrymen •nurseryman, nurserymen •liveryman, liverymen •midshipman, midshipmen •harvestman, harvestmen •serviceman, servicemen •Hyman, Simon •Eichmann •rifleman, riflemen •Feynman, lineman, linemen •Weismann • Wiseman •tribesman, tribesmen •linesman, linesmen •exciseman, excisemen •common, Roscommon •watchman, watchmen •Godman, hodman, hodmen •Hoffman •frogman, frogmen •stockman, stockmen •dolman, dolmen •Scotsman, Scotsmen, yachtsman, yachtsmen •Boltzmann • Cotman •bondsman, bondsmen •Bormann, doorman, doormen, foreman, foremen, Mormon, Norman, storeman, storemen •Kauffmann • Walkman •horseman, horsemen, Norseman, Norsemen •sportsman, sportsmen •oarsman, oarsmen, outdoorsman, outdoorsmen •swordsman •longshoreman, longshoremen •bowmen, cowman, cowmen, ploughman (US plowman), ploughmen (US plowmen) •councilman, councilmen •Hauptmann • Housman •groundsman, groundsmen, roundsman, roundsmen, townsman, townsmen •warehouseman, warehousemen •Bowman, Oklahoman, Oman, omen, Roman, showman, showmen, yeoman, yeomen •coachman, coachmen •Coleman, Goldman •nobleman, noblemen •postman, postmen •spokesman, spokesmen •boatman, boatmen •lifeboatman, lifeboatmen •dragoman •crewman, crewmen, energumen, human, ichneumon, Newman, numen, Schumann, subhuman, Trueman •woman •woodman, woodmen •bookman, bookmen •Pullman •Bushman, Bushmen •footman, footmen •woodsman, woodsmen •ombudsman, ombudsmen •clanswoman •backwoodsman, backwoodsmen •charwoman •craftswoman, draughtswoman •gentlewoman • Welshwoman •Frenchwoman •airwoman, chairwoman •laywoman • stateswoman •saleswoman • policewoman •kinswoman • Englishwoman •businesswoman • Irishwoman •congresswoman • countrywoman •jurywoman • servicewoman •tribeswoman •Scotswoman, yachtswoman •forewoman • horsewoman •sportswoman • oarswoman •townswoman • spokeswoman •Dutchwoman • frontierswoman •alderwoman • anchorwoman •washerwoman • Ulsterwoman •churchwoman • acumen • summon •Dutchman, Dutchmen •gunman, gunmen •busman, busmen, dustman, dustmen •huntsman, huntsmen •Newcomen • Layamon •privateersman, privateersmen, steersman, steersmen •frontiersman, frontiersmen •fireman • Dobermann • lumbermen •abdomen • Omdurman •alderman, aldermen •Turkoman •cellarman, cellarmen, telamon •cyclamen •Highlandman, Highlandmen •Solomon • trawlerman • cinnamon •Chinaman, Chinamen •trencherman, trenchermen •fisherman, fishermen, militiaman, militiamen •washerman, washermen •ottoman •waterman, watermen •Ulsterman, Ulstermen •Burman, firman, German, Herman, sermon, Sherman •churchman, churchmen •turfman, turfmen •Bergman •kirkman, kirkmen, workman, workmen •Perelman •herdsman, herdsmen

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yemen

"Yemen." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

YEMEN , country in S.W. corner of the Arabian Peninsula; capital, Sanʿa.

The Land and the People

The southern part of the Arabian Peninsula is called al-Yaman (the south), after which the country is named in the West. In pre-Islamic times there were five separate political entities in this area, the history of which is known only in epigraphic sources from the tenth century b.c.e.: Ma'īn (with the capital Qarnāw), Ḥimyar (ʿAfar), Sabā (Mārib), Katabān (Tamnā), and Ḥaḍramawt (Shabwah). The country was politically united under the Ḥimyari kingdom from the fourth century c.e. The Ḥimyari king Abūkarib adopted the Jewish religion in 384, which was retained until 525/530, when *Dhū Nuwās, the last Ḥimyari king was defeated and killed by the invading Christian army from Abyssinia. In 570 the country was conquered by the Sassanid Persians and in 629 was taken over without a fight by the Muslim army. Since then Yemen has been a Muslim country, although its ruling dynasties have changed many times and almost never has Yemen constituted one political entity. After being a remote province of the *Umayyads and the *Abbassids it was actually ruled by different local families, until it fell under the rule of a Zaydī imām, Yaḥyā al-Hādī ilā al-Ḥaqq. His successors became the main political and religious power except for relatively long intervals: 1173–1229 (Egyptian Abbassids), 1229–1454 (Rasūlīs), 1454–1526 (Banū Ẓāhir), 1536–1636 (*Ottoman Turks), 1872–1918 (Ottoman Turks). But even during these intervals the Zaydīs kept their power in the northern part of the country. Since *San'a was the political and religious center, except during the Rasūlī period with the capital Ta'izz, the far southeastern region of Yemen, Ḥaḍramawt was never under the control of the central government but only under that of various local sultans. Part of the country with its important seaport of *Aden was actually under British control between the years 1839 and 1967. In 1962 the Zaydī imamate came to its end in consequence of the republican revolution and since then Yemen has been a Muslim republic. In 1990 Yemen and the State of South Yemen, established after the British had evacuated Aden, were united into one state for the first time in history to include all south Arabia, up the border of Oman in the east. Religiously the country is evenly divided between Zaydīs in the north and the central plateau and Shāfi'īs in the southern lowlands and Ḥaḍramawt.

As an orthodox Muslim state Yemen was always hostile to the Jewish settlement in the Holy Land since the first mass aliyyot from Yemen in 1882 and actually tried to prevent them. Later, after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Yemen was one of the seven Arab states who sent their armies against the newborn Jewish state. Yemen never recognized Israel de jure or de facto and in the early 21st century was one of the radical Arab and Muslim states in terms of its political relation to Israel.

History

There are no documents or other reliable sources about the beginning of Jewish existence in Yemen. The traditions of the Jews of Yemen themselves relate that a large group of Jews left Jerusalem some years before the destruction of the First Temple following the prophecies of Jeremiah. They first came to some localities in Yemen, called Resh Galut, such as San'a, Tan'im, and Dhamār. According to their tradition, the Jews of Yemen rejected the call of Ezra to return to the Holy Land since they anticipated that the Second Temple would be destroyed as well. This tradition may be supported by their pronunciation of Hebrew, which fits that of Judea, like that of the medieval Jews of Babylonia, and differs from the Galilean (Tiberian) pronunciation maintained by all other Jewish communities; and the counting of the years from the ninth of Av since the destruction of the First Temple, a unique custom not existing in any other Jewish community. However, the first certain evidence of Jewish life in Yemen is the tombs of Ḥimyarī Jews in Beth She'arim, dated to the beginning of the third century c.e., which means that at least in the second half of the second century c.e. there already were Jewish settlements in Yemen.

One may conclude, then, that Jews left Judea southward after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 c.e.) and eventually arrived in Yemen to build their new life.

Judaism in pre-Islamic Yemen gained more and more power and influence. The crucial step was in early 380, when the Ḥimyarī king Abūkarib adopted Judaism as the formal religion of the kingdom. Polytheism was completely rejected and for 150 years all inscriptions, the almost ultimate source for pre-Islamic history, were monotheist or Jewish. During that time, a bitter struggle developed between Judaism and Christianity in Yemen, culminating with Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās (522–525/530). But when the foreign army of Aksūm, the Christian power in Ethiopia, intervened and invaded the country, as a response to the punitive expedition of Yūsuf against the rebellious Christians in Najrān, the Jewish regime of Ḥimyar came to its end and the Jews lost their strong standing in the country. From early Muslim sources, however, we learn that Judaism spread out among many Arab tribes, especially in Ḥaḍramawt. The next big step in the degradation of Judaism and Jews in Yemen took place in 629, when the country was taken by the victorious Muslim army of *Muhammad. Suddenly the Jews became *dhimmīs, namely second-degree subjects protected by the government in return for paying a special tax (only for adult males) – the jizyah. It seems that only a few of the Jews of Yemen converted to Islam, although there is not the slightest information in terms of numbers. However, early Muslim sources are quite informative about Yemeni Jews – or about those Jewish scholars who converted to Islam and enriched it with endless Jewish traditions and stories, frequently lost in genuine Jewish sources. To name just a few we may mention *Ka'b al-Aḥbār, 'Abd Allah ibn Sallām, 'Abd Allah ibn Sabā', and Wahb ibn Munabbih.

We know almost nothing about the Jews in Yemen during the Umayyad and first Abbassid periods up to the end of the 9th century, when the Zaydi imamate was established in northern Yemen in 897 by Yaḥyā al-Hādī ilā al-Ḥaqq. From a rare document preserved in his sīrah (biography) we know that basically he did not adopt discriminatory and humiliating regulations against the Jews but forbade Jews to build synagogues and hold Muslim slaves. It is notable that he did not prevent Jews from owning lands and even confirmed their right to buy new lands from Muslims.

Again, for more than 250 years, Jewish and Arab sources are almost completely silent regarding Yemeni Jews, but from the scarce information we have it is clear that the Jews of Yemen maintained close relations with the geonim in the Babylonian Jewish centers. However, as a result of the growing importance of Yemen and especially of its southern seaport of Aden in international commerce from the Mediterranean basin to *India, the Jewish community of Yemen rises from oblivion, particularly in the documents of the Cairo *Genizah. During the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, Yemen and its Jewish community were like a suburb of *Egypt and its large Jewish Egyptian community. Yemenite Jewry of that time was an integral part of the Jewish world in the vast Muslim area from the shores of the Atlantic to India. In the 12th and 13th centuries, in the course of which Yemen constituted an important part of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt, it had special communal and religious relations with *Maimonides and his son Abraham, both of them heads of the Jewish community in Egypt and close to the government. These special relations were first shaped when Maimonides acted on their behalf in the Ayyubid court in Cairo and sent them his famous Epistle to Yemen (1172) to lead them away from their belief in the false messiah who appeared at that time in Yemen and to comfort them. Generally the Ayyubid period (1172–1254) was quite happy for the Jews, except for a short time when Mu'izz al-Dīn Ismāʿīl (1196–1201) forced them to convert to Islam, a tragic episode ending with his sudden death.

The transition of the government in Yemen from the Ayyubid to the Rasūlī dynasty (1254–1454) did not radically change the political and economic conditions of the Jews. Despite the sparse details in Muslim sources about some Jews who had converted to Islam, there is a good likelihood that in general the Jews lived calmly and securely. They could maintain their close relations with Egyptian Jewry under the rule of the *Mamluks and excel in their literary production, which was the richest and the most diverse in their history. Matters changed with the rise of Banū Ẓāhir in 1454, particularly as a result of another Jewish false messiah who attracted many Jews as well as Muslim followers. Not only was the rebellious messiah killed, but Jews were no longer allowed to dwell in the vast area of Ḥaḍramawt, claimed by the fanatic Muslims to be the land of the pre-Islamic prophet Hūd. This ban was only the first in an unceasing trend to limit the boundaries of Jewish settlement in Yemen. No wonder, then, that the Jews of Yemen looked with hope to Portuguese activities on the seacoast of southern Yemen during the first decade of the 15th century, and some of them even helped them as spies.

Shortly after that, the Zaydī imams, who for several centuries had been pushed to their strongholds in the north, gained power and took control of larger territories in the central plateau where large Jewish communities lived. It should be noted that the Zaydī attitude towards Jews had been greatly altered during the 15th century under the impact of the writings of Ḥanbalī scholars, becoming less tolerant, as attested in legal books of Zaydī scholars. But then came the Ottoman Turks who pushed the Zaydīs back to the north after gaining control of the central plateau, including Sanʾa. In spite of the formal improvement of living conditions of the Jews under the Turks, as the new strict regulations against them were abrogated, they suffered severely from the unceasing war between the Ottoman armies and the Zaydī rebels. This situation came to a head in late 1620, when Faḍlī Pāsha, the Turkish governor in the southern lowlands, arrested the leaders of the Jews, trying to win the sympathies of local Muslims. Nevertheless, the Jews were accused by the Muslim Yemenis of being collaborators of the Turks. When eventually the Yemenis, led by the Qāsimīs, the new dynasty of imāms, succeeded in driving the Turks out of the country in 1636, the Jews were submitted to new anti-Jewish Zaydī regulations.

It was just a question of timing for the fanatically religious Imām al-Mutawakkil Ismāʾīl (1644–1676) as to when to act to bring about the total annihilation of Jewish existence in Yemen, a question regularly discussed in Zaydī legal writings since the middle of the 16th century. This occured in 1667, in the wake of the messianic expectations of Shabbateanism throughout Yemen, as well as all over the Jewish world, when a group of Sanʾanī Jews, led by Slaymān Jamāl, one of their scholars, asked the governor of Sanʾa to hand the government over to him. The reaction of Imām Ismāʾīl was quick and harsh. He legally abrogated the status of the Jews as a protected minority and applied to scholars of both the Zaydī and Shāfiʾī schools regarding the question of whether Yemen is like the Ḥijāz where non-Muslims are not allowed to dwell. After years of hesitation he adopted the ruling of these scholars, who believed that Yemen was a part of the Ḥijāz, and on his deathbed he instructed his heir, Imām al-Mahdī Aḥmad (1676–1681), to carry out this ruling. The immediate meaning was unequivocal: the Jews could no longer live as Jews in Yemen; they had to choose between Islam and death. The new imām chose a third alternative, to expel the Jews from Yemen. But eventually, for logistic reasons, they were expelled to *Mawzaʾ, a small town in the west of the country, not far from the seaport of Mochā, where living conditions were almost unbearable.

After about a year and a half, the Jews were allowed to return to their towns and villages, although not to same quarters and houses, all of which had been confiscated by the government. They had to build new houses in new neighborhoods, outside the wall in walled cities. For more than two generations the social, economic, and spiritual situation of the Jews was quite bad. It was only in late 1720, under the community leadership of Shalom Iraqi, who served three imāms as collector of taxes and was responsible for the mint house, that the Jews rehabilitated their life, particularly economically as the Jews took part in the new commerce with British India. But that was only for a short time, owing to the jealousy of the Muslims over the growing wealth of the Jews. In 1762 Iraqi was thrown into prison, when he was more than 80 years old, his wealth and property were confiscated, and all synagogues in San'a were closed for 30 years. It was then that the spiritual leadership, headed by R. Yiḥye (d. 1805), held the reins of the Jewish community and rescued it from moral and communal decline. But this could not help the politically and economically deteriorating status of the Jews, a trend which continued and even worsened during the 19th century, up to 1872, when Yemen was conquered by the Turks.

For many years after the British had taken over Aden (1839) and the Turks had invaded Yemen (1849), the Jews of Yemen looked forward to the total occupation of the country by a Western power and tried hard to involve other Jewish communities, especially in England, on their behalf. This could be attained only after the Turks had entered Sanʾa in 1872. In principle, the new rulers canceled the traditional Muslim anti-Jewish regulations, in accordance with Ottoman policy in the entire Empire. Indeed, the situation of the Jews improved during the Turkish occupation and their ties with coreligionists in Europe were strengthened, especially with Jewish settlements in the Holy Land to which the Jews of Yemen started to immigrate in mass beginning in 1882.

These two trends opened a completely new period in the history of the Jews of Yemen during which immigration to the Holy Land was a main political and social factor with a decisive impact upon all aspects of life. Another major factor was the centralist and ultra-orthodox regime of Imām Yaḥyā (1904–48), who led the rebellion against the Turks after his father's death in 1904. He wrested significant authority from the Turks in 1911 regarding internal and religious issues (Jews included), and eventually obtained the entire governing authority in 1918 after the Turks had evacuated the country. Yaḥyā strictly implemented the traditional Zaydī policy regarding the Jews, including two harsh edicts: (a) the orphans' edict, according to which every Jewish orphan was to be taken by the government from his family and raised as a Muslim; (b) the latrine decree, according to which the Jews had to clean the streets and the public baths and lavatories (in order to humiliate them). As an expression of identification and sympathy with Arabs in their conflict with the Jews in the Holy Land, he published a regulation prohibiting Jews from leaving Yemen for that country. But on the other hand he followed a very firm policy of protecting the Jews and severely punished any Muslim, either a regular citizen or a government officer, who harmed them.

However, what had a greater effect on the worsening conditions of life of the Jews during Yaḥyā's reign was his general despotic conduct toward his subjects, Muslims as well as Jews. To gain maximum control over his subjects and to prevent any possibility of revolt against him, Yaḥyā imposed extremely high taxes on the Muslims, particularly the peasants, and set up many factories and companies to deprive Jews of their main source of income, the crafts, which were the primary occupation they were allowed to practice. The Jewish community grew poorer and poorer and instead of the financial help sent by the Jews of Yemen to the new Yemenite communities in the Holy Land during the Ottoman occupation, the Yemenite Jews in the Holy Land collected money and sent it to their brethren in Yemen. Understandably, many Jews tried hard to escape from Yemen and immigrate to the Holy Land, despite the prohibition of the imām. Thus, almost more than a third of the Yemenite Jews had settled in the Holy Land prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Thus, the Jewish community in Yemen experienced much turmoil during the years 1900–1951. In the beginning of the 20th century Yemen was severely afflicted by famine caused by three years of drought (1903–1905), and many Jews died or left in order to find food. The circumstances were particularly terrible in Sanʾa, which was besieged by the rebellious army of Yaḥyā, where more than half (according to one estimate almost 90%) lost their lives. This event, remembered by the Jews of Yemen as ḥawzat al-nafar (the siege during which a handful of wheat was sold for one real), triggered the internal immigration of Jews, a phenomenon strengthened in the time of Imām Yaḥyā because of the worsening economic conditions and the immigration to the Holy Land or to British Aden, where the Jews lived in improved conditions. In consequence of this turmoil the traditional social structure of Jewish communities in Yemen was weakened and the negative results could be felt in different aspects of life.

Another factor which shook the communal structure in San'a and in its vicinity was the scandalous controversy over the *Kabbalah. Influenced by the enlightenment movement of Jewish Europe (Haskalah), either by scholars visiting Yemen, such as Joseph Halévy (1869/70) or Eduard *Glaser (1882–1894), or by publications that reached Yemen, some relatively young Sanʾani Jews, headed by R. Yiḥye, established a kind of reform group, completely negating the Kabbalah or any mystical element in Judaism. This controversy resulted in rich literary productions (see below), but on the social level it was highly destructive, as the community of Sanʾa was splintered in 1910 into two hostile factions, avoiding intermarriage or eating the meat slaughtered by the other side. This controversy was the main social issue in the Sanʾani community up to its total immigration in 1949–1951. It was transferred to the Holy Land, where it still exists in the 21st century.

Social Position

The basic factor which determined the social status of the Yemenite Jews was the religious-political arrangement imposed on them by the Muslim regime since 629, the *dhimma, namely, the protection they got from the government in return for the *jizyah, the tax each male adult had to pay. This arrangement was more effective in the center than in the remote regions of the country, where Jews lived among the tribes and their relations were based on the tribal pre-Islamic social institute of jār. The protection bestowed by the sheikh and his men upon the Jew, as upon any other weak person within the tribal community, was based on the issue of honor and had nothing to do with Islam. The general trend in the social status of Jews among Muslims in Yemen was one of deterioration, since even the Zaydī regime eventually adopted all anti-Jewish restrictive and humiliating regulations established by the most extremist Sunnī religious scholars or rulers. Although on the declarative level Jews were not compelled to convert, the entire history of the Jews in Islamic Yemen was an unceasing struggle with the attempts of the government and Muslim society to turn them into Muslims. Indeed, conversion to Islam was a distinct phenomenon among the Jews of Yemen, even though it never stemmed from a real and deep conviction of the truth of Islam.

Basically, the Jew was considered by Yemeni Muslims as an inferior human being, devoid of any rights. Jews were not allowed to build more than two-story houses, carry arms, wear light-colored garments, ride mounts except donkeys (and even then only sidesaddle like a woman), or live among Muslims; also they were ordered to wear sidelocks so as to be recognized as Jews, speak humbly to Muslims, and walk only to the left of a Muslim. The Jew had to be very careful when speaking about Islam or Muslim institutions, as any sign of criticism or disparagement against them might end in capital punishment. In principle Muslim and Jewish communities did not interact; but in contrast to cities and towns, where Jews were completely secluded in neighborhoods, there was a more lenient approach in villages, where the style of life produced more diverse possibilities for social or other kind of encounters between Jews and Muslims. No wonder then that the cultural distance in all aspects, spiritual as well as material, between village Jews and Muslims was much less clear-cut and decisive than that between townfolk Jews and Muslims.

Economic Situation

By and large, Yemeni Jews were very poor. Only rarely do we hear about rich Jews in Yemen, when they could freely deal in international or nationwide trade, as in the 11th, 12th, and 18th centuries or during the second Ottoman occupation (1872–1918). The outcome of the ceaseless social and religious pressure on the Jews was their being the poorest component of the Yemeni population. It is true that almost all the citizens of Yemen were poor because of endless military struggles and the despotism of the rulers, as in the time of Imām Yaḥyā (1918–1948), but the Jews suffered also due to their social inferiority and their exclusion from the main source of livelihood – agriculture. Most Jews were artisans and could make quite a good living in days of peace and calm. However, this situation was rare and in the customary situation of political turmoil and disorder or during frequent years of natural afflictions like drought and locusts, there was no demand for the crafts of the Jews. The best proof of the poverty of the Jews of Yemen is the list of the jizyah payers, where most of them are recorded as adnā (lowest), and only a small number as a'lā (highest). There were only a few families who could boast of their wealth, made via international commerce through Aden or Ḥudaydah, such as the Ḥibshūsh family or Israel Ḥubayri, who made his fortune as the exclusive importer of arms from Germany and Belgium for Imām Yaḥyā's army. Famine was then the main reason for conversion to Islam, particularly because Jews were not helped by the government with food as were Muslims.

Messianic Expectations

The messianic activity of the Jews of Yemen was one of their most characteristic features even in pre-Islamic times, from the fall of Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās in 525/530 in the war against Ethiopian Christians to the rise of *Muhammad. The appearance of Muhammad stimulated messianic expectations among the Jews. Some scholars ascribed to 'Abdallah ibn Sabā, the Jewish convert to Islam at the start of the new religion, and similarly to other proselytes, an important role in conveying messianic notions to Islam, particularly the Shīʿī branch. On the other hand, the Zaydi sect, which was the foremost religious-political force in Yemen from the end of the 9th century, and which belonged to the Shīʿa, elevated the Imām to a meta-human level and did not adopt the idea of the Hidden Imām, existing in abstentia (ghaybah), whose advent was awaited by all (al-mahdī al-muntaẓar). Yet Muslim Yemen was not free of messianic tension throughout the generations, especially among the Sunni (Shāfiʿi) section of the population, most of it in the south; and often Jewish and Muslim messianic activities nurtured each other. For example, some Muslims followed Jewish messiahs. Moreover, the strong Jewish belief that on a certain day, Messiah, the Son of David, would be revealed, would redeem the Jews of Yemen, and bring them to their land seeped into Muslims in Yemen, and indeed made them fearful lest they be punished for their unfavorable treatment of Jews. By contrast, the authorities, whether Zaydī or Sunnī, were highly suspicious of the Jews' messianic faith, regarding any activity stemming from it as rebellion against the government requiring a swift response. Such reactions to the display of messianism in Yemen since the 12th century contributed to the continuous decline in the political and social status of the Jews of Yemen and the shrinking of the areas of their settlement.

Immigration and Settlement in Ereẓ Israel

Throughout their history, the Jews of Yemen had ties with the Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. From the Genizah documents and *Alḥarizi's Taḥkemoni we learn about the Yemenite community in Ereẓ Israel. Many years later, R. Obadiah of *Bertinoro reports on Jews of "the Land of Aden," namely Yemen, who immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, probably in the middle of the 15th century. Since then we have little evidence about individuals or solitary families from Yemen making aliyah. It was only in 1881 that the flow of Jews left Yemen for Ereẓ Israel, in consequence of three factors: (a) encouraging information about the living conditions there and the rumors about land distributed there to any Jew who came on aliyah; (b) improvement in sailing conditions from Yemen to Ereẓ Israel, then both provinces of the *Ottoman Empire; (c) the disappointment with the Turkish government in Yemen.

The first immigrants came to Jerusalem in August 1881 to establish a separate community there; in contrast to previous immigrants from Yemen they blended with the Sephardi community. Many others from Yemen joined this community, most of them from San'a and settled first in the Old City of Jerusalem and from 1885 in new neighborhoods built specially for them outside the walls, like Kefar ha-Shiloaḥ, Mishkenot, and Naḥalat Ẓevi. In 1908, Yemenite Jews in Jerusalem numbered more than 2,500, constituting an independent community after attaining a firman from the Ottoman government. Some of the immigrants settled in *Jaffa and there established a smaller community (350 in 1903). In 1908 village Jews of north Yemen started to immigrate and settle in young Hebrew moshavot like Reḥovot. Like them, thousands of immigrants who came from the south of Yemen (Shar'ab), following the mission of Shemu'el Yavne'eli, settled in most of the moshavot in Judea and the Galilee, numbering about half the total population and making their living from agriculture, either as hired laborers or independent farmers. At the end of World War i there were 4,500 Yemenite Jews in the country. The flow of emigrants from all over Yemen was renewed after World War i, this time more to the urban center of Jaffa-Tel Aviv and the new Hebrew towns, as small businessmen, laborers, and retailers. Between the two world wars more then 15,000 left Yemen illegally for Ereẓ Israel through Aden, where they obtained immigration certificates from the British Mandatory government. By the outbreak of World War ii there were about 28,000 Yemenite Jews in Ereẓ Israel.

In early 1920 the Zionist movement in Ereẓ Israel started to act in Aden and later in Yemen, in order to encourage and help Jews to emigrate. But owing to the hostile attitude of Imām Yaḥyā to Zionism nothing could be done. It was only in the mid-1940s, that the imām eased his policy, responding to the grave economic situation of his Jewish subjects. Emissaries of the Zionist institutions in Ereẓ Israel acted in Yemen on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel. Thousands wandered on the routes from all over Yemen to Aden, the only seaport in south Arabia from which Jews could emigrate. With the help of the British authorities in Aden, there was built, next to the city of Aden, Camp Ge'ullah in which the refugees from Yemen were received and well treated by Zionist emissaries and even got a modern Zionist education to facilitate their absorption in the Promised Land. This activity was the basis of the overall emigration of Yemenite Jewry following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the murder of Imām Yaḥyā, who was considered the ultimate protector of the Jews, in the same year. Aḥmad, the new imām, decided to let the Jews leave his country to Israel, on two conditions: they had to sell all their property to Muslims and to teach the Muslims their crafts. Both conditions were not properly fulfilled, but in any event more than 50,000 Jews left the country in 1949–51, through Aden, except for some several thousands who preferred to stay, clinging to their property or hoping to collect on loans owed by Muslims. A thin trickle of emigration continued until 1954 and even later in 1962, on the eve of the republican revolution. Since then, up to the early 1990s, an iron curtain had fallen on the Jews of Yemen. Some left, however, nominally to the U.S., but most to Israel. No more than 200 Jews still live in Yemen.

Since their first emigration to Jerusalem in 1881, Yemenite Jews dreamed of settling in their old-new homeland as farmers. That was the hope when they settled in Kefar ha-Shiloaḥ and that was what stimulated their leader R. Avraham Naddāf (1891–1920) to purchase land for agricultural settlement and to establish the Shivat Zion society designed for the same goal. Actually Yemenite Jews lived as farmers in Naḥalat Israel Rama not far from Jerusalem for about a year (1895/6). In addition to their agricultural settlements next to the Hebrew moshavot, they established prior to the founding of the State of Israel two independent moshavim – Elyashiv (1933) and Ge'ulim (1945). But the archives of the Hitaḥadut ha-Teimanim, the main Yemenite organization in Ereẓ Israel, inform us that the Zionist organizations did not respond positively to their initiatives to establish agricultural settlements. However, after the mass immigration of Yemenite Jews in 1949–51, the policy was to take them out of the transit camps (ma'barot) and settle them in abandoned Arab villages and later in new localities as farmers, in more than 50 places. Soon it became clear, however, that not all Yemenite Jews were fit or wanted to be farmers, and many of them left for the urban settlements, leaving only about 35 Yemenite moshavim. Since then, Yemenite immigrants and their descendants practice all kinds of professions marking their increased social and political acculturation in the State of Israel.

Literary and Scholarly Activities

It is impossible to present a complete picture of Jewish literature in Yemen, as a considerable part is still hidden in unpublished manuscripts. Available sources do not attest that there existed a Jewish literature in Yemen prior to the 10th century. However, it is probable that the writings of the Sages in Ereẓ Israel and Babylonia, namely the Talmud (Babylonian, not Palestinian) and the Midrashim arrived in Yemen and were preserved there in carefully copied manuscripts. Jewish Yemenite literature constitutes an integral part of Jewish literature in the Muslim-Arabic realm from *Spain to *Persia. In its first steps Jewish literature in Yemen echoes Jewish literature produced in the major Jewish spiritual centers: *Italy, *Iraq, Ereẓ Israel, Spain, North Africa, and Egypt. Thus its first work is probably a Judeo-Arabic translation made by Zechariah ben Sa'īd al-Yamanī of Josippon's History of the Jews during the Second Temple, a Hebrew work composed in Italy in 933, or the anonymous Maḥberet ha-Tijān, a compendium of the reading rules of the Bible as known from the Eastern tradition and *Saadiah. The third work is a Judeo-Arabic commentary of *Alfasi's compendium to the Talmud tractate Ḥullin, by an anonymous author, seemingly of the 11th century. A fourth work of the same time is the enlarged adaptation of the Ereẓ Israeli scholar Rav Nathan ha-Yeshivah's Commentary on the Mishnah. The first original work is the ethical-philosophical Bustān al-ʿUqūl, written again in Judeo-Arabic by Nethanel berav Fayyūmī around 1150. It is not, then, an accident that all the aforementioned works are in Judeo-Arabic, as since the 10th–15th centuries Yemen Jewry was culturally well immersed in Arab-Muslim culture, just like other Jewish communities in Spain, North Africa, and the East. But there is a highly significant difference, because for all the other communities the proximity to Arab-Muslim culture had been curtailed around 1250.The period from 1150 to 1500 was the most productive for Jewish literature in Yemen in various fields: (a) Poetry – Hebrew poetry in Yemen started in the second half of the 12th century, first by Sa'īd ben Marḥab, who was still influenced by ancient Ereẓ-Israeli piyyut, then by his contemporary Daniel berav Fayyūmī, probably Nethanel's brother, who was already influenced by the Spanish school of Hebrew poetry. They both wrote liturgical poems. A later poet who lived before the beginning of the 13th century was Abraham ben Ḥalfon, from whom we have remnants of his dīwān of both liturgical and secular poems. The latest poet in that period was David ben Yesha' ha-Levi (around 1500). (b) Biblical Commentary – this is the richest field of literary activity in that period in Yemen, of which we mention here only four works. The earliest is Nur al-ʿĀlam by Nethanel ben Yesha (1329) on the Pentateuch, but two other more important commentaries on the Pentateuch are Midrash ha-Ḥefeẓ by Zechariah ha-Rofeh (first half of the 15th century) and al-Wajīz al-Mughnī, still in manuscript, by David ben Yesha ha-Levi. A commentary on the early Prophets was compiled by Abraham ben Solomon (14th century), only partly published. (c) Midrashic Compilations – the most comprehensive of which is Midrash ha-Gadol by David ha-Adani. (d) Halakhah – most of the works are commentaries on *Maimonides'Mishneh Torah, like that by Zechariah ha-Rofeh. (e) Philosophy – in this category, too, most of the works are commentaries on Maimonides' works, especially Guide of the Perplexed. But there were many other works, characterized by their allegoric tendency regarding the aggadah of the Sages and even biblical figures and stories. This tendency was influenced on one side by the Maimonidean school in Spain and on the other by Ismā'īlī writings which flourished in Yemen. The most interesting work of this Yemeni school is Kitāb al-Ḥaqā'iq, compiled by the rabbis of Ẓā'dah, who were harshly criticized by the rabbis of San'a. Another kind of philosophical compositions, unique to Yemen, is masā'il, short discussions providing answers to philosophical questions, like that of Ḥoker bi-Shelomo (first half of the 15th century). (f) Lexicography – most of the compilations in this category were Hebrew-Arabic lexicons, aimed at enabling the understanding of the Mishnah and Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, such as al-Jāmi' by David ben Yesha ha-Levi. (g) Science – mainly astronomy, needed for establishing the Hebrew calendar, and lists of medicines, like kitāb al-wajīz by Zechariah ha-Rofeh. The most prolific writers who acted in almost each of the above-mentioned fields and more are Sa'adiah ben David ha-Adani, David ben Yesha ha-Levi, and Moses al-Balīdah (1475–1525). Most of the works in the period under discussion, except poetry and Midrash ha-Gadol, were in Judeo-Arabic.

The 16th century was a transitional period between two major schools of Jewish literature in Yemen: the medieval one focused on Midrash, halakhah, and philosophy, mostly in Judeo-Arabic, with a rationalistic orientation, while the other focused on poetry and Kabbalah, mostly in Hebrew and with strong mystical nuances. The most important character in that transitional time was Yiḥye (Zechariah) al-Ẓāhirī, mainly known for his Sefer ha-Musar, of the maqāma genre, strongly influenced by Al-Ḥarīzī's Taḥkemoni and Immanuel's Maḥbarot, but also for his poems and Ẓedah la-Derekh, the commentary on the Pentateuch, both with rich kabbalistic motifs borrowed from the new school of *Safed which he visited himself. The new school of Jewish Yemeni literature started with the poet *Joseph ben Israel (d. in the 1620s), the founder of classic Jewish poetry in Yemen, characterized by the growing importance of its Arabic element and its openness to the Yemeni Muslim poetry in terms of structure (muwashshaḥ) and literary motifs. However, the most prominent figure in Jewish Yemenite poetry, who overshadowed his predecessors as well as his successors, is Shalom Shabazī (1619– after 1680), a younger relative of Joseph ben Israel, both of the Sharabi Mahsta family in southern Yemen. Shabazī was a prolific and gifted poet from whom we have about 850 poems. But it should be stressed that Arabic completely disappeared from the new school, except in poetry and a very few folklore-type works or those aimed for less-educated people.

The closer relations between Yemenite Jewry and Jewish spiritual centers and the reinforced encounter with their different traditions and customs resulted first in a comprehensive attempt to adjust Yemenite traditions with these foreign but prestigious traditions. The major scholar who dedicated almost all of his writings to that end was Isaac Wannah (first half of the 17th century), a prolific writer, mainly known for the prayerbook he compiled (Pa'amon Zahav) and the commentary he attached to it (ḥiddushin), being a dedicated propagandist of the Kabbalah. However, the tendency of neglecting the genuine ancient Yemenite traditions provoked strong resistance among Sanʾani scholars in the 18th century, who tried to find the golden mean. This was worked out primarily by Yiḥye Ṣaliḥ (d. 1805), the president of the Sanʾani Jewish court, who was the unchallenged spiritual and communal leader of Yemenite Jewry for more than 40 years. To support his work he searched ancient manuscripts and documented oral and written traditions on all aspects of religious and communal life. He was accepted in Yemen as the ultimate religious authority and his numerous works are so considered until today.

The 19th century presents in general a very pale image of Jewish Yemenite literature, since most of the production by that time was chiefly additions to and commentaries on Ṣāliḥ's works. No wonder, then, that under the alleged impact of Jewish European scholars, some young Sanʾani scholars, headed by Yiḥye Qāfiḥ (*Kafaḥ) set out to improve the spiritual level of Yemenite Jewry by a complete rejection of kabbalistic literature and customs, including the Zohar, and a return to the medieval school, based on the Talmud and the Judeo-Arabic philosophical literature of Saadiah Gaon and Maimonides. The trend of this new school, very active in the first half of the 20th century and severely criticized by the "orthodox" majority of the Jewish community, yielded a rich literary production, the culmination of which was that of Rabbi Joseph *Kafaḥ, the grandson of Yiḥye Qāfiḥ, already in Israel (he left Yemen in 1943, d. 2000), who was awarded the Israel Prize (1969). In the framework of this production one field should be specifically noted, that of chronological works, which had already been started in the 18th century by Sā'īd Ṣa'dī and Yiḥye Ṣāliḥ. The tendency of searching Yemenite tradition and history continued in Ereẓ Israel, first by Yemen-born scholars like Abraham Naddāf and later by younger scholars, natives of the new land. Close to this kind of cultural activity one may mention the Yemenite poets and prose writers, whose prominent figure is Mordechai *Tabib, who were spokesmen of their communal brethren and described the difficulties of their cultural and economic acculturation.

Culture and Art

Yemenite Jewry had developed a very particular and rich tradition in all aspects of material culture: music, dance, architecture, clothing, embroidery, gold and silver crafts, and so forth. Although we may find not a few common characteristics with the neighboring material culture of the immediate close circle of the Muslims in Yemen or of farther circles like that of India or East Africa, it is convincingly clear that material Jewish culture was different from the Muslim one. This is much more unequivocal regarding what is connected to religious life, such as the music of the synagogue or the shaping of ceremonial objects like Ḥanukkah candles or Torah cases. All that unfamiliar culture, brought to the Holy Land when Yemenite Jews first came en masse in 1881, attracted scholars and artists, like A.Z. Idelsohn and Boris Shatz in Jerusalem. The former established there around 1910 the Shirat Israel (Poetry of Israel) institute, designed to train young Yemenites in their musical traditions, while the latter established in 1906 an association named Bezalel with the goal of promoting Yemenite gold and silver craft, embroidery, and other handicrafts. To that end he set up workshops in Jerusalem and in the moshavah of Ben-Shemen, where Yemenite artists worked and trained for industrial production. In general, Yemenite material culture was sympathetically welcomed in Ereẓ Israel, and the latter's newly shaped culture derived some of its representative elements in music, dance, and artistic works from Yemenite tradition.

The Yemenite community had scores of artists of all kinds, some of them expressing Yemenite tradition, others more rooted in general Israeli culture. The most active field is music. Since the first woman singer, Brachah *Zefirah, a native of Jerusalem, who had a magnificent career in Ereẓ Israel as in Europe, there were, and still are, scores of Yemenite singers, mostly women, who stand in the forefront of light music in Israel. The most famous name is that of Shoshana *Damari (d. 2006), who left Yemen in 1930 when she was a year old and received the Israel Prize in 1988. A much more diversified artist was Sarah *Levi-Tannai, born in Jerusalem in 1911, poetess, composer, and choreographer, and the founder of *Inbal, the most important Yemenite artistic institution in Israel (1949); for many years, this dance theater was the best artistic representative of the young State of Israel in the U.S. and Europe, performing scores of musicals about the folklore of Yemenite Jews. While Yemenite singers in Israel could derive their tradition from the folklore of their families in Yemen, Yemenite painters could not, as painting or any kind of plastic art had not existed in Yemen, excluding a limited engagement with manuscript illumination. This explains why this field of art came relatively later than others to Yemenites in Israel. Two names out of fewer than 20 may be mentioned here: Avshalom Ukkashi and Itamar Siyani, who hold an honored place among Israeli painters. Of all fields of art, only one is still vital and flourishing in its original form after two thousand years: singing. This widely requested cultural product is performed not only by Yemen-born singers like Aharon Amram, but by scores of Israeli-born singers, of the second and even the third generation of people who came from Yemen. Admittedly, this cultural element, along with the traditional Yemenite performance of the prayer in the communal synagogue (and Yemenite dishes as well), symbolizes the intense wish of many of the Yemenites not to be over-acculturated in Israel and completely lose their unique cultural emblems.

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]

Music Tradition

Today as in the past the Arabs say that the best and the most genuine music comes from Yemen. Unfortunately very few examples of Yemenite Arab music have been studied. The few melodies published in the Western World are not sufficient to draw any conclusions about Yemenite music, and about the possible similarities and dissimilarities between Arab and Jewish music in Yemen. Meanwhile Yemenite Jewish music (studied through the Yemenite Jews in Palestine and Israel, never in Yemen itself) can only be compared with Jewish music in other Middle Eastern countries. Although there are many basic similarities of intent, content, and application, the musical differences are so great that they place Yemenite Jewish music outside the sphere of the musical culture of the Middle East as known today. Some of the differences are the following:

(1) Biblical cantillation does not conform to the cantillation of other Middle Eastern Jews who follow primarily the so-called Babylonian (Baghdadi) tradition.

(2) Prayer song is almost entirely in strict rhythm, and rudimentary harmony and polyphony, in contradistinction to the free rhythm and heterophony found in other Oriental communities.

(3) Folk song is based on the unusually rigid segregation of men and women resulting in different language, content, melodies, form, and style, as if men and women were living in totally different worlds – a phenomenon not observed in any other Jewish community.

(4) There are no musical instruments and therefore no instrumental (art) music, so much beloved elsewhere in the Middle East.

(5) Dance is limited to ceremonial functions such as weddings, men and women being separated to such an extent that they developed different styles.

masoretic cantillation

The cantillation is wordbound (logogenic) without any noticeable melisma. The Hebrew text follows the masoretic accents, while the Targum uses a melodic phrase which is shortened or lengthened according to the number of syllables in the sentence. The range of the accents is small, preferably within a third, but fourths and fifths also occur (sof pasuk). The movement is stepwise with an occasional third. No pentatonic is discernible. The Targum employs only three successive notes in a parlando-melody. The mode resembles the *maqām bayat in outline (D-/E-F-G-A-/B-C-D), rhythm follows the word-rhythm, the form follows the structure of each individual sentence with clauses and half-clauses, and the voice practice is nasal, sometimes throaty and guttural. The melodic images are so distinctive that once heard they are never forgotten. Cantillation has exerted its powerful influence on the prayer tunes and semireligious songs of Yemenite men. Among the Jews of the world the Yemenites are the only ones to follow the mishnaic precept to read the Targum publicly in the synagogue, a custom long ago abandoned by the others, since Aramaic, once the vernacular of Israel, is no longer in use except by Kurdish Jews (but even they no longer recite the Targum publicly in the synagogue, although they do employ it at home for study).

prayer song

Communal singing is in fortissimo and in strict rhythmical unison – nobody rushes forward or stays behind. There is, however, no melodic unison but instead chanting in parallel fourths and fifths, often superimposed in organum. This type of singing is totally unknown to other Middle Eastern Jews. Whether rhythmical rudimentary harmony and polyphony are indigenous to Yemen, or a remnant of Temple service in Israel, or an African influence is open to investigation. Since there are other isolated regions in the Middle East showing similar features (Turkmen, Anatolian, Samaritan), it is not impossible that the music of the Yemenites represents an old stratum which was later overlaid by the all-pervasive Middle Eastern music in Islamic times. Extended solo singing within the service is not as frequent as in other communities. The Yemenites prefer to sing in rhythmic unison or divided into two choruses responding to each other. There are, however, special occasions when solo becomes important. One of these occasions is a prayer for rain in case of severe drought. A short motive is repeated over and over again, the tense emotion driving the pitch higher and higher with every repetition, until the difference between the initial and final pitch level amounts to a major third. All Yemenite prayer songs can be classified into 15 types of melody, expressing context, mood, and associations with holidays. All 15 melody types can be broken down into motivic materials and modes. Both are used in a totally Oriental way but do not seem identical with any known Arabic musical system. The motives may be used in the improvisational Arab manner, and the modes may be likened to certain Arabic maqāmāt, but the intervals are different.

semireligious song

Semireligious song is performed outside the synagogue and in the home on holidays and festivities. It is the exclusive property of the men. The texts are always religious and in Hebrew and Aramaic. There are a variety of forms with and without meter: Hallelot, Zafāt, Hidduyot, Neshid, Shirot, and Shabbat Shirot. Except for Hallelot all songs require alternating choruses of at least four men. The first verse is sung by the principal singer, who introduces the melody and is followed by two alternating choruses. After having repeated the melody through several verses of the song, the principal singer introduces another melody; the more changes of melody the more prestige to the singer who introduces the melody and is followed by two alternate choruses. Many of the songs are influenced by the synagogue and often do not employ meter. Others are metrical and are used for dancing. The meters can be complicated and alternating (7/8 or 2/4:3/4). The listeners do not join in the singing but accompany the performers with handclapping. Women are excluded from participation except for Zafāt, in which they may play a simple percussion instrument (drum or metal platter) and interpolate their high vocal trills or ululations. The men often dance while singing religious texts.

secular song

Just as the semireligious song is the exclusive domain of the men, so is secular song the sole domain of the women. Women never attend synagogue and are totally unfamiliar with the men's spiritual world. They do not know Hebrew and all their songs are in Arabic. Barred from the men's spiritual world, the women create their own and express it through narratives, recitation of historical events, songs of love and courtship, marriage, birth, and death, the joys and sorrows of domestic life. They sing while working at home at a trade like embroidery or silversmithing, and while performing such daily chores as grinding flour or baking bread. Women's songs do not bear any melodic similarity to men's songs since even at such an important event as a wedding, celebrations take place in separate quarters. On the whole, women's songs are a great deal simpler than men's songs. The melodies consist of one, two, or three parts and are sung in unison or heterophony. The meter is simple (binary or ternary) and almost all songs can also be danced. The modes employed are maqāmāt-like but do not belong to any known system. Augmented seconds are absent and if present are indicative of a foreign intrusion.

musical instruments

No musical instruments were permitted in Yemen under the fanatical Shiʿa sect, except for the imam's military band. Musical instruments and phonographs were banned and the cinema and foreign broadcasts frowned upon. However, music was played in secret even though if discovered the perpetrators were severely punished. It is no wonder that Yemenite Jews, one of the lowest castes in Yemen, did not play musical instruments except for empty tin cans, copper trays (ṣaḥn), and on occasion drums. All instrumental accompaniment in contemporary Yemenite song was acquired in Israel as part of the general acculturation.

dance

Men and women never dance together and rarely see each other dance. The men often accompany their semireligious song by dancing, which is graceful, light, and includes leaps in the air and movements reminiscent of Indian dance. The women hardly move at all while dancing; their movements are slow, dignified, and restrained. The excitement, exuberance, and increasing speed of the movements observed in the male dancing style is totally lacking.

compatibility with western music

It is worthy of note that many elements of Yemenite Jewish music were absorbed by Israel folk song and left its imprint on it. One explanation may lie in the greater compatibility of European and Yemenite music, which expresses itself in (rudimentary) harmony and polyphony, the preference for strict rhythm and meter, the almost total absence of melisma, and a somewhat diatonic tendency, in contradistinction to other Middle Eastern musical forms which are often heterophonic, free in rhythm and meter (or so complicated that they sound to the untutored as free meter), highly melismatic, and microtonal. While Middle Eastern song is totally incompatible with European musical structure, Yemenite song is not. This is why it should not be classified as "Middle Eastern" music, but must be considered apart. Whether it belongs to an ancient Middle Eastern stratum which was obliterated with the coming of Islam and only survived in certain isolated areas, or is a special development of Yemen or a remnant of Temple music preserved by the Yemenite Jews must still be determined.

[Johanna L. Spector]

bibliography:

R. Ahroni, Yemenite Jewry (1986); idem, The Jews of the British Crown Colony of Aden (1994); idem, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 195198: Carpet without Magic (2001); E. Brauer, Ethnologie der jemenitischen Juden (1934); B. Eraqi-Klorman, The Jews of Yemen in the Nineteenth Century (1993); L. Gilad, Ginger and salt: Yemeni Jewish Women in an Israeli Town (1989); S.D. Goitein, From the Land of Sheba: Tales of the Jews of Yemen (1947); idem, Ha-Temanim (1983); R. Gruber, Israel Without Tears (1950); H. Hazaz, Mori Sa'id (1956); H.Z. Hirschberg, Yisrael ba-Arav (1946); I. Hollander, Jews and Muslims in Lower Yemen: A Study in Protection and Restraint 19181949 (2005); A.Z. Idelsohn, Melodien, 1 (1914); E. Isaac and Y. Tobi, Judaeo-Yemenite Studies (1999); P.S. van Koningsveld, J. Sadan and Q. al-Samarrai, Yemenite Authorities and Jewish Messianism (1990); Y. Tz. Langermann, Yemenite Midrash: Philosophical Commentaries on the Torah: An Anthology of Writings from the Golden Age of Judaism in the Yemen (1996); H.S. Lewis, After the Eagles Landed: The Yemenites of Israel (1989); Alessandro de Maigret, Arabia Felix (2002); R. Meissner, Die suedjemenitische Juden (1999); E. Muchawski-Schnapper, The Jews of Yemen (1994); idem, The Yemenites: Two Thousand Years of Jewish Culture (2000); G.D. Newby, A History of the Jews of Arabia (1988); Y. Nini, The Jews of Yemen 18001914 (1991); T. Parfitt, The Road to Redemption: The Jews of Yemen 19001950 (1996); Y. Qāfiḥ, Halikhot Teiman (1961); idem, Ketavim (1989); A. Qoraḥ, Sa'arat Teiman (1954); C. Rathjens, Jewish Domestic Architecture in Sana, Yemen (1957); Ch. J. Robin, in: Arabia 1 (2003), 97–172; idem, in: jsai 30 (2005), 1–51; Ḥ. Sa'dun, Yemen (2002); H. Tawil, Operation Esther: Opening the Door for the Last Jews of Yemen (1998); Y. Tobi, Yehudei Teiman ba-Me'ah Ha-Yod-Tet (1976); idem, Iyyunim bi-Megillat Teiman (1986); idem, Tema, vols. 1–8 (1990–2001); idem, Avraham ben ḤalfonShirim (1991); idem, The Jews of Yemen (1999); idem, Yehudi be-Sherut Ha-Imam, Ish ha-Asakim ve-Soḥer ha-Neshek Israel Subayri (2002); Y. Tobi and Sh. Seri, Yalkut Teiman (20032); M. Weingarten, Changing Health and Changing Culture: the Yemenite Jews in Israel (1992); I. Yesha'yahu and Y. Tobi, Yahadut Teiman: Pirkei Meḥkar ve-Iyyun (1976); M. Zadoc, Yehudei TeimanToledoteihem ve-Orḥot Ḥayyeihem (1967); I. Ben-Zvi, The Exiled and the Redeemed (1957), index; A. Grohmann, Suedarabien als Wirtschaftsgebiet, 1–2 (1922–33); C. Rathjens and H. v. Wissmann, Landeskundliche Ergebnisse (1934), 133–6 and fig. 64; B.M. Lewin, in: Ginzei Kedem, 3 (1925), 14–23; S.D. Goitein, in: Sinai, 33 (1953), 225–37; idem, in: Tarbiz, 31 (1961/62), 357–70; idem, Studies in Islamic History and Institutions (1966), 329–50; H.Z. Hirschberg, Afrikah, index s.v.Maḍman; D.Z. Baneth, in: Tarbiz, 20 (1950), 205–14; Y. Kafaḥ, in: Sefunot, 1 (1956), 185–242; 2 (1958), 246–86; 5 (1961), 399–413; Y. Ratzhabi, ibid., 2 (1958), 287–302; 5 (1961), 339–95; idem, in: ks, 28 (1952), 255–78, 394–409; idem, in: Zion, 20 (1955), 32–46; idem, in: Yeda Am, 5 (1958), 85–89; N. Robinson, in: J. Freid (ed.), Jews in the Modern World, 1 (1962), 50–90. musical tradition: Idelsohn, Melodien, 1 (1914); J.L. Spector, in: R. Patai et al. (eds.), Studies in Biblical and Jewish Folklore (1960), 255–89; R.B. Serjeant, Prose and Poetry in Hadramaut (1951); W. Leslau, Music of South Arabia (1951; recordings); N.D. Katz, Culturally Determined Dichotomy in the Musical Practice of the Yemenite Jews, with Special Reference to Women's Songs (unpublished Master's Thesis in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Dept. of Ethnomusicology, 1969); E. Gerson-Kiwi, in: Yuval, 1 (1968), 177–81; idem, in: G. Reese and R. Brandel (eds.), The Commonwealth of Music in Honour of Curt Sachs (1965), 92–103; S. Hofman, in: Taẓlil, 9 (1969), 150–1; Y. Ratzhabi, ibid., 8 (1968), 15–22; A. Shiloah, ibid., 9 (1969), 144–9; A. Herzog (ed.), Renanot, fasc. 5–6 (1959), no. 1; fasc. 7 (1960), no. 3; fasc. 9 (1961), no. 1; fasc. 10 (1962), no. 1; idem, in: M. Smoira (ed.), Yesodot Mizraḥiyyim u-Ma'araviyyim ba-Musikah be-Yisrael (1968), 27–36.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

"Yemen." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S. YEMEN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the December 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Yemen

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 527,970 sq. km. (203,796 sq. mi.); about the size of California and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Sanaa. Other cities—Aden, Taiz, Hodeida, and al-Mukalla.

Terrain: Mountainous interior bordered by desert with a flat and sandy coastal plain.

Climate: Temperate in the mountainous regions in the western part of the country, extremely hot with minimal rainfall in the remainder of the country. Humid on the coast.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Yemeni(s).

Population: (July 2007 est.) 22,230,531.

Annual growth rate: 3%.

Ethnic groups: Predominantly Arab.

Religions: Islam, small numbers of Jews, Christians, and Hindus.

Languages: Arabic.

Education: Attendance (2004 est.)—80% for boys at the primary level and 50% for girls. Attendance was 55% for boys at the secondary level and 22% for girls. Literacy (2004 est.)—50% overall, including 70% of males, 30% of females.

Health: Infant mortality rate—76/ 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—62 years.

Work force: (by sector) Agriculture—53%; public services—17%; manufacturing—4%; construction—7%; percentage of total population—25%.

Government

Type: Republic; unification (of former south and north Yemen) May 22, 1990.

Constitution: Adopted May 21, 1990 and ratified May 1991.

Government branches: Executive—president, and prime minister with cabinet. Legislative—bicameral legislature with 111-seat Shura Council and 301-seat House of Representatives. Judicial—the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Political subdivisions: 19 governorates subdivided into districts.

Political parties: General People's Congress (GPC), Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islah), Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP).

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

National holidays: May 22 (Unity Day).

Economy

GDP: (2006 est.) $20.4 billion.

Per capital GDP: (2006 est.) $723.

Natural resources: Oil, natural gas, fish and seafood, rock salt, minor deposits of coal and copper.

Agriculture: (est. 12.5% of GDP) Products—qat (a shrub containing a natural amphetamine), coffee, cotton, fruits, vegetables, cereals, livestock and poultry. Arable land (est.)—3%.

Industry: (est. 42.8% of GDP) Types—petroleum refining, mining, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

Services: (est. 43.7% of GDP).

Trade: Exports (2006)—$7.2 billion: crude petroleum, refined oil products, seafood, fruits, vegetables, hides, tobacco products. Major markets—China, Thailand, India, South Korea, United States, Switzerland. Imports (2006)—$5 billion: petroleum products, cereals, feed grains, foodstuffs, machinery, transportation equipment, iron, sugar, honey. Major suppliers—United Arab Emirates, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Kuwait.

Exchange rate: (2006) Market rate 199 rials per U.S. $1. The Yemeni rial (YR) floats freely based on an average of foreign currencies. Since the floating of the YR, the market usually reflects the official rate of exchange.

PEOPLE

Unlike other people of the Arabian Peninsula who have historically been nomads or semi-nomads, Yemenis are almost entirely sedentary and live in small villages and towns scattered throughout the highlands and coastal regions.

Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: the Shia Zaidi sect, found in the north and northwest, and the Shafa'i school of Sunni Muslims, found in the south and southeast. Yemenis are mainly of Semitic origin, although African strains are present among inhabitants of the coastal region. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood in major cities. In the Mahra area (the extreme east), several non-Arabic languages are spoken. When the former states of north and south Yemen were established, most resident minority groups departed.

HISTORY

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, the former north Yemen came under control of Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. (Imam is a religious term. The Shi’ites apply it to the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, his sons Hassan and Hussein, and subsequent lineal descendants, whom they consider to have been divinely ordained unclassified successors of the prophet.)

Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of north Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted control over south Yemen.

Former North Yemen

Ottoman control was largely confined to cities with the Imam's suzerainty over tribal areas formally recognized. Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya strengthened his control over north Yemen. Yemen became a member of the Arab league in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947.

Imam Yahya died during an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1948 and was succeeded by his son Ahmad, who ruled until his death in September 1962. Imam Ahmad's reign was marked by growing repression, renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south, and growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.

Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad's son, Badr, was deposed by revolutionary forces, which took control of Sanaa and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Imamate. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn. By 1968, following a final royalist siege of Sanaa, most of the opposing leaders reconciled; Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.

Former South Yemen

British influence increased in the south and eastern portion of Yemen after the British captured the port of Aden in 1839. It was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when Aden was made a crown colony with the remaining land designated as east Aden and west Aden protectorates. By 1965, most of the tribal states within the protectorates and the Aden colony proper had joined to form the British-sponsored federation of south Arabia. In 1965, two rival nationalist groups—the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) and the National Liberation Front (NLF)—turned to terrorism in their struggle to control the country. In 1967, in the face of uncontrollable violence, British troops began withdrawing, federation rule collapsed, and NLF elements took control after eliminating their FLOSY rivals. South Arabia, including Aden, was declared independent on November 30, 1967, and was renamed the People's Republic of South Yemen. In June 1969, a radical wing of the Marxist NLF gained power and changed the country's name on December 1, 1970, to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and radical Palestinians.

Republic of Yemen

In 1972, the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union. However, little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained. In 1979, simmering tensions led to fighting, which was only resolved after Arab League mediation. The northern and southern heads of state reaffirmed the goal of unity during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979. However, that same year the PDRY began sponsoring an insurgency against the YAR. In April 1980, PDRY President Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less interventionist stance toward both the YAR and neighboring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle began in Aden between Ali Nasir Muhammad and the returned Abdul Fattah Ismail and their supporters. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir's ouster, and Ismail's death. Some 60,000 persons, including Ali Nasir and his supporters, fled to the YAR. In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.

In November 1989, the leaders of the YAR (Ali Abdullah Saleh) and the PDRY (Ali Salim Al-Bidh) agreed on a draft unity constitution originally drawn up in 1981. The Republic of Yemen (ROY) was declared on May 22, 1990. Ali Abdullah Saleh became President, and Ali Salim Al-Bidh became Vice President.

A 30-month transitional period for completing the unification of the two political and economic systems was set. A presidential council was jointly elected by the 26-member YAR advisory council and the 17-member PDRY presidium. The presidential council appointed a Prime Minister, who formed a Cabinet. There was also a 301-seat provisional unified Parliament, consisting of 159 members from the north, 111 members from the south, and 31 independent members appointed by the chairman of the council.

A unity constitution was agreed upon in May 1990 and ratified by the populace in May 1991. It affirmed Yemen's commitment to free elections, a multiparty political system, the right to own private property, equality under the law, and respect of basic human rights. Parliamentary elections were held on April 27, 1993. International groups assisted in the organization of the elections and observed actual balloting. The resulting Parliament included 143 GPC, 69 YSP, 63 Islah (Yemeni Grouping for Reform, a party composed of various tribal and religious groups). The head of Islah, Paramount Hashid Sheik Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, was elected speaker of Parliament, and continues in that capacity.

Islah was invited into the ruling coalition, and the presidential council was altered to include one Islah member. Conflicts within the coalition resulted in the self-imposed exile of Vice President Ali Salim Al-Bidh to Aden beginning in August 1993 and a deterioration in the general security situation as political rivals settled scores and tribal elements took advantage of the unsettled situation.

Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas (former southern Prime Minister) continued to serve as the ROY Prime Minister, but his government was ineffective due to political infighting. Continuous negotiations between northern and southern leaders resulted in the signing of the document of pledge and accord in Amman, Jordan on February 20, 1994. Despite this, clashes intensified until civil war broke out in early May 1994.

Almost all of the actual fighting in the 1994 civil war occurred in the southern part of the country despite air and missile attacks against cities and major installations in the north. Southerners sought support from neighboring states and received billions of dollars of equipment and financial assistance. The United States strongly supported Yemeni unity, but repeatedly called for a cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table. Various attempts, including by a UN special envoy, were unsuccessful in bringing about a cease-fire.

Southern leaders declared secession and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) on May 21, 1994, but the DRY was not recognized by the international community. Ali Nasir Muhammad supporters greatly assisted military operations against the secessionists and Aden was captured on July 7, 1994. Other resistance quickly collapsed and thousands of southern leaders and military went into exile.

Early during the fighting, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced a general amnesty, which applied to everyone except a list of 16 persons. Most southerners returned to Yemen after a short exile. An armed opposition was announced from Saudi Arabia, but no significant incidents within Yemen materialized. The government prepared legal cases against four southern leaders—Ali Salim Al-Bidh, Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas, Abd Al-Rahman Ali Al-Jifri, and Salih Munassar Al-Siyali—for misappropriation of official funds. Abd Al-Rahman Ali Al-Rahman was allowed to return to Yemen in 2006. Others on the list of 16 were told informally they could return to take advantage of the amnesty, but most remained outside Yemen.

Although many of Ali Nasir Muhammad's followers were appointed to senior governmental positions (including Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Governor of Aden), Ali Nasir Muhammad himself remained abroad in Syria.

In the aftermath of the civil war, YSP leaders within Yemen reorganized the party and elected a new politburo in July 1994. However, the party remained disheartened and without its former influence.

In 1994, amendments to the unity constitution eliminated the presidential council. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected by Parliament on October 1, 1994 to a 5-year term. In April 1997, Yemen held its second multiparty parliamentary elections. The country held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a 5-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections.

Constitutional amendments adopted in the summer of 2000 extended the presidential term by 2 years, creating a seven-year presidential term. The constitution provides that henceforth the President will be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature.

The amendments also extended the parliamentary term of office to a 6-year term, with the next elections occurring in 2009. On February 20, 2001, a new constitutional amendment created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote). In April 2003, the third multiparty parliamentary elections were held with improvements in voter registration for both men and women and in a generally free and fair atmosphere. Two women were elected. In September 2006, citizens re-elected President Saleh to a second term in a generally open and competitive election, although there were multiple problems with the voting process and use of state resources on behalf of the ruling party.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Yemen is a republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected president, an elected 301-seat House of Representatives, and an appointed 111-member Shura Council share power. The president is head of state, and the prime minister is head of government. The constitution provides that the president be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates endorsed by Parliament; the prime minister is appointed by the president. The presidential term of office is 7 years, and the parliamentary term of elected office is 6 years. Suffrage is universal over 18.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was re-elected to a second term in 2006; the next presidential elections are scheduled for 2013. In the April 2003 parliamentary elections, the General People's Congress (GPC) maintained an absolute majority. International observers judged elections to be generally free and fair, and there was a marked decrease from previous years in election-related violence; however, there were some problems with underage voting, confiscation of ballot boxes, voter intimidation, and election-related violence. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2009. In the September 2006 local council elections, the GPC won a majority of seats on local and provincial councils. International observers judged the elections to be generally open and competitive, with another marked decrease in election-related violence.

The constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Ali Abdallah SALIH

Vice Pres.: Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI, Maj. Gen.

Prime Min.: Ali Muhammad MUJAW WAR

Dep. Prime Min.: Rashad Muhammad al-ALIMI

Dep. Prime Min.for Economic Affairs: Abd al-Karim Ismail al-ARHABI

Min. of Agriculture & Irrigation: Mansur Ahmad al-HAWSHABI

Min. of Cabinet Affairs: Salim al-AYDARUS

Min. of Civil Service & Social Security: Hamud Khalid Naji al-SUFI

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Kamal Husayn al-JABRI

Min. of Construction, Housing, & Urban Planning: Abdallah Husayn al-DAFA

Min. of Culture: Muhammad Abu Bakr al-MAFLAHI

Min. of Defense: Muhammad Nasir Ahmad ALI, Brig. Gen.

Min. of Education: Abd al-Salman Muhammad Hizam al-JAWFI

Min. of Electricity: Mustafa Yahya BAHRAN

Min. of Expatriate Affairs: Salih Hasan SUMAI

Min. of Finance: Numan Salih al-SUHAYBI

Min. of Fisheries: Mahmud Ibrahim SAGHIRI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Abu Bakr Abdallah al-QIRBI

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Salih Ali BA SURA

Min. of Human Rights: Huda Abd al-Latif al-BAN

Min. of Industry & Trade: Yahya Yahya al-MUTAWAKIL

Min. of Information: Hasan Ahmad al-LAWZI

Min. of Interior: Rashad Muhammad al-ALIMI

Min. of Justice: Ghazi Shaif al-AGHBARI

Min. of Legal Affairs: Rashad Ahmad al-RASAS

Min. of Local Admin.: Abd al-Qadir Ali HILAL

Min. of Oil & Minerals: Khalid Mahfuz BAHAH

Min. of Planning & Intl. Cooperation: Abd al-Karim Ismail al-ARHABI

Min. of Public Health & Population: Abd al-Karim RASI

Min. of Public Works & Roads: Umar Abdallah al-KURSHAMI

Min. of Religious Endowment & Islamic Affairs: Hamud Abd al-Hamid al-HITAR

Min. of Social & Labor Affairs: Amat al-Razaq Ali HAMAD

Min. of Supply & Trade: Abd al-Aziz al-KUMAYM

Min. of Technical Education & Vocational Training: Ibrahim Umar HAJRI

Min. of Tourism: Nabil Hasan al-FAQIH

Min. of Transport: Khalid Ibrahim al-WAZIR

Min. of Water & Environment: Abd al-Rahman Fadhl al-IRIYANI

Min. of Youth & Sports: Mahmud Muhammad UBAD

Min. of State & Sec. Gen. of the Presidency: Abdallah al-BASHIRI, Maj. Gen.

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Qasim Ahmad al-AJAM

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Muhammad Ali al-YASIR

Min. of State & Mayor of Sanaa: Yahya Muhammad al-SHUAYBI

Min. of State for Parliamentary & Shura Council Affairs: Adnan Umar al-JIFRI

Governor, Central Bank: Ahmad Abd al-Rahman al-SAMAWI

Ambassador to the US: Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Abdallah Muhammad al-SAIDI

The Republic of Yemen maintains an Embassy in the United States at 2319 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-965-4760).

ECONOMY

At unification, both the YAR and the PDRY were struggling, underdeveloped economies. In the north, disruptions of civil war (1962-70) and frequent periods of drought had dealt severe blows to a previously prosperous agricultural sector. Coffee production, formerly the north's main export and principal form of foreign exchange, declined as the cultivation of qat increased. Low domestic industrial output and a lack of raw materials made the YAR dependent on a wide variety of imports.

Remittances from Yemenis working abroad and foreign aid paid for perennial trade deficits. Substantial Yemeni communities exist in many countries of the world, including Yemen's immediate neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, India, East Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union and China provided large-scale assistance to the YAR. This aid included funding of substantial construction projects, scholarships, and considerable military assistance.

In the south, pre-independence economic activity was overwhelmingly concentrated in the port city of Aden. The seaborne transit trade, which the port relied upon, collapsed with the closure of the Suez Canal and Britain's withdrawal from Aden in 1967. Only extensive Soviet aid, remittances from south Yemenis working abroad, and revenues from the Aden refinery (built in the 1950s) kept the PDRY's centrally planned Marxist economy afloat. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a cessation of Soviet aid, the south's economy basically collapsed. Since unification, the government has worked to integrate two relatively disparate economic systems. However, severe shocks, including the return in 1990 of approximately 850,000 Yemenis from the Gulf states, a subsequent major reduction of aid flows, and internal political disputes culminating in the 1994 civil war hampered economic growth.

Since the conclusion of the war, the government has entered into agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to institute an extremely successful structural adjustment program. Phase one of the IMF program included major financial and monetary reforms, including floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit, and cutting subsidies. Phase two will address structural issues such as civil service reform. The World Bank also is present in Yemen, with 19 active projects in 2005, including projects in the areas of public sector governance, water, and education. Since 1998, the government of Yemen has sought to implement World Bank economic and fiscal recommendations. In subsequent years, Yemen has lowered its debt burden through Paris Club agreements and restructuring U.S. foreign debt. In 2004, government reserves reached $4.7 billion.

Current U.S. commercial assistance is focused on aiding the business sector in supporting U.S.-Yemen bilateral trade relations, encouraging American business interests in country, and diversifying Yemen's economy toward non-petroleum dependent sectors.

Following a minor discovery in the south in 1982, an American company found an oil basin near Marib in 1984. A total of 170,000 barrels per day were produced there in 1995. A small oil refinery began operations near Marib in 1986. A Soviet discovery in the southern governorate of Shabwa proved only marginally successful even when taken over by a different group. A Western consortium began exporting oil from Masila in the Hadramaut in 1993, and production there reached 420,000 barrels per day in 1999. More than a doze other companies have been unsuccessful in finding commercial quantities of oil. There are new finds in the Jannah (formerly known as the Joint Oil Exploration Area) and east Shab-wah blocks.

In November 2005, Hunt Oil's 20-year contract for the management of Block 18 fields ended. Despite agreemment with the Government of Yemen on a 5-year extension, the Republic of Yemen Government abrogated the agreement via a parliamentary vote (not called for in the contract). The company formally requested arbitration proceedings at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in November. No decision has been rendered.

Yemen's oil exports in 1995 earned about $1 billion. By 2005, exports had grown to approximately $3.1 billion and comprised roughly 70% of government revenue. Oil production is expected to decline in 2007 due to dwindling reserves, but revenue will be stable as long as oil prices remain high.

Oil located near Marib contains associated natural gas. Proven reserves of 10-13 trillion cubic feet could sustain a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project. A long-term prospect for the petroleum industry in Yemen is a proposed liquefied natural gas project (Yemen LNG), which plans to process and export Yemen's 17 trillion cubic feet of proven associated and natural gas reserves. In September 1995, the Yemeni Government signed an agreement that designated Total of France to be the lead company for an LNG project, and, in January 1997, agreed to include Hunt Oil, Exxon, and Yukong of South Korea as partners in the Yemeni Exploration and Production Company. The project envisions a $3.5 billion investment over 25 years, producing approximately 3.1 million tons of LNG annually. A Bech-tel-Technip joint venture also conducted a preliminary engineering study for LNG production/development. In 2005, Yemen LNG signed two agreements for the sale of 4.5 metric tons per year, the majority of which will be exported to the United States and South Korea. Construction on the LNG export facility began in September 2005, and it is expected to begin exporting in 2009.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

The geography and ruling Imams of north Yemen kept the country isolated from foreign influence before 1962. The country's relations with Saudi Arabia were defined by the Taif Agreement of 1934, which delineated the northernmost part of the border between the two kingdoms and set the framework for commercial and other intercourse. The Taif Agreement has been renewed periodically in 20-year increments, and its validity was reaffirmed in 1995. Relations with the British colonial authorities in Aden and the south were usually tense.

The Soviet and Chinese Aid Missions established in 1958 and 1959 were the first important non-Muslim presence in north Yemen. Following the September 1962 revolution, the Yemen Arab Republic became closely allied with and heavily dependent upon Egypt. Saudi Arabia aided the royalists in their attempt to defeat the Republicans and did not recognize the Yemen Arab Republic until 1970. Subsequently, Saudi Arabia provided Yemen substantial budgetary and project support. At the same time, Saudi Arabia maintained direct contact with Yemeni tribes, which sometimes strained its official relations with the Yemeni Government. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis found employment in Saudi Arabia during the late 1970s and 1980s.

In February 1989, north Yemen joined Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt informing the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), an organization created partly in response to the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and intended to foster closer economic cooperation and integration among its members.

After unification, the Republic of Yemen was accepted as a member of the ACC in place of its YAR predecessor. In the wake of the Gulf crisis, the ACC has remained inactive. Yemen is not a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

British authorities left southern Yemen in November 1967 in the wake of an intense terrorist campaign. The people's democratic Republic of Yemen, the successor to British colonial rule, had diplomatic relations with many nations, but its major links were with the Soviet Union and other Marxist countries. Relations between it and the conservative Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula were strained. There were military clashes with Saudi Arabia in 1969 and 1973, and the PDRY provided active support for the Dhofar rebellion against the Sultanate of Oman. The PDRY was the only Arab state to vote against admitting new Arab states from the Gulf area to the United Nations and the Arab League. The PDRY provided sanctuary and material support to various international terrorist groups.

Yemen is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Yemen participates in the nonaligned movement. The Republic of Yemen accepted responsibility for all treaties and debts of its predecessors, the YAR and the PDRY. Yemen has acceded to the nuclear nonprolifera-ttion treaty. The Gulf crisis dramati-cally affected Yemen's foreign relations. As a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in 1990-1991, Yemen abstained on a number of UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq and Kuwait, and voted against the “use of force resolution.” Western and Gulf Arab states reacted by curtailing or canceling aid programs and diplomatic contacts. At least 850,000 Yemenis returned from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Subsequent to the liberation of Kuwait, Yemen continued to maintain high-level contacts with Iraq. This hampered its efforts to rejoin the Arab mainstream and to mend fences with its immediate neighbors. In 1993, Yemen launched an unsuccessful diplomatic offensive to restore relations with its Gulf neighbors. Some of its aggrieved neighbors actively aided the south during the 1994 civil war. Since the end of that conflict, tangible progress has been made on the diplomatic front in restoring normal relations with Yemen's neighbors. The Omani-Yemeni border has been officially demarcated. In the summer of 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed an International Border Treaty settling a 50-year-old dispute over the location of the border between the two countries. Yemen also settled its dispute with Eritrea over the Hanish Islands in 1998.

U.S. YEMEN RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Imamate in 1946. A resident legation, later elevated to embassy status, was opened in Taiz (the capital at the time) on March 16, 1959 and moved to Sanaa in 1966. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic, doing so on December 19, 1962. A major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program constructed the Mocha-Taiz-Sanaa highway and the Kennedy memorial water project in Taiz, as well as many smaller projects. On June 6, 1967, the YAR, under Egyptian influence, broke diplomatic relations with the United States in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of that year. Secretary of State William P. Rogers restored relations following a visit to Sanaa in July 1972, and a new USAID agreement was concluded in 1973.

On December 7, 1967, the United States recognized the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen and elevated its Consulate General in Aden to embassy status. However, relations were strained. The PDRY was placed on the list of nations that support terrorism. On October 24, 1969, south Yemen formally broke diplomatic relations with the United States. The United States and the PDRY reestablished diplomatic relations on April 30, 1990, only 3 weeks before the announcement of unification. However, the embassy in Aden, which closed in 1969, was never reopened, and the PDRY as a political entity no longer exists.

During a 1979 border conflict between the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the United States cooperated with Saudi Arabia to greatly expand the security assistance program to the YAR by providing F-5 aircraft, tanks, vehicles and training. George H.W. Bush, while Vice President, visited in April 1986, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited the United States in January 1990. The United States had a $42 million USAID program in 1990. From 1973 to 1990, the United States provided the YAR with assistance in the agriculture, education, and health and water sectors. Many Yemenis were sent on U.S. Government scholarships to study in the region and in the United States. There was a Peace Corps program with about 50 volunteers. The U.S. Information Service operated an English-language institute in Sanaa.

In 1990, as a result of Yemen's actions in the Security Council following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States drastically reduced its presence in Yemen including canceling all military cooperation, non-humanitarian assistance, and the Peace Corps program. USAID levels dropped in FY 1991 to $2.9 million, but food assistance through the PL 480 and PL 416 (B) programs continued through 2006. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided 30,000 metric tons of soybean meal that were sold for approximately $7.5 million to finance programs in support of Yemen's agricultural sector.

The United States was actively involved in and strongly supportive of parliamentary elections in 1993 as well as the 2006 presidential and local council elections, and continues working to strengthen Yemen's democratic institutions. The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID office has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen has also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, election monitoring, training for civil society, and the improvement of electoral procedures.

Defense relations between Yemen and the United States are improving rapidly, with the resumption of International Military Education and Training assistance and the transfer of military equipment and spare parts. In FY 2006 U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Yemen was $8.42 million, International Military Education and Training (IMET) was $924,000, and Non-Proliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR) was $1.4 million. In FY 2006 Yemen also received $7.9 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF), $10 million in Food for Progress (Title 1) assistance, and $5 million in Section 1206 funding.

In November 2006, a World Bank-sponsored international donors conference held in London raised $4.7 billion for Yemen's development; the funds are to be disbursed between 2007 and 2010.

Currently, Yemen is an important partner in the global war on terrorism, providing assistance in the military, diplomatic, and financial arenas. President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited Washington, DC, in November 2001. Since that time, Yemen has stepped up its counter-terrorism cooperation efforts with the United States, achieving significant results and improving overall security in Yemen. President Saleh returned to Washington in June 2004 when he was invited to attend the G-8 Sea Island Summit. The Summit was an excellent forum for Yemen to share its democratic reform experiences, and it has agreed to participate in future activities detailed in the Sea Island charter. In November 2005 and May 2007, President Saleh again visited high-level officials in Washington, including President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

SANAA (E) Sa'awan Street, (967) (1) 755-2000, Fax (967) (1) 303-182, Workweek: Sat–Wed 0800-1630, Website: http://yemen.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Janice Mcpherson
AMB OMS:Joyce Cobb
ECO:Andrew Mitchell
ECO/COM:David Deurden
FM:Nelson Rodrigeuz
MGT:Paul Blankenship
POL ECO:Andrew Mitchell
AMB:Stephen Seche
CON:Terrence West
DCM:Angie Bryan
PAO:Ryan Gliha
GSO:Doris Beck
RSO:William Mellott
AGR:Frederick Giles (Riyadh)
AID:Mike Sarhan
CLO:Jewel Lo
DAO:Ltc. Robert Holzhauer
DEA:(Res. Cairo)
FAA:(Res. Brussels)
FMO:Robert Haynie
ICASS:Chair Mike Sarhan
IMO:Linda Howard
IRS:(Res. Berlin)
ISSO:Linda Howard
MLO:Frank Molinari
State ICASS:Tbd

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 27, 2007

Country Description: The Republic of Yemen was established in 1990 following unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South). Islamic and traditional ideals, beliefs, and practices provide the foundation of the country's customs and laws. Yemen is a developing country and modern tourist facilities are widely available only in major cities.

Entry Requirements: Passports and visas are required for travel to Yemen. Visas may be obtained at Yemeni Embassies abroad; all travelers to Yemen can also potentially obtain entry visas at ports of entry. Travelers to Yemen are no longer required to have an affiliation with and arrange their travel through a Yemeni-based individual or organization to enter Yemen. However, individuals may be asked for supporting evidence of their character, purpose of visit and length of stay. Upon arrival at ports of entry, travelers may be issued a visa valid for a maximum of three months.

Yemeni law requires that all foreigners traveling in Yemen obtain exit visas before leaving the country. In cases of travelers with valid tourist visas and without any special circumstances (like those listed below), this exit visa is obtained automatically at the port of exit as long as the traveler has not overstayed the terms of the visa.

In certain situations, however, foreigners are required to obtain exit visas from the Immigration and Passport Authority headquarters in Sanaa. These cases may include, but are not limited to, foreigners who have overstayed the validity date of their visa; U.S.-citizen children with Yemeni or Yemeni-American parents who are not exiting Yemen with them; foreigners who have lost the passport containing their entry visa; foreign residents whose residence visas are based on their employment or study in Yemen, marriage to a Yemeni citizen, or relationship to a Yemeni parent; or foreign residents who have pending legal action (including court-based “holds” on family members’ travel). All minor/ underage U.S. citizens should be accompanied by their legal guardian(s) and/or provide a notarized letter in Arabic of parental consent when obtaining exit visas to depart Yemen. In all of these more complex cases, obtaining an exit visa requires the permission of the employing company, the sponsoring Yemeni family member, the sponsoring school or the court in which the legal action is pending. Without this permission, foreigners—including U.S. Citizens—may not be allowed to leave Yemen. American women who also hold Yemeni nationality and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody.

For more details, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone 202-965-4760; or the Yemeni (Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. Visit the Yemeni Embassy home page for more visa information at http://www.yemenembassy.org.

Safety and Security: The Department of State is concerned that al-Qaida and its affiliates are actively engaged in extremist-related activities in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Department remains concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests. On July 2, 2007, suspected al-Qaida operatives carried out a vehicle-borne explosive device attack on tourists at the Belquis Temple in Marib, which resulted in the deaths of eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis. The targeting of tourist sites by al-Qaida may represent an escalation in terror tactics in Yemen. On February 3, 2006, 23 convicts, including known affiliates of al-Qaida, escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city, Sanaa. Among the al-Qaida associates were individuals imprisoned for their roles in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 attack on the French oil tanker Limburg. In the weeks following the escape, some prisoners voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities; to date, however, some escapees remain at large. Two of the escapees were killed in vehicle-based suicide attacks on oil facilities near Mukalla and Marib on September 15, 2006. Those attacks were followed by the arrest the next day in Sanaa of four suspected al-Qaida operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and weapons. On December 5, 2006, a lone gunman opened small arms fire outside of the Embassy compound during the early morning hours. The assailant, wounded by host-nation security personnel and subsequently arrested, was the sole casualty. It appears that, although the gunman was influenced by extremist ideology, he worked alone in planning and executing the attack.

Americans should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. A 2005 demonstration against an increase in the fuel price led to two days of widespread demonstrations and rioting throughout Sanaa and other cities. Those demonstrations resulted in a large amount of property damage, looting, and several roadblocks.

The summer and fall of 2007 witnessed an increase in anti-government demonstrations in southern Yemen, including the cities of Aden, Taizz, Ibb, and Mukalla, as well as surrounding regions. Some of these demonstrations have resulted in injuries and deaths. Americans should be aware of the potential for further demonstrations when traveling in these areas.

Throughout the country, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise particular caution at locations associated with foreigners, such as the Sanaa Trade Center, American-affiliated franchises, restaurants and shops in the Hadda area of Sanaa, in Aden and elsewhere, and at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa may temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review its security posture and ensure its adequacy.

In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of such objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended and should be kept locked at all times.

U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Americans in Yemen are urged to register and remain in contact with the American Embassy in Sanaa for updated security information.

Yemeni government security organizations have arrested and expelled foreign Muslims, including Americans, who have associated with local Muslim organizations considered to be extremist by security organs of the Yemeni government. Americans risk arrest if they engage in either political or other activities that violate the terms of their admission to Yemen.

Travel on roads between cities throughout Yemen can be dangerous. Armed carjacking, especially of four-wheel-drive vehicles, occurs in many parts of the country, including the capital. Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas. The U.S. Embassy sometimes restricts the travel of its own personnel to rural areas, while the Government of Yemen also sometimes places restrictions on Americans traveling outside Sanaa. Please check with the Embassy for the latest restrictions.

Travel is particularly dangerous in the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa. Armed tribesmen in those areas have kidnapped a number of foreigners in attempts to resolve disputes with the Yemeni government. Hostilities between tribesmen and government security forces in the Sadah governorate north of Sanaa have flared up on several occasions since 2005. Americans are urged to avoid this region during periods of conflict.

Travel by boat through the Red Sea or near the Socotra Islands in the Gulf of Aden presents the risk of pirate attacks. If travel to any of these areas is necessary, travelers may reduce the risk to personal security if such travel is undertaken by air or with an armed escort provided by a local tour company.

Other potential hazards to travelers include land mines and unexploded ordnance from the 1994 civil war. This is of particular concern in areas where fighting took place in the six southern provinces. However, most minefields have been identified and cordoned off.

Americans are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks when they are in transit to and from their residences or workplaces, or when they are shopping, sightseeing, or visiting friends. All Americans are reminded to vary their routes and times, remain vigilant, report suspicious incidents to the Embassy, avoid areas that Westerners and Americans frequent, avoid traveling after dark, lock car windows and doors, and carry a cell phone.

Based on previous abductions of foreigners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the Embassy recommends that Americans with doubts about the identity of security or police personnel on the roads remain in their vehicles, roll up their windows, and contact the Embassy.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Middle East and North Africa Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and other Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: The most serious problem affecting travelers to Yemen is carjacking. Travelers have rarely been victims of petty street crime.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Lack of modern medical facilities outside of Sanaa and Aden and a shortage of emergency ambulance services throughout the country may cause concern to some visitors. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. An adequate supply of prescription medications for the duration of the trip is important. While many prescription drugs are available in Yemen, a particular drug needed by a visitor may not be available.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa strongly advises all American citizens residing in or traveling to Yemen to ensure that they have received all recommended immunizations.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http//:www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Yemenis provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Based on previous abductions of foreigners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the Embassy recommends that Americans with doubts about the identity of security or police personnel on the roads remain in their vehicles, roll up their windows, and contact the Embassy. For additional information addressing security concerns for Americans in Yemen, please see the Safety and Security section above.

Travel by road in Yemen should be considered risky. Within cities, minivans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles. Taxis and public transportation are widely available but the vehicles may lack safety standards and equipment. Embassy personnel are advised to avoid public buses for safety reasons. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections. While traffic laws exist, they are often not enforced, and/or not adhered to by motorists. Drivers sometimes drive on the left side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. A large number of underage drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack basic parts such as functional turn signals, headlights and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals on the roads constitute a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond the main inter-city roads, which are usually paved and in fair condition, the rural roads in general require four-wheel-drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.

Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas. The U.S. Embassy sometimes restricts the travel of its own personnel to rural areas, while the Government of Yemen also sometimes places restrictions on Americans traveling outside Sanaa. Please check with the Embassy for the latest restrictions.

Travelers should take precautions to avoid minefields left over from Yemen's civil wars. Traveling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving which causes an accident resulting in injury, are a fine and/or prison sentence. If the accident results in death, the driver is subject to a maximum of three years in prison and/or a fine. Under traditional practice, victims’ families negotiate a monetary compensation from the driver proportionate to the extent of the injuries—higher if it is a fatality.

and visit the web site of Yemen's national tourism office and national authority responsible for road safety at http//yementourism.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Yemen's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.

Travelers should be aware that automated teller machines (ATMs) are being introduced in major cities but are still not widely available in Yemen. Credit cards are not widely accepted. The Government of Yemen may not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Yemen and the United States. This may hinder the ability of U.S. consular officials to assist persons who do not enter Yemen on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes or military service. For further information, travelers can contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Yemen.

American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws, customs, and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Women in custody disputes in Yemen may not enjoy the same rights that they do in the U.S., as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother. Parents planning to travel to Yemen with their children should bear this in mind. Parents should also note that American custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.

American women who also hold Yemeni nationality, and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men, are advised that if they bring their children to Yemen they may not enjoy freedom of travel should they decide they want to leave Yemen. Such women often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody.

American students and workers in Yemen sometimes report that the sponsors of their residence permits seize their U.S. passports as a means of controlling their domestic and international travel.

While the sponsors say they seize the passports on behalf of local security services, there is no law or instruction from Yemeni passport or security offices requiring that passports be seized.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Yemeni laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Yemen are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant “qat” is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Yemen are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Yemen. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, PO Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967) (1) 303-175. The after-hours emergency number is (967) (1) 755-2000 (press 0 for extension) or (967) 733213509. The Embassy is open from Saturday through Wednesday.

International Adoption

May 2007

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: The basis for Yemeni family law is a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, and, therefore, does not allow for adoption as that concept is understood in the United States. Accordingly, it is generally not possible for U.S. citizens to adopt a Yemeni orphan to obtain an immigrant visa that will allow that child to immigrate to the United States.

Patterns of Immigration: No Yemeni orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas within the past five fiscal years.

Yemeni Guardianship Authority: Guardianship in Yemen is granted by local courts. Persons considering applying for guardianship of a Yemeni child should direct their inquiries to the court in the region of Yemen where the child is residing.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Yemen. However, prospective guardians who may wish to use the services of an agency in the context of a guardianship case are advised to fully research any agency or facilitator they are considering using.

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
2319 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 965-4760
Fax: (202) 337-2017

Yemen also has a consulate in Detroit and an honorary consulate in San Francisco.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of America
Saawan St
Sheraton District Sanaa,
Yemen Telephone: +967 (1) 755-2000 (Immigrant Visa Unit)
Fax: +967 (1) 303-175

Additional Information: Specific questions about the guardianship process in Yemen may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

International Parental Child Abduction

February 2008

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

General Information: Yemen is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Yemen and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Parents planning to travel with their children to Yemen should bear this in mind.

Custody Disputes: Cases involving divorce and the custody of minor children are adjudicated in local courts that apply principles of Islamic law. Islamic law will be applied regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents.

In Yemen, Islamic law gives priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. However, once the children reach adolescence (age 9 for boys and age 12 for girls), the father can take custody. If the mother refuses, the father can file in court for custody. A court can find a mother unfit to have custody before the children reach adolescence. In that case, a maternal grandmother living in Yemen or a paternal grandmother (if the maternal grandmother is not living in Yemen) will be given custody until the children reach the age at which the father may appeal for custody.

In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother's primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence over the rearing of the children, even though he may not have custody. For example, the mother must seek his approval to depart Yemen with the children. Frequently, the father is actually able to assume custody against the wishes of the mother when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her custodial rights.

A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards. The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying a party considered “unmarriageable,” or by residing in a home with people who might be “strangers” to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Yemen with the child without the father's approval and the approval of the court. In general, a Yemeni man divorcing his non-Yemeni wife may be awarded legal custody of their children if the court determines that any of the above conditions have not been met.

Under Sharia law, if a mother removes a child from the father, thus denying him access, the mother's custody rights can be severed. Removal of children from Yemen without the father's permission is a crime in Yemen. Immigration officials at the port of exit may request permission from the father before permitting the children to leave Yemen.

A Yemeni father can remove his children from Yemen without approval of the mother. While a mother can legally seek a travel ban to prevent the father from taking the children out of Yemen, this is not always possible in reality.

Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Yemeni court should retain an attorney in Yemen. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Yemen if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. For example, an order from a U.S. court granting custody to an American mother may not be honored in Yemen if the mother intends to take the child to live outside Yemen. Courts in Yemen will not enforce U.S. court decrees ordering a parent in Yemen to pay child support.

Visitation Rights: The government of Yemen will assist non-custodial parents who wish to visit their children in Yemen. When the custodial parent refuses to permit visitation, the non-custodial parent will need to file a complaint in local court.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is recognized under Yemeni law. Children of Yemeni fathers automatically acquire Yemeni citizenship at birth, regardless of where the child was born. Yemeni women can only transmit citizenship in rare instances when there is official intervention from the Yemen government. Yemenis are not required to enter and leave the country on Yemeni passports.

Travel Restrictions: Parents can obtain an order from a local court preventing the other parent from taking a child out of Yemen, regardless of the child's nationality, when there is a custody dispute before the local court.

Criminal Remedies: For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the web site of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org. For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/family. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

Travel Warning

September 24, 2007

This Travel Warning updates information on security incidents in Yemen and reminds U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued April 30, 2007.

The Department of State continues to strongly urge U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of traveling to Yemen. The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen, and U.S. citizens in Yemen should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security: maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure travel documents are current. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa advises American citizens in Yemen to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners countrywide and at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the Embassy may restrict official Americans from restaurants, hotels, or shopping areas. The Department of State strongly encourages American citizens to consult the most recent Warden Messages (http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html) to get the most up-to-date information on security conditions. Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there.

The Department remains concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived interests. On July 2, 2007, suspected al- Qa′ida operatives carried out a vehicle-borne explosive device attack on tourists at the Belquis Temple in Marib, which resulted in the deaths of eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis. The targeting of tourist sites by al-Qa′ida may represent an escalation in terror tactics in Yemen. On February 3, 2006, 23 convicts, including known affiliates of al-Qa′ida, escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city, Sanaa. Among the al-Qa′ida associates were individuals imprisoned for their roles in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 attack on the French oil tanker Limburg. In the weeks following the escape, some prisoners voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities; to date however, some escapees remain at large. Two of the escapees were killed in vehicle-based suicide attacks on oil facilities near Mukalla and Marib on September 15, 2006. Those attacks were followed by the arrest the next day in Sanaa of four suspected Al Qa’ida operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and weapons. Additionally, on December 5, 2006, a lone gunman opened small arms fire outside of the U.S. Embassy compound during the early morning hours. The assailant, wounded by host-nation security personnel and subsequently arrested, was the sole casualty.

Since January 2007, the Government of Yemen has been battling al Houthi rebels in and around the northern governorate of Saada. While foreigners have not been targeted, hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the ongoing violence. U.S. citizens traveling in Yemen should be aware that local authorities occasionally place restrictions on the travel of foreigners to parts of the country experiencing unrest. In addition, the U.S. Embassy itself often restricts travel of official personnel to the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa, such as the governorates of Amran, Al Jawf, Hajja, Marib, Saada, and Shabwa. Travelers should be in contact with the Embassy for up-to-date information on such restrictions.

U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Yemen despite this Travel Warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) in order to obtain updated information on travel and security in Yemen. This can be done online prior to arrival in Yemen at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967) (1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967) (1) 303-175. The after hours emergency number is (967) (1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733213509. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

Current information on travel and security in Yemen may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Yemen, the Middle East and North Africa Travel Alert, and the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov. (Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html.)

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-3

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-3

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

Compiled from the January 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Yemen


PROFILE

Geography18

Area:

527,970 sq. km. (203,796 sq. mi.); about the size of California and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities:

Capital—Sanaa. Other cities—Aden, Taiz, Hodeida, and al-Mukalla.

Terrain:

Mountainous interior bordered by desert with a flat and sandy coastal plain.

Climate:

Temperate in the mountainous regions in the western part of the country, extremely hot with minimal rainfall in the remainder of the country. Humid on the coast.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Yemeni(s).

Population (2004 est.):

19.8 million.

Annual growth rate:

3%.

Ethnic group:

Predominantly Arab.

Religion:

Islam, small numbers of Jews, Christians, and Hindus.

Language:

Arabic.

Education:

Attendance (2004 est.)—80% for boys at the primary level and 50% for girls. Attendance was 55% for boys at the secondary level and 22% for girls. Literac (2004 est.)—49% overall, including 30% females.

Health:

Infant mortality rate—82/1,000 live births. Life expectancy—58 yrs.

Work force (by sector):

Agriculture—53%; public services—17%; manufacturing—4%; construction—7%; percentage of total population—25%.

Government

Type:

Republic; unification (of former south and north Yemen): May 22, 1990.

Constitution:

Adopted May 21, 1990 and ratified May 1991.

Branches:

Executive—president, and prime minister with cabinet. Legislative—bicameral legislature with 111-seat Shura Council and 301-seat House of Representatives. Judicial—the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Administrative subdivisions:

18 governorates subdivided into districts.

Main political parties:

General People's Congress (GPC), Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islah), Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP)

Suffrage:

Universal over 18.

National holiday:

May 22 (Unity Day).

Economy

GDP (2004 est.):

$12.8 billion.

Per capita GDP (2004 est.):

$646.46

Natural resources:

Oil, natural gas, fish and seafood, rock salt, minor deposits of coal and copper.

Agriculture (est. 14.3% of GDP):

Products—qat (a shrub containing a natural amphetamine), coffee, cotton, fruits, vegetables, cereals, livestock and poultry. Arable land (est.)—3%.

Industry (est. 66% of GDP):

Types—petroleum refining, mining, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

Trade Exports (2004)—$3.9 billion:

crude petroleum, refined oil products, seafood, fruits, vegetables, hides, tobacco products. Major markets—China, Thailand, India South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates. Imports (2004)—$3.9 billion: petroleum products, cereals, feed grains, foodstuffs, machinery, transportation equipment, iron, sugar honey. Major suppliers—United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United States, India, China, France, Switzerland.

Exchange rate (4th quarter, 2005):

Market rate 182.55 rials per U.S. $1. Yemeni rial (YR) floats freely based on an average of foreign currencies. Since the floating of the YR, the market usually reflects the official rate of exchange.


PEOPLE

Unlike other people of the Arabian Peninsula who have historically been nomads or semi-nomads, Yemenis are almost entirely sedentary and live in small villages and towns scattered throughout the highlands and coastal regions.

Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: the Shia Zaidi sect, found in the north and northwest, and the Shafa'i school of Sunni Muslims, found in the south and southeast. Yemenis are mainly of Semitic origin, although African strains are present among inhabitants of the coastal region. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood in major cities. In the Mahra area (the extreme east), several non-Arabic languages are spoken. When the former states of north and south Yemen were established, most resident minority groups departed.


HISTORY

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, the former north Yemen came under control of Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. (Imam is a religious term. The Shi'ites apply it to the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, his sons Hassan and Hussein, and subsequent lineal descendants, whom they consider to have been divinely ordained unclassified successors of the prophet.)

Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of north Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted control over south Yemen.

Former North Yemen

Ottoman control was largely confined to cities with the Imam's suzerainty over tribal areas formally recognized. Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya strengthened his control over north Yemen. Yemen became a member of the Arab league in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947.

Imam Yahya died during an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1948 and was succeeded by his son Ahmad, who ruled until his death in September 1962. Imam Ahmad's reign was marked by growing repression, renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south, and growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.

Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad's son, Badr, was deposed by revolutionary forces, which took control of Sanaa and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Imamate. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn. By 1968, following a final royalist siege of Sanaa, most of the opposing leaders reached a reconciliation; Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.

Former South Yemen

British influence increased in the south and eastern portion of Yemen after the British captured the port of Aden in 1839. It was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when Aden was made a crown colony with the remaining land designated as east Aden and west Aden protectorates. By 1965, most of the tribal states within the protectorates and the Aden colony proper had joined to form the British-sponsored federation of south Arabia.

In 1965, two rival nationalist groups—the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) and the National Liberation Front (NLF)—turned to terrorism in their struggle to control the country. In 1967, in the face of uncontrollable violence, British troops began withdrawing, federation rule collapsed, and NLF elements took control after eliminating their FLOSY rivals. South Arabia, including Aden, was declared independent on November 30, 1967, and was renamed the People's Republic of South Yemen. In June 1969, a radical wing of the Marxist NLF gained power and changed the country's name on December 1, 1970, to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and radical Palestinians.

Republic of Yemen

In 1972, the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union. However, little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained. In 1979, simmering tensions led to fighting, which was only resolved after Arab League mediation. The northern and southern heads of state reaffirmed the goal of unity during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979. However, that same year the PDRY began sponsoring an insurgency against the YAR. In April 1980, PDRY President Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less interventionist stance toward both the YAR and neighboring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle began in Aden between Ali Nasir Muhammad and the returned Abdul Fattah Ismail and their supporters. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir's ouster, and Ismail's death. Some 60,000 persons, including Ali Nasir and his supporters, fled to the YAR.

In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.

In November 1989, the leaders of the YAR (Ali Abdullah Saleh) and the PDRY (Ali Salim Al-Bidh) agreed on a draft unity constitution originally drawn up in 1981. The Republic of Yemen (ROY) was declared on May 22, 1990. Ali Abdullah Saleh became President, and Ali Salim Al-Bidh became Vice President.

A 30-month transitional period for completing the unification of the two political and economic systems was set. A presidential council was jointly elected by the 26-member YAR advisory council and the 17-member PDRY presidium. The presidential council appointed a Prime Minister, who formed a Cabinet. There was also a 301-seat provisional unified Parliament, consisting of 159 members from the north, 111 members from the south, and 31 independent members appointed by the chairman of the council.

A unity constitution was agreed upon in May 1990 and ratified by the populace in May 1991. It affirmed Yemen's commitment to free elections, a multiparty political system, the right to own private property, equality under the law, and respect of basic human rights. Parliamentary elections were held on April 27, 1993. International groups assisted in the organization of the elections and observed actual balloting. The resulting Parliament included 143 GPC, 69 YSP, 63 Islah (Yemeni grouping for reform, a party composed of various tribal and religious groups) The head of Islah, Paramount Hashid Sheik Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, is the speaker of Parliament.

Islah was invited into the ruling coalition, and the presidential council was altered to include one Islah member. Conflicts within the coalition resulted in the self-imposed exile of Vice President Ali Salim Al-Bidh to Aden beginning in August 1993 and a deterioration in the general security situation as political rivals settled scores and tribal elements took advantage of the unsettled situation.

Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas (former southern Prime Minister) continued to serve as the ROY Prime Minister, but his government was ineffective due to political infighting. Continuous negotiations between northern and southern leaders resulted in the signing of the document of pledge and accord in Amman, Jordan on February 20, 1994. Despite this, clashes intensified until civil war broke out in early May 1994.

Almost all of the actual fighting in the 1994 civil war occurred in the southern part of the country despite air and missile attacks against cities and major installations in the north. Southerners sought support from neighboring states and received billions of dollars of equipment and financial assistance. The United States strongly supported Yemeni unity, but repeatedly called for a cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table. Various attempts, including by a UN special envoy, were unsuccessful to effect a cease-fire.

Southern leaders declared secession and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) on May 21, 1994, but the DRY was not recognized by the international community. Ali Nasir Muhammad supporters greatly assisted military operations against the secessionists and Aden was captured on July 7, 1994. Other resistance quickly collapsed and thousands of southern leaders and military went into exile.

Early during the fighting, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced a general amnesty, which applied to everyone except a list of 16 persons. Most southerners returned to Yemen after a short exile.

An armed opposition was announced from Saudi Arabia, but no significant incidents within Yemen materialized. The government prepared legal cases against four southern leaders—Ali Salim Al-Bidh, Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas, Abd Al-Rahman Ali Al-Jifri, and Salih Munassar Al-Siyali—for misappropriation of official funds. Others on the list of 16 were told informally they could return to take advantage of the amnesty, but most remained outside Yemen. Although many of Ali Nasir Muhammad's followers were appointed to senior governmental positions (including Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Governor of Aden), Ali Nasir Muhammad himself remained abroad in Syria.

In the aftermath of the civil war, YSP leaders within Yemen reorganized the party and elected a new politburo in July 1994. However, the party remained disheartened and without its former influence. Islah held a party convention in September 1994. The GPC did the same in June 1995.

In 1994, amendments to the unity constitution eliminated the presidential council. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected by Parliament on October 1, 1994 to a 5-year term. In April 1997, Yemen held its second multiparty parliamentary elections. The country held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a 5-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections.

Constitutional amendments adopted in the summer of 2000 extended the presidential term by 2 years, thus moving the next presidential elections to 2006. The constitution provides that henceforth the President will be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. The amendments also extended the parliamentary term of office to a 6-year term, thus moving elections for these seats to 2003. On February 20, 2001, a new constitutional amendment created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote). In April 2003, the third multiparty parliamentary elections were held with improvements in voter registration for both men and women and in a generally free and fair atmosphere. Two women were elected.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Yemen is a republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected president, an elected 301-seat House of Representatives, and an appointed 111-member Shura Council share power. The president is head of state, and the prime minister is head of government. The constitution provides that the president be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates endorsed by Parliament; the prime minister is appointed by the president. The presidential term of office is 7 years, and the parliamentary term of elected office is 6 years. Suffrage is universal over 18.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected in 1999; the next presidential elections are scheduled for 2006. In April 2003 parliamentary elections, the General People's Congress (GPC) maintained an absolute majority. International observers judged elections to be generally free and fair, and there was a marked decrease from previous years in election-related violence; however, there were some problems with underage voting, confiscation of ballot boxes, voter intimidation, and election-related violence.

The constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/23/2005

President: Ali Abdallah SALIH
Vice President: Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI, Maj. Gen.
Prime Minister: Abd al-Qadir BA JAMAL
Dep. Prime Min.: Alawi Salah al-SALAMI
Dep. Prime Min.: Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-SUFAN
Min. of Agriculture & Irrigation: Hasan Umar Muhammad al-SUWAYDI
Min. of Cabinet Affairs: Salim al-AYDARUS
Min. of Civil Service & Social Security: Hamud Khalid Naji al-SUFI
Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Abd al-Malik al-MUALIMI
Min. of Construction, Housing, & Urban Planning: Abdallah Husayn al-DAFA
Min. of Culture & Tourism: Khalid Abdallah Salih al-RUWAYSHAN
Min. of Defense: Abdallah Ali ALAYWA, Maj. Gen.
Min. of Education: Abd al-Salman Muhammad Hizam al-JAWFI
Min. of Electricity: Abd al-Rahman Muhammad al-TARMUM
Min. of Expatriate Affairs: Abduh Ali al-QUBATI
Min. of Finance: Alawi Salah al-SALAMI
Min. of Fisheries: Ali Muhammad al-MUJUR
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Abu Bakr al-QIRBI
Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Abd al-Wahab al-RAWIH
Min. of Human Rights: Amat al-Alim al-SUSWAH
Min. of Industry & Trade: Khalid Rajih SHAYKH
Min. of Information: Husayn Dayfallah al-AWADI
Min. of Interior: Rashid Muhammad al-ALAMI
Min. of Justice: Adnan Umar Muhammad al-JAFRI
Min. of Legal Affairs: Rashid Ahmad Yahya al-RASAS
Min. of Local Administration: Sadiq Amin Husayn ABU RAS
Min. of Oil & Minerals: Rashid BA RABA
Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-SUFAN
Min. of Public Health & Population: Muhammad Yahya Awda al-NUAYMI
Min. of Public Works & Roads: Abdallah Husayn al-DAFA
Min. of Religious Endowment & Islamic Affairs: Hamud Muhammad al-UBAYDI
Min. of Social & Labor Affairs: Abd al-Karim al-ARHABI
Min. of Supply & Trade: Abd al-Aziz al-KUMAYM
Min. of Technical Education & Vocational Training: Ali Mansur Muhammad bin SAFA
Min. of Transport: Umar Muhsin Abd al-Rahman al-AMUDI
Min. of Water & Environment: Muhammad Luft al-IRYANI
Min. of Youth & Sports: Abd al-Rahman al-AQWA
Min. of State & Sec. Gen. of the Presidency: Abdallah al-BASHIRI, Maj. Gen.
Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Qasim Ahmad al-AJAM
Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Muhammad Ali al-YASIR
Min. of State & Mayor of Sanaa: Ahmad Muhammad Yahya Hasan al-KAHLANI
Min. of State for Parliamentary & Shura Council Affairs: Muhammad Yahya Hamud al-SHARAFI
Governor, Central Bank: Ahmad Abd al-Rahman al-SAMAWI
Ambassador to the US: Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Abdallah al-SAYDI

The Republic of Yemen maintains an embassy in the United States at 2319 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-965-4760).


ECONOMY

At unification, both the YAR and the PDRY were struggling, underdeveloped economies. In the north, disruptions of civil war (1962-70) and frequent periods of drought had dealt severe blows to a previously prosperous agricultural sector. Coffee production, formerly the north's main export and principal form of foreign exchange, declined as the cultivation of qat increased. Low domestic industrial output and a lack of raw materials made the YAR dependent on a wide variety of imports.

Remittances from Yemenis working abroad and foreign aid paid for perennial trade deficits. Substantial Yemeni communities exist in many countries of the world, including Yemen's immediate neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, India, East Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union and China provided large-scale assistance to the YAR. This aid included funding of substantial construction projects, scholarships, and considerable military assistance.

In the south, pre-independence economic activity was overwhelmingly concentrated in the port city of Aden. The seaborne transit trade, which the port relied upon, collapsed with the closure of the Suez Canal and Britain's withdrawal from Aden in 1967. Only extensive Soviet aid, remittances from south Yemenis working abroad, and revenues from the Aden refinery (built in the 1950s) kept the PDRY's centrally planned Marxist economy afloat. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a cessation of Soviet aid, the south's economy basically collapsed.

Since unification, the government has worked to integrate two relatively disparate economic systems. However, severe shocks, including the return in 1990 of approximately 850,000 Yemenis from the Gulf states, a subsequent major reduction of aid flows, and internal political disputes culminating in the 1994 civil war hampered economic growth.

Since the conclusion of the war, the government entered into agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to institute an extremely successful structural adjustment program. Phase one of the IMF program included major financial and monetary reforms, including floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit, and cutting subsidies. Phase two will address structural issues such as civil service reform. The World Bank also is active in Yemen, with 19 active projects in 2005, including projects to improve governance in the public sector, water, and education. Since 1998, the government of Yemen has sought to implement World Bank economic and fiscal recommendations. In subsequent years, Yemen has lowered its debt burden through Paris Club agreements and restructuring U.S. foreign debt. In 2004, government reserves reached $4.7 billion.

Current U.S. commercial assistance is focused on aiding the business sector in supporting U.S.-Yemen bilateral trade relations, encouraging American business interests in country, and diversifying Yemen's economy toward non-petroleum dependent sectors.

Following a minor discovery in 1982 in the south, an American company found an oil basin near Marib in 1984. A total of 170,000 barrels per day were produced there in 1995. A small oil refinery began operations near Marib in 1986. A Soviet discovery in the southern governorate of Shabwa has proven only marginally successful even when taken over by a different group. A Western consortium began exporting oil from Masila in the Hadramaut in 1993, and production there reached 420,000 barrels per day in 1999. More than a dozen other companies have been unsuccessful in finding commercial quantities of oil. There are new finds in the Jannah (formerly known as the Joint Oil Exploration Area) and east Shabwah blocks.

In November 2005, Hunt Oil's 20-year contract for the management of Block 18 fields ended. Despite agreement with the Government of Yemen on a 5-year extension, the Republic of Yemen Government abrogated the agreement via a parliamentary vote (not called for in the contract). The company formally requested arbitration proceedings at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in November.

Yemen's oil exports in 1995 earned about $1 billion. By 2004, exports had grown to approximately $4.3 billion and comprised roughly 70% of government revenue. Oil production is expected to decline in 2005 due to dwindling reserves, but revenue will be stable as long as oil prices remain high.

Oil located near Marib contains associated natural gas. Proven reserves of 10-13 trillion cubic feet could sustain a liquid natural gas (LNG) export project. A long-term prospect for the petroleum industry in Yemen is a proposed liquefied natural gas project (Yemen LNG), which plans to process and export Yemen's 17 trillion cubic feet of proven associated and natural gas reserves. In September 1995, the Yemeni Government signed an agreement that designated Total of France to be the lead company for an LNG project, and, in January 1997, agreed to include Hunt Oil, Exxon, and Yukong of South Korea as partners in the Yemeni Exploration and Production Company. The project envisions a $3.5 billion investment over 25 years, producing approximately 3.1 million tons of LNG annually. A Bechtel-Technip joint venture also conducted a preliminary engineering study for LNG production/development. Without a firm buyer, Yemen has not begun to export LNG.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

The geography and ruling Imams of north Yemen kept the country isolated from foreign influence before 1962. The country's relations with Saudi Arabia were defined by the Taif Agreement of 1934, which delineated the northernmost part of the border between the two kingdoms and set the framework for commercial and other intercourse. The Taif Agreement has been renewed periodically in 20-year increments, and its validity was reaffirmed in 1995. Relations with the British colonial authorities in Aden and the south were usually tense.

The Soviet and Chinese Aid Missions established in 1958 and 1959 were the first important non-Muslim presence in north Yemen. Following the September 1962 revolution, the Yemen Arab Republic became closely allied with and heavily dependent upon Egypt. Saudi Arabia aided the royalists in their attempt to defeat the Republicans and did not recognize the Yemen Arab Republic until 1970. Subsequently, Saudi Arabia provided Yemen substantial budgetary and project support. At the same time, Saudi Arabia maintained direct contact with Yemeni tribes, which sometimes strained its official relations with the Yemeni Government. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis found employment in Saudi Arabia during the late 1970s and 1980s.

In February 1989, north Yemen joined Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt informing the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), an organization created partly in response to the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and intended to foster closer economic cooperation and integration among its members. After unification, the Republic of Yemen was accepted as a member of the ACC in place of its YAR predecessor. In the wake of the Gulf crisis, the ACC has remained inactive. Yemen is not a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

British authorities left southern Yemen in November 1967 in the wake of an intense terrorist campaign. The people's democratic Republic of Yemen, the successor to British colonial rule, had diplomatic relations with many nations, but its major links were with the Soviet Union and other Marxist countries. Relations between it and the conservative Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula were strained. There were military clashes with Saudi Arabia in 1969 and 1973, and the PDRY provided active support for the Dhofar rebellion against the Sultanate of Oman. The PDRY was the only Arab state to vote against admitting new Arab states from the Gulf area to the United Nations and the Arab League. The PDRY provided sanctuary and material support to various international terrorist groups.

Yemen is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the organization of the Islamic conference. Yemen participates in the nonaligned movement. The Republic of Yemen accepted responsibility for all treaties and debts of its predecessors, the YAR and the PDRY. Yemen has acceded to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. The Gulf crisis dramatically affected Yemen's foreign relations. As a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in 1990 and 1991, Yemen abstained on a number of UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq and Kuwait, and voted against the "use of force resolution." Western and Gulf Arab states reacted by curtailing or canceling aid programs and diplomatic contacts. At least 850,000 Yemenis returned from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Subsequent to the liberation of Kuwait, Yemen continued to maintain high-level contacts with Iraq. This hampered its efforts to rejoin the Arab mainstream and to mend fences with its immediate neighbors. In 1993, Yemen launched an unsuccessful diplomatic offensive to restore relations with its Gulf neighbors. Some of its aggrieved neighbors actively aided the south during the 1994 civil war. Since the end of that conflict, tangible progress has been made on the diplomatic front in restoring normal relations with Yemen's neighbors. The Omani-Yemeni border has been officially demarcated. In the summer of 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed an International Border Treaty settling a 50-year-old dispute over the location of the border between the two countries. Yemen also settled its dispute with Eritrea over the Hanish Islands in 1998.


U.S.–YEMEN RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Imamate in 1946. A resident legation, later elevated to embassy status, was opened in Taiz (the capital at the time) on March 16, 1959 and moved to Sanaa in 1966. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic, doing so on December 19, 1962. A major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program constructed the Mocha-Taiz-Sanaa highway and the Kennedy memorial water project in Taiz, as well as many smaller projects. On June 6, 1967, the YAR, under Egyptian influence, broke diplomatic relations with the United States in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of that year. Secretary of State William P. Rogers restored relations following a visit to Sanaa in July 1972, and a new USAID agreement was concluded in 1973.

On December 7, 1967, the United States recognized the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen and elevated its Consulate General in Aden to embassy status. However, relations were strained. The PDRY was placed on the list of nations that support terrorism. On October 24, 1969, south Yemen formally broke diplomatic relations with the United States. The United States and the PDRY reestablished diplomatic relations on April 30, 1990, only 3 weeks before the announcement of unification. However, the embassy in Aden, which closed in 1969, was never reopened, and the PDRY as a political entity no longer exists.

During a 1979 border conflict between the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the United States cooperated with Saudi Arabia to greatly expand the security assistance program to the YAR by providing F-5 aircraft, tanks, vehicles and training. George Bush, while Vice President, visited in April 1986, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited the United States in January 1990. The United States had a $42 million USAID program in 1990. From 1973 to 1990, the United States provided the YAR with assistance in the agriculture, education, and health and water sectors. Many Yemenis were sent on U.S. Government scholarships to study in the region and in the United States. There was a Peace Corps program with about 50 volunteers. The U.S. Information Service operates an English-language institute in Sanaa.

In 1990, as a result of Yemen's actions in the Security Council following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States drastically reduced its presence in Yemen including canceling all military cooperation, non-humanitarian assistance, and the Peace Corps program. USAID levels dropped in FY 1991 to $2.9 million, but food assistance through the PL 480 program continued through 2003. The United States was actively involved in and strongly supportive of the 1993 parliamentary elections and continues working to strengthen Yemen's democratic institutions. The United States supported a unified Yemen during the 1994 civil war. The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID Mission has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, election monitoring, training for tribal councils, and voter registration for the 2003 parliamentary elections.

The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID Mission has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, training for tribal councils, and providing access to Internet in schools. The American Institute of Yemeni Studies also received a $500,000 grant to assist in acquisition of a permanent location.

Defense relations between Yemen and the United States are improving rapidly, with the resumption of International Military Education and Training assistance and the transfer of military equipment and spare parts. Yemen received $1.9 million in Foreign Military Financing in FY 2003. U.S. Foreign Military Financing for FY 2004 is expected to reach $14.9 million, reflecting the improvement in U.S.-Yemeni security cooperation.

Currently, Yemen is an important partner in the global war on terrorism, providing assistance in the military, diplomatic, and financial arenas. President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited Washington, DC, in November 2001. Since that time, Yemen has stepped up its counter-terrorism cooperation efforts with the United States, achieving significant results and improving overall security in Yemen. President Saleh returned to Washington in June 2004 when he was invited to attend the G-8 Sea Island Summit. The Summit was an excellent forum for Yemen to share its democratic reform experiences, and it has agreed to participate in future activities detailed in the Sea Island charter. In November 2005, President Saleh again visited high-level officials in Washington, including President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SANAA (E) Address: Sa'awan Street; Phone: (967) (1) 755-2170; Fax: (967) (1) 303-182; Workweek: Sat - Wed 0800-1630; Website: USEMBASSY.YE.

AMB:Thomas C. Krajeski
AMB OMS:Kim P Stockdale
DCM:Nabeel Khoury
DCM OMS:Mariam Abdulle
POL:Joey R Hood
CON:William Lesh
MGT:Thomas Burke
AFSA:Manilka N Wijesooriya
AGR:Ali Abdi (Cairo)
AID:Doug Heisler
CLO:Jennifer Minor
DAO:Col. Joseph W Rank
DEA:Robert Shannon (res. Cairo)
ECO:Joey R Hood
EEO:William Lesh
FAA:Lynn Osmus (res. Brussels)
FMO:Manilka Wijesooriya
GSO:Darryn Martin
ICASS Chair:Col. Calvin Carlsen
IMO:Joseph Rizcallah
IRS:Margaret Lullo (res. Berlin)
ISSO:Joseph Rizcallah
LEGATT:Christopher Petrowski
PAO:Ann Marie Roubachewsky
RSO:William Mellott
Last Updated: 9/11/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

January 04, 2006

Country Description:

The Republic of Yemen was established in 1990 following unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South). Islamic and traditional ideals, beliefs and practices provide the foundation of the country's customs and laws. Yemen is a developing country and modern tourist facilities are widely available only in major cities.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

Passports and visas are required for travel to Yemen. All travelers to Yemen can potentially obtain entry visas at ports of entry. Travelers to Yemen are no longer required to have an affiliation with and arrange their travel through a Yemen-based individual or organization to enter Yemen. However, individuals may be asked for supporting evidence of their character, purpose of visit and length of stay. Upon arrival at ports of entry, travelers may be issued a visa valid for a maximum of three months. Upon departure, all U.S. citizens should obtain exit visas to depart Yemen. U.S. citizens who plan to stay in Yemen for less than one month can obtain their exit visas at the airport. U.S. citizens who plan to stay longer than one month should go to the Passport and Immigration Office to obtain exit visas. The same holds true for long-term residents in Yemen. All minor/underage U.S. citizens should be accompanied by their legal guardian(s) and/or provide parental consent to get exit visas to depart Yemen.

For more details, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone 202-965-4760; or the Yemen Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. The Yemeni Embassy in Washington maintains a homepage at http://www.yemenembassy.org.

Safety and Security:

The Department of State has received credible reports that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization have planned attacks against U.S. interests in Yemen, and the Department anticipates that continued threats against U.S. citizens in Yemen remain probable.

U.S. citizens are urged to exercise particular caution at locations associated with foreigners, such as the Sanaa Trade Center, American-affiliated franchises, restaurants and shops in the Hadda area of Sanaa, and in Aden and elsewhere, at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa may temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review its security posture and ensure its adequacy.

In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of such objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended and should be kept locked at all times.

U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Americans in Yemen are urged to register and remain in contact with the American Embassy in Sanaa for updated security information (see section on Registration/Embassy location).

In 2002, there was an attack on an American company helicopter, in which there were a few injuries. In 2002, several Americans were killed and another was injured in an attack on a hospital near the city of Ibb. The perpetrators of both attacks were apprehended and prosecuted. Nevertheless, these incidents indicate a continuing level of risk for foreigners in Yemen.

Yemeni government security organizations have arrested and expelled foreign Muslims, including Americans, who have associated with local Muslim organizations considered to be extremist by security organs of the Yemeni government. Americans risk arrest if they engage in either political or other activities that violate the terms of their admission to Yemen.

Travel on roads between cities throughout Yemen can be dangerous. Armed carjacking, especially of four-wheel drive vehicles, occurs in many parts of the country, including the capital.

Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas and the U.S. Embassy sometimes restricts the travel of its own personnel to rural areas. Travel is particularly dangerous in the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Armed tribesmen in those areas have kidnapped a number of foreigners in attempts to resolve disputes with the Yemeni government, with an increasing number of incidents occurring in late 2005.

Travel by boat through the Red Sea or near the Socotra Islands in the Gulf of Aden faces the risk of pirate attacks. If travel to any of these areas is necessary, travelers may reduce the risk to personal security if such travel is undertaken by air or with an armed escort provided by a local tour company.

Americans should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. Increases in the price of diesel fuel and other commodities have resulted in civil disturbances in urban areas. One such price increase in July 2005 led to two days of widespread demonstrations and rioting throughout Sanaa and other cities. The demonstrations resulted in a large amount of property damage, looting, and several roadblocks. Other potential hazards to travelers include land mines and unexploded ordnance from the 1994 civil war. This is of particular concern in areas where fighting took place in the six southern provinces. However, most minefields have been identified and cordoned off.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

The most serious problem affecting travelers to Yemen is carjacking. Travelers have rarely been victims of petty street crime.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Lack of modern medical facilities outside of Sanaa and Aden and an absence of emergency ambulance services throughout the country may cause concern to some visitors. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. An adequate supply of prescription medications for the duration of the trip is important. While many prescription drugs are available in Yemen, a particular drug needed by a visitor may not be available.

Outbreaks of polio and dengue fever were reported throughout the western coastal portions of Yemen in 2005. Although the local Ministry of Health is working on containing the outbreak, the U.S. Mission in Yemen strongly advises all American citizens residing or traveling to Yemen to ensure that they have received all the immunizations recommended by the CDC.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Yemen is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Travel by road in Yemen should be considered risky. Within cities, minivans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles. Taxis and public transportation are widely available but the vehicles may lack safety standards and equipment. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections. While traffic laws exist, they are often not enforced, and/or not adhered to by motorists. Drivers sometimes drive on the left side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. A large number of underage drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack basic parts such as functional turn signals, headlights and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals on the roads constitute a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond the main inter-city roads, which are usually paved and in fair condition, the rural roads in general require four-wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.

Take precaution to avoid minefields left over from Yemen's civil wars. Traveling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving which causes an accident resulting in injury, are a fine and/or prison sentence. If the accident results in death, the driver is subject to a maximum of three years in prison and/or a fine. Under traditional practice, victims' families negotiate a monetary compensation from the driver proportionate to the extent of the injuries—higher if it is a fatality.

Visit the website of Yemen's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at: http://yementourism.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Yemen's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Yemeni laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Yemen are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant "qat" is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Special Circumstances:

Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment or troops, is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.

Travelers should be aware that automatic teller machines (ATMs) are being introduced in major cities but are still not widely available in Yemen. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

The Government of Yemen may not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Yemen and the United States. This may hinder the ability of U.S. consular officials to assist persons who do not enter Yemen on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes or military service. For further information, travelers can contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Yemen.

American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws, customs and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Women in custody disputes in Yemen may not enjoy the same rights that they do in the U.S., as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother. Parents planning to travel to Yemen with their children should bear this in mind. Parents should also note that American custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.

American women who also hold Yemeni nationality, and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men, should also be advised that if they bring their children to Yemen they will not enjoy freedom of travel should they decide they want to leave Yemen. Such women often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody.

American students and workers in Yemen sometimes report that the sponsors of their residence permits seize their U.S. passports as a means of controlling their domestic and international travel. While the sponsors say they seize the passports on behalf of local security services, there is no law or instruction from Yemeni passport or security offices requiring that passports be seized.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Yemen are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Yemen. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967)(1) 303-175. The after-hours emergency number is (967)(1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension). The Embassy is open from Saturday through Wednesday.

Travel Warning

October 28, 2005

This Travel Warning is being issued to provide U.S. citizens updated security information for Yemen. This notice supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued May 6, 2005.

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of traveling to Yemen. The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen, and Americans are urged to exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security.

The Department continues to be concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

U.S. citizens in Yemen should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. Maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure travel documents are current. U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Yemen despite this Travel Warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) in order to obtain updated information on travel and security in Yemen. This can be done online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa advises American citizens in Yemen to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners countrywide and at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there. Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel in Yemen may be prohibited from traveling to sections of Sanaa or other parts of Yemen. The Yemeni government also restricts travel to specified areas by U.S. citizens and other Westerners from time to time. Travelers should be in contact with the Embassy for up-to-date information on such restrictions.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967)(1) 303-175. The after hours emergency number is (967)(1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension).

Current information on travel and security in Yemen may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should consult the Consular Information Sheet for Yemen, the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html.

International Parental Child Abduction

January 2006

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

General Information:

Yemen is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Yemen and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Parents planning to travel with their children to Yemen should bear this in mind.

Custody Disputes:

Cases involving divorce and the custody of minor children are adjudicated in local courts that apply principles of Islamic law. Islamic law will be applied regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents. In Yemen, Islamic law gives priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. However, once the children reach adolescence (age 9 for boys and age 12 for girls), the father can take custody. If the mother refuses, the father can file in court for custody. A court can find a mother unfit to have custody before the children reach adolescence. In that case, a maternal grandmother living in Yemen or a paternal grandmother (if the maternal grandmother is not living in Yemen) will be given custody until the children reach the age at which the father may appeal for custody. In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother's primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence over the rearing of the children, even though he may not have custody.

For example, the mother must seek his approval to depart Yemen with the children. Frequently, the father is actually able to assume custody against the wishes of the mother when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her custodial rights. A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards. The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying a party considered "unmarriageable," or by residing in a home with people who might be "strangers" to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Yemen with the child without the father's approval and the approval of the court.

In general, a Yemeni man divorcing his non-Yemeni wife may be awarded legal custody of their children if the court determines that any of the above conditions have not been met. Under Shari'a law, if a mother removes a child from the father, thus denying him access, the mother's custody rights can be severed. Removal of children from Yemen without the father's permission is a crime in Yemen. Immigration officials at the port of exit may request permission from the father before permitting the children to leave Yemen.

A Yemeni father can remove his children from Yemen without approval of the mother. While a mother can legally seek a travel ban to prevent the father from taking the children out of Yemen, this is not always possible in reality.

Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Yemeni court should retain an attorney in Yemen. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by contacting the Embassy or the U.S. Department of State. U.S. government officials cannot recommend an attorney and make no claim as to the professional ability or integrity of the attorneys on this list. The U.S. government does not pay legal expenses. A copy of this list may be obtained by contacting the following offices. U.S. Embassy Sanaa Dhahr Himyar Zone Sheraton Hotel District P.O. Box 22347 Sanaa, Yemen Phone: (967) (1) 303-155.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments:

Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Yemen if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. For example, an order from a U.S. court granting custody to an American mother may not be honored in Yemen if the mother intends to take the child to live outside Yemen. Courts in Yemen will not enforce U.S. court decrees ordering a parent in Yemen to pay child support.

Visitation Rights:

The government of Yemen will assist non-custodial parents who wish to visit their children in Yemen. When the custodial parent refuses to permit visitation, the non-custodial parent will need to file a complaint in local court.

Dual Nationality:

Dual nationality is recognized under Yemeni law. Children of Yemeni fathers automatically acquire Yemeni citizenship at birth, regardless of where the child was born. Yemeni women can only transmit citizenship in rare instances when there is official intervention from the Yemen government. Yemenis are not required to enter and leave the country on Yemeni passports.

Travel Restrictions:

Parents can obtain an order from a local court preventing the other parent from taking a child out of Yemen, regardless of the child's nationality, when there is a custody dispute before the local court.

Criminal Remedies:

For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the web site of http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.orgthe U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org.

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues at 202-736-7000, visit the State Department website on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov, or send a nine-by-twelve-inch, self-addressed envelope to: Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520-2818; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-2

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Yemenis

35 Bibliography

Republic of Yemen Al-Jumhuriyah al-Yamaniyah

CAPITAL: San’a’

FLAG: The national flag is a tricolor of red, white, and black horizontal stripes.

ANTHEM: Al-Watani (Peace to the Land).

MONETARY UNIT: The Yemeni riyal (yr) is a paper currency of 100 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 fils and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 riyals. yr1 = $0.00519 (or $1 = yr192.67) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is being introduced, but local measures remain in common use.

HOLIDAYS: Labor Day, 1 May; Day of National Unity, 22 May; National Day, 14 October; Independence Day, 30 November. Movable Muslim holidays include Laylat al-Miraj, ‘Id al-Fitr, ‘Id al-’Adha’, Milad an-Nabi, and 1st of Muharram.

TIME: 3 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Yemen, located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of Wyoming, with a total area of 527,970 square kilometers (203,849 square miles). The country shares borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman, with a total land boundary length of 1,746 kilometers (1,085 miles) plus a coastline (Gulf of ‘Aden and Red Sea) of 1,906 kilometers (1,184 miles). Şan’ā’, the capital, is in the western part of the country.

2 Topography

The topography of Yemen features a narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains. Dissected upland desert plains in the center of the country slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The highest known point is the summit of Jabal Hadhur, rising 3,760 meters (12,337 feet) above the Red Sea coast. The hill region of Hadhramawt lies along the southern coast. The western part of the country contains fertile soil in its highland plateaus, which rise from about 1,200–3,000 meters (4,000–10,000 feet).

A system of wadis drains the mountain slopes into the desert and into the Gulf of ‘Aden. The longest of these is Wadi Hadhramawt, which has

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 527,970 sq km (203,849 sq mi)

Size ranking: 48 of 194

Highest elevation: 3,760 meters (12,337 feet) at Jabal Hadhur (Jabal an Nabi Shu′ayb)

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Arabian Sea

Land Use*

Arable land: 3%

Permanent crops: 0%

Other: 97%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 41 centimeters (16 inches)

Average temperature in January: 25.5°c (77.9°f)

Average temperature in July: 32.2°c (90.0°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

a total length of 240 kilometers (149 miles). The manmade Marib Reservoir is the largest lake in the country, covering an area of about 30 square kilometers (12 square miles); its total area shrinks during the dry seasons.

3 Climate

Extreme humidity combines with high temperatures—as high as 54°c (129°f) in the shade—to produce a stiflingly hot climate in parts of the country. The climate of the highlands is generally considered the best in Arabia, however, with temperatures averaging between 32°c (90°f) in July to 25.5°c (77.9°f) in January. Annual rainfall in the highlands ranges from 41–81 centimeters (16–32 inches).

4 Plants and Animals

Vegetation is sparse along the coast but plentiful in the highlands and wadis. Acacia, date palm, and many fruit trees are common. Many varieties of grapes are cultivated. Custard apple, euphorbia, and spurge grow in abundance. Alpine roses, balsam, basil, wild elder, and Judas tree are among the flowers and herbs. Wild mammals include the baboon, gazelle, leopard, and mountain hare. Scorpions and millipedes are everywhere, but snakes are less common. Many varieties of birds are found, including the bustard, hawk, vulture, raven, parrot, hornbill, honeysucker, and weaver finch. More than 27,000 varieties of insects and over 600 specimens of flowering plants have been collected in Yemen.

5 Environment

Yemen’s main environmental problems are water shortages, soil erosion, and desertification. Water pollution is a problem due to contaminants from the oil industry, untreated sewage, and salinization. Natural forests in mountainous areas have

been destroyed by agricultural clearing and livestock overgrazing.

As of 2006, 6 mammal species, 14 bird species, and 159 species of plants are listed as threatened. Endangered species include the northern bald ibis, South Arabian leopard, slender-billed curlew, and two species of turtle (green sea and hawksbill). The Queen of Sheba’s gazelle and the Saudi Gazelle have become extinct in the wild.

6 Population

The population of Yemen was estimated at 20.7 million in 2005, with a projected population

of 39.6 million for the year 2025. During the 1990s, the population increased by an average of 2.3% a year. Recent estimates place the population density at 39 persons per square kilometer (102 per square mile). The largest metropolitan areas in 2005 were Ta’izz, with 2.4 million people, and Al Hudaydah, with 2 million residents. Şan’ā’, the capital, had a population of 1.5 million in 2005. ‘Aden, the chief port and capital of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, had a population of 568,700 in 2005.

7 Migration

Many people from the Wadi Hadhramawt in southern Yemen work abroad in East Africa, India, and Indonesia. Following independence and the establishment of a leftist regime in the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, more than 300,000 people fled to the north and virtually all minority groups left the country. In 1998 and 1999, Yemen experienced a significant influx of Somali asylum seekers, who fled their country for economic reasons. They were accommodated in a refugee camp in Al Ghahain, near ‘Aden. In 2004, there were 66,384 refugees in Yemen, most from Somalia. Other refugees were mainly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Middle Eastern countries. The estimated net migration rate in 2005 was zero.

8 Ethnic Groups

Since independence, the population has been almost entirely Arab; however, there are some Afro-Arabs in western coastal locations, South Asians in southern regions, and Europeans in major metropolitan areas. Classified as Joktanic Semites, the Yemenis claim descent from Himyar, great-grandson of Joktan, who, according to the book of Genesis, was descended from Shem, the son of Noah. The history of the Yemenite Jews predates by centuries the Islamic Hegira (ad 622). How they came to settle in the region has not been determined. About 2–5% of the population are Akhdam, a group that is considered to be the lowest social class.

9 Languages

Arabic, the national language, is spoken in a variety of dialects. In vocabulary and other features, there is a considerable difference between the classical language used for writing and formal speaking and the spoken dialect used for ordinary discourse. Traces of the ancient South Arabian languages spoken prior to the coming of Muhammad appear in the dialects of the more remote districts of southern Yemen. Mahri, a rare and relatively unstudied language of unknown origins, is spoken in the east. English is widely understood in the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

10 Religions

The Republic of Yemen is a Muslim country. Almost all of the inhabitants are Sunnis of the Shaf’i school, one of the four major schools of Islamic law. They reside chiefly in the coastal plains and the southwestern part of the country. Most of those remaining are Shias of the Zaydi sect, who live in the highlands. This sect, originating in the ninth century, takes its name from Zayd bin ‘Ali (d. 740), a descendant of Muhammad; its doctrine is very similar to Sunni Islam. In addition, there is a small minority of Ismailis, members of another Shia sect.

Nearly all of the country’s once sizable Jewish population has emigrated. There are no legal restrictions on the few hundred who remain, although there are traditional restrictions on places of residence and choice of employment. About 500 Jews live in the villages between Şan’ā’ and Şa’dah in northern Yemen. There are also small Christian and Hindu communities. In remote areas there is still evidence of shamanism, animism (spirit worship), and other indigenous forms of religion.

11 Transportation

By 2002, Yemen had about 69,263 kilometers (43,040 miles) of roadway, of which only 9,963 kilometers (6,191 miles) were paved. Passenger cars numbered 290,208 in 2003, and there were 331,410 commercial vehicles. There are no railways or waterways in Yemen. The main port is Al Hudaydah. Yemen Airways (Alyemda), the national airline, operates services between Şan’ā’, Ta’izz, and Al Hudaydah and also schedules flights to Egypt, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The airline carried 844,000 passengers in 2003. The principal airfield is Ar-Rahba International Airport, north of Şan’ā’.

12 History

For thousands of years before the Christian era, present-day Yemen was the site of a series of wealthy kingdoms that dominated world trade. The kingdom of Sheba (tenth to second centuries bc) is the best known of these. Ethiopian Christians invaded in ad 525, followed by Persians 50 years later. Islam was accepted in the next century, and Yemen became the battleground of various Muslim religious factions.

In the 9th century, a Zaydi ruler, Yahya al-Hadi ila’l Haqq, founded a line of imams that survived until the second half of the 20th century. The Ottoman Turks overran the country in 1517 and maintained varying degrees of control over it for the next 400 years. By the 20th century, however, they controlled only the northwestern part, which they evacuated at the close of World War I (1914–18), leaving the current Zaydi imam in power. This area, although only part of present-day Yemen, was called Yemen at the time.

British Influence Meanwhile, the British had established a presence in the southern part of the region in the 19th century, first occupying ‘Aden in 1839. The port was used as a refueling station on the route to India and then became a major trading center after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

To protect its foothold in ‘Aden, the United Kingdom had signed agreements with rulers of the surrounding tribes and states, grouping them into two separate protectorates. In 1959, the United Kingdom formed the six states of the western protectorate into the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South. In 1963, ‘Aden was merged into the federation, which later became known as the Federation of South Arabia. The dispute over the future form and direction of this new political unit, as well as over which other states would join it, resulted in several years of violence, as various political parties and other groups struggled for power.

On 30 November 1967, all the states of the protectorates were combined, the last British soldiers withdrew, and the National Liberation Front (NLF) took control, declaring the independence of the People’s Republic of South Yemen. On 22 June 1969, the head of the NLF was ousted by a group of young leftists within the organization. The new regime, headed by a five-person council, renamed the country the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), developed close ties with the Soviet Union, and secured economic aid from it and China.

Meanwhile, in the north, Yemen (the formerly Turkish-controlled area) joined the League of Arab States in 1945, and, in 1958, formed a federation with the newly established United Arab Republic (UAR), comprised of Egypt and Syria. In December 1961, however, this union was dissolved.

Period of Civil Strife In September 1962, Yemen’s royal government was overthrown by revolutionary forces that established the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). A civil war between the royalists (defenders of the imam) and the republican government lasted until 1970, involving other nearby Arab states. Saudi Arabia supported the royalist cause, and Egypt came to the assistance of the republic, dispatching up to 70,000 troops to the YAR. The republican government remained in control.

Following its formation in 1969, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) in the north was involved in conflicts with all three of its neighbors. A separatist movement was supported in Oman; there were border skirmishes with Saudi forces in 1969 and 1973; and the PDRY fought a brief war with the YAR in February–March 1979. The war with YAR ended with a truce, mediated by the Arab League, and an agreement in principle to seek unification of the two Yemens.

Movement toward unification proceeded, although with numerous delays, throughout the 1980s. It was slowed by internal problems in each country, including a 1986 civil war in the PDRY that set back relations between the two countries, especially since 50,000 refugees fled to the YAR. Both governments later confirmed their commitment to unity.

Unification On 22 May 1990, the unified Republic of Yemen was proclaimed. A 30-month transition period was set for unifying the different political and economic systems. The army, police, and civil service were never integrated as planned, however. Meanwhile, the economy was damaged by the consequences of Yemen’s support for Iraq after that country invaded Kuwait. It is estimated that Saudi Arabia expelled between 80,000–1,000,000 Yemeni workers, thus depriving Yemen of some $3 billion in foreign exchange. In addition, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf states suspended $2 billion in foreign aid. Unemployment in Yemen reached 30%.

Free and fair parliamentary elections were held in April 1992, with President Saleh’s General People’s Congress just missing a majority victory. A three-party coalition was formed, but it started to come apart in late 1993. Although the quarrel appeared to be patched up with an agreement in February 1994, fighting broke out in May of that year.

In a few months, thousands of casualties had been suffered; tribes, clans, and militias sought conflicting goals, and the city of ‘Aden was under siege. Some observers attributed the civil conflict to the recent discovery of massive oil reserves in the south and to Saudi Arabia’s interest in weakening Yemen by promoting the breakup of the union. By July 1994, the north had conquered the rebellious south and had begun restoring order. The economy had severely declined. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank stepped in after the war, implementing programs to reduce inflation, from a high of 90% to under 10%.

In July 1998 there was a military skirmish with Saudi Arabia because of an ongoing border dispute. Both countries claimed Duwaima Island and two other small but strategic islands in the Red Sea. Saudi ships shelled the island, but Yemeni forces later regained control.

In September 1999, President Ali Abdullah Saleh was reelected in Yemen’s first direct presidential election. Charges of fraud were made by the opposition.

On 12 October 2000, two suicide bombers detonated a small boat containing explosives alongside the USS Cole as it was refueling in ‘Aden harbor. As a result, 17 U.S. sailors were killed and 39 others were wounded. The terrorist organization al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden praised the attack. Bin Laden, whose father was of Yemeni origin, had been indicted by the United States for the 1998 bombings of

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Ali Abdallah Saleh

Position: President of a republic

Took Office: 22 May 1990

Birthplace: Bayt al-Ahmar, Yemen

Birthdate: 21 March 1942

Religion: Islam

Children: Five children

the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, attributed by al-Qaeda, the United States focused attention on governments, including Yemen, thought to be responsible for harboring and supporting terrorists. In June 2001, Yemeni officials arrested nine men believed to be linked with the Islamic Army of ‘Aden, a fundamentalist group linked to bin Laden, charging them with planning and carrying out the 2000 attack on the Cole.

In November 2001, President Saleh met with President Bush, assuring him that Yemen was a partner with the United States in the war on terrorism. On 6 October 2002, the French oil tanker Limburg was the target of a terrorist attack in the Gulf of ‘Aden, which killed one crewmember and released 90,000 barrels of oil. An explosive-laden boat hit the tanker, in an attack that was similar to the one on the USS Cole.

In December 2002, a North Korean freighter disguised as a Cambodian ship was intercepted in the Arabian Sea and seized at gunpoint by the U.S. Navy and Spanish marines. The vessel was carrying a shipment, bound for Yemen, of scud missiles and warheads. President Bush ordered the shipment released after concluding the Yemen–North Korean deal was conducted on a legal basis.

In the summer of 2004, government forces battled supporters of an anti-American Shia cleric, Hussein al-Houthi, in the northern part of the country. Estimates of the dead ranged from 80–600. In July 2005, scores of people across the country were killed in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting a reduction in fuel subsidiaries.

13 Government

The 1990 unity constitution established a political system based on free, multiparty elections. During the transitional period, a presidential council was created with five members, three from the north and two from the south, to oversee executive operations. In 1998, the council appointed a prime minister, who picked a 38-member cabinet. A 301-member parliament also was formed. Constitutional amendments in 1994 provided that the president would be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature.

On 20 February 2001, new constitutional amendments extended the presidential term of office from five to seven years, and extended the parliamentary term of office to six years. The president may now serve a maximum of two seven-year terms. A two-chamber legislature was created, consisting of an upper house, the Consultative Council or Shura Council, with 111 seats appointed by the president; and a House of Representatives, composed of 301 members elected by popular vote.

The unified government established 17 governorates, subdivided into districts. There are currently 20 governorates and 326 district municipalities. The government has taken steps to implement decentralization. Municipal elections were held for the first time in February 2001.

14 Political Parties

The Yemen Social Party (YSP)—originally called the National Liberation Front—was the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen’s only political party, and it survived to represent southern interests in the unified Yemen. Before unification, political parties played no role in North Yemen. Tribal allegiances were more important than political factors.

After unity, the northern leader, General Saleh, formed the General People’s Congress (GPC), which became the country’s largest party. The second-largest bloc in the parliament was held by the Islaah Party, a fusion of tribal and Islamic interests that opposed the unity constitution because it did not sufficiently adhere to Islamic principles. At least 40 smaller parties have been active in the politics of unified Yemen.

In the April 1997 legislative election, the GPC won a landslide victory and no longer governed in coalition with Islaah. The YSP boycotted the April 1997 legislative election. As of 2005, the active parties were GPC, Islaah, YSP, Nasserite Unionist Party, and the National Arab Socialist Ba’th Party. The GPC once again dominated the April 2003 legislative elections with 238 of 301 seats, while Islaah took 46 seats. The YSP held eight seats.

In September 1999, Yemen conducted the first direct presidential elections ever held on the Arabian peninsula. Longtime president Saleh captured 96.3% of the vote; Najeeb Qahtan al-Shaabi, his only opponent, won 3.7% of the vote. Led by the YSP, a coalition of opposition groups boycotted this election.

15 Judicial System

Under a 1991 decree, the separate judicial systems of the former Yemeni Arab Republic and the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen were unified at the Supreme Court level. There are courts of first instance, which hear civil, criminal, commercial, and family matters. Decisions can be appealed to courts of appeal. All laws are codified from Shariah, or Islamic law. There are no jury trials.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the active armed forces of Yemen numbered 66,700. The army numbered 60,000, the navy had 1,700 personnel, and the air force had 5,000 members. The paramilitary security forces

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

numbered 70,000. Yemen’s defense budget in 2005 totaled $942 million.

17 Economy

The unification in 1990 of North and South Yemen posed the immediate challenge of merging two different economies. When Yemen aligned itself with Iraq during the Persian Gulf War (1991), Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Yemen’s main aid donors and hosts to large numbers of Yemeni workers and their families, ended the Yemenis’ privileged status.

After the Gulf crisis, Yemen was confronted with high unemployment (perhaps as high as 25 to 30%), lost income, halving of U.S. military aid, a sharp cutback in U.S. foreign aid programs, and other canceled foreign assistance. Yemen also faced the rising cost of food imports and social services for the returnees, totaling about $500 million. In addition, the civil conflict in 1994 between the north and south increased the need for external aid.

In 1995, the government began a five-year program that removed all controls on the exchange rate. Trade policy reform, privatization, and elimination of price controls also began.

Crude oil is now a significant sector of the economy, with exports accounting for more than 80% of total export value. In 2005, the government approved three liquefied natural gas supply agreements for 6.7 million tons per year.

Yemen’s GDP grew 2.8% in 2005. The inflation rate in 2005 was estimated at 9.6%. Yemen is one of the 25 poorest and least economically developed countries in the world, with about a third of its population living in poverty.

18 Income

In 2005, Yemen’s GDP was reported to be $17.2 billion, or about $800 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.8%.

19 Industry

In northern Yemen, industry has been based on food processing, but there is a heavy reliance on imported raw materials. Building materials, textiles, leather wear, jewelry, and glass making are other industries in the north. The largest industry in southern Yemen is petroleum refining. Southern industries also include clothing, processed food, metal products, soap, and perfumes. In 2005, industry accounted for 47% of gross domestic product.

In 2005, Yemen’s total oil refinery capacity was 130,000 barrels per day, with most of the total coming from the 120,000-barrels-perday capacity ‘Aden refinery and the rest from a 10,000-barrel-per-day refinery at Marib. Yemen’s considerable natural gas reserves have not been developed.

As of 2006, the government was preparing a new investment plan to utilize Yemen’s fish wealth, to attract Arab and foreign investment to the sector. There were 36 sites identified for fish cultivation.

20 Labor

In 2005, Yemen’s workforce was estimated at 5.8 million. The Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions, the country’s only labor confederation, had 350,000 members belonging to 14 unions in 2002. There exists a limited right to strike.

There is no nationally fixed minimum wage. Average wages do not provide a family with a decent standard of living. Although children under the age of 15 years are prohibited from working, child labor is common, especially in rural areas.

21 Agriculture

Agriculture is an important part of the economy, accounting for about 14% of the gross domestic product in 2003. Employment in the agricultural sector accounts for more than 50% of the workforce, but only 3% of the land area is arable. As of 2004, Yemen imported $947 million in agricultural products.

Traditionally, Yemen has been famous for its coffee, shipped from the port of Al-Mukha, from which the English word mocha derives. The main cash crop is qat, a mild stimulant chewed by many Yemenis on a daily basis, but not exported significantly because it is highly perishable. Annual agriculture output in 2004

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

included approximately 263,000 tons of sorghum, 248,000 tons of tomatoes, 105,000 tons of wheat, 169,000 tons of grapes, 99,000 tons of bananas, 29,000 tons of seed cotton, 19,000 tons of sesame seed, 11,000 tons of coffee, and 9,900 tons of cotton.

22 Domesticated Animals

Animal farming is an important part of the economy. In 2001, the livestock population was estimated at 5 million sheep, 4.45 million goats, 1.4 million head of cattle, 500,000 donkeys, and 198,000 camels. Yemen produces about 95% of its annual consumption of eggs and is emerging as a significant producer of broilers (chicken meat). About 87,000 tons of poultry were marketed by eight companies in 2005. About 32,000 tons of eggs were sold that year.

23 Fishing

Fishermen work along the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea coasts. The annual fish catch in 2003 was about 159,000 tons. Principal species included Indian and Spanish mackerel, cuttlefish, lobster, and scavengers. Fish-processing plants are located at Al-Hudaydah and Al-Mukalla. In 2003, exports of fish and fish products were valued at $56.7 million. Pearl and coral diving have been practiced for centuries.

24 Forestry

Forests once covered Yemen, but overgrazing by goats and the systematic cutting of timber for fuel and construction have almost completely eliminated the forest cover, especially in the south. Roundwood production in 2004 totaled 352,700 cubic meters (12.5 million cubic feet), with all of it used for fuel. Lumber imports amounted to $86.1 million.

25 Mining

Until the recent discovery of petroleum, the mineral industry had been limited to the production of cement, dimension stone, gypsum, and salt. In 2004, mineral production included 1.5 million tons of cement, 44,000 tons of gypsum, and 120,000 tons of salt. Marble and other dimension stones were also quarried.

26 Foreign Trade

Oil accounts for 90% of Yemen’s exports. Yemen also exports fish products and coffee. Yemen imports food, industrial supplies, machinery, transportation equipment, and consumer goods.

Principal trading partners include China, Thailand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, and India.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

27 Energy and Power

In 2005, crude oil production amounted to 416,000 barrels per day. Proven oil reserves as of 1 January 2005 were 4 billion barrels. Yemen also had natural gas reserves estimated at 16.9 trillion cubic feet. Total electricity production was 3.8 billion kilowatt-hours in 2003.

28 Social Development

While the government has expanded its role in providing assistance, traditional means still prevail. Families and tribes care for their members who are sick, handicapped, unemployed, widowed, or orphaned. Those without family or tribal ties beg or have recourse to Islamic pious foundations (waqfs).

The state operates orphanages and finances other welfare measures. A provident fund system provides old-age, disability, survivor, and workers’ compensation benefits.

Women have limited access to education, although women in the south typically have a higher level of education than those in the north. Polygamy is legal, and child marriage is common. Females are required to get permission from a male family member before traveling, and they are rarely allowed to travel unescorted. Women are permitted to vote, but social customs discourage most women from becoming politically active.

29 Health

Malnutrition and the diseases associated with it are major health problems. Malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery, whooping cough, measles, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, and typhoid fever are widespread, and sewage disposal of the most primitive type constitutes a general health hazard. Civil conflict in July 1994 created a shortage of water, food, and medical supplies in ‘Aden, exacerbating health problems. In 2004, there were an estimated 30 physicians and 45 nurses per 100,000 people.

Life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 61.8 years; the infant mortality rate in 2005 was 61.5 per 1,000 live births.

As of 2004, there were approximately 1,200 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

About one-fourth of urban housing units are huts, tents, or other makeshift structures. In the hot coastal region, most dwellings are straw

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorYemen Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$810 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate3.7% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land39 803032
Life expectancy in years: male60 587675
female63 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people0.3 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)30 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)50% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people308 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people9 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)289 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)0.63 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

huts. In the highlands, the poorer people live in huts of stone or baked brick. Wealthier Yemenis live in large houses whose upper parts, which may rise from two to eight stories, are usually of baked brick with windows outlined in decorative designs. Results from the 2004 census indicated that there were 2.9 million dwelling units in the country. There were, on average, 7.1 people per household.

31 Education

Basic education is compulsory for nine years. This may be followed by three years of secondary education, through which students either choose to attend a general school or a technical school. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school averaged 30 to 1 in 2000. An estimated 72% of primary-school-aged children enroll in school, while 34.5% of those eligible attend secondary school.

There are two universities: Şan’ā’ University (founded in 1970) and the University of ‘Aden (established in 1975). Total university enrollment is approximately 65,000. In addition, over 2,000 Yemenis are being educated at foreign universities.

As of 2005, the adult literacy rate has been estimated at 50%.

32 Media

The Ministry of Information owns or controls all media. Two-way radio broadcasts link Yemen directly with Cairo and Rome. Telephone and telegraph facilities are available in major cities, and modern dial telephone systems have been installed in Şan’ā’, Ta’izz, and Al-Hudaydah. In 2003, there were about 28 mainline telephones and 35 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The government operates several radio stations and two television networks, one of them partly commercial. As of 1999, there were four AM and one FM station and seven television broadcast stations. In 2003, Yemen had 65 radios for every 1,000 people. In 2005, there were 308 televisions for every 1,000 people. In 2001, there were 14,000 Internet subscribers.

In 2004, there were 6 government-controlled newspapers, 19 independent papers, and 14 party affiliated newspapers. In 2002, the three major daily newspapers were: Al-Thawrah (circulation 110,000), published in Şan’ā’; AlJumhuriyah (100,000), in Ta’izz; and Ar-Rabi Ashar Min Uktubar (20,000), published in ‘Aden. The English-language weekly, Yemen Times, has a circulation of 20,000.

The constitution restricts free expression.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Tourists can visit historic and religious sites (such as the Ghumdau Palace and the Great Mosque in Şan’ā’), exotic markets, and scenic areas including the Red Sea coast. In 2003, there were 154,667 tourist arrivals. There were 13,280 hotel rooms with 33,816 beds.

34 Famous Yemenis

Imam Yahya ibn Muhammad Hamid ad-Din (1869?–1948) ruled during the period when Yemen established its independence. ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh (1942–) became president of the Yemeni Arab Republic (YAR) in 1978, ending a period of upheaval during which his two immediate predecessors were assassinated. Field Marshal ‘Abdallah as-Sallal (1920–1994) was the first president of the YAR and held power from 1962 until a coup ousted him in 1967. ‘Ali Nasir Muhammad al-Hasani (1940?–) was prime minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDYR) in 1980 and president from 1980 to 1986. Haydar Abu Bakr al’Attas (1939–) was prime minister of the PDYR during 1985–86.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Burrowes, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Yemen. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1995.

Hestler, Anna. Yemen. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1999.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: The Unknown Arabia. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2000.

Marcovitz, Hal. Yemen. Philadelphia: Mason Crest Publishers, 2004.

Romano, Amy. A Historical Atlas of Yemen. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 2004.

Searight, Sarah. Yemen: Land and People. London: Pallas Athene, 2002.

Weber, Sandra. Yemen. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003.

WEB SITES

Aquastat. www.fao.org/ag/Agl/AGLW/aquastat/countries/yemen/index.stm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Analysis Briefs. www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Yemen/Background.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/c2423.htm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.yemen.gov.ye/egov/egov-english/index.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ye. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

"Yemen." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

Compiled from the January 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Yemen

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-YEMEN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 527,970 sq. km. (203,796 sq. mi.); about the size of California and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Sanaa. Other cities—Aden, Taiz, Hodeida, and alMukalla.

Terrain: Mountainous interior bordered by desert with a flat and sandy coastal plain.

Climate: Temperate in the mountainous regions in the western part of the country, extremely hot with minimal rainfall in the remainder of the country. Humid on the coast.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Yemeni(s).

Population: (2004 est.) 19.8 million.

Annual growth rate: 3%.

Ethnic groups: Predominantly Arab.

Religions: Islam, small numbers of Jews, Christians, and Hindus.

Language: Arabic.

Education: Attendance (2004 est.)—80% for boys at the primary level and 50% for girls. Attendance was 55% for boys at the secondary level and 22% for girls. Literacy (2004 est.)—49% overall, including 30% of females.

Health: Infant mortality rate—82/1,000 live births. Life expectancy—58 years.

Work force: (by sector) Agriculture—53%; public services—17%; manufacturing—4%; construction—7%; percentage of total population—25%.

Government

Type: Republic; unification (of former south and north Yemen) May 22, 1990.

Constitution: Adopted May 21, 1990 and ratified May 1991.

Government branches: Executive—president, and prime minister with cabinet. Legislative—bicameral legislature with 111-seat Shura Council and 301-seat House of Representatives. Judicial—the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Political subdivisions: 18 governorates subdivided into districts.

Political parties: General People’s Congress (GPC), Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islah), Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP)

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

National holiday: May 22 (Unity Day).

Economy

GDP: (2004 est.) $12.8 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2004 est.) $646.46.

Natural resources: Oil, natural gas, fish and seafood, rock salt, minor deposits of coal and copper.

Agriculture: (est. 14.3% of GDP) Products—qat (a shrub containing a natural amphetamine), coffee, cotton, fruits, vegetables, cereals, livestock and poultry. Arable land (est.)—3%.

Industry: (est. 66% of GDP) Types—petroleum refining, mining, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

Trade: Exports (2004)—$3.9 billion: crude petroleum, refined oil products, seafood, fruits, vegetables, hides, tobacco products. Major markets—China, Thailand, India South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates. Imports (2004)—$3.9 billion: petroleum products, cereals, feed grains, foodstuffs, machinery, transportation equipment, iron, sugar honey. Major suppliers—United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United States, India, China, France, Switzerland.

Exchange rate: (4th quarter, 2005) Market rate 182.55 rials per U.S. $1. The Yemeni rial (YR) floats freely based on an average of foreign currencies. Since the floating of the YR, the market usually reflects the official rate of exchange.

PEOPLE

Unlike other people of the Arabian Peninsula who have historically been nomads or semi-nomads, Yemenis are almost entirely sedentary and live in small villages and towns scattered throughout the highlands and coastal regions.

Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: the Shia Zaidi sect, found in the north and northwest, and the Shafa’i school of Sunni Muslims, found in the south and southeast. Yemenis are mainly of Semitic origin, although African strains are present among inhabitants of the coastal region. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood in major cities. In the Mahra area (the extreme east), several non-Arabic languages are spoken. When the former states of north and south Yemen were established, most resident minority groups departed.

HISTORY

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, the former north Yemen came under control of Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. (Imam is a religious term. The Shi’ites apply it to the prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, his sons Hassan and Hussein, and subsequent lineal descendants, whom they consider to have been divinely ordained unclassified successors of the prophet.)

Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of north Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted control over south Yemen.

Former North Yemen

Ottoman control was largely confined to cities with the Imam’s suzerainty over tribal areas formally recognized. Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya strengthened his control over north Yemen. Yemen became a member of the Arab league in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947.

Imam Yahya died during an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1948 and was succeeded by his son Ahmad, who ruled until his death in September 1962. Imam Ahmad’s reign was marked by growing repression, renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south, and growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.

Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad’s son, Badr, was deposed by revolutionary forces, which took control of Sanaa and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Imamate. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr’s royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn. By 1968, following a final royalist siege of Sanaa, most of the opposing leaders reached a reconciliation; Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.

Former South Yemen

British influence increased in the south and eastern portion of Yemen after the British captured the port of Aden in 1839. It was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when Aden was made a crown colony with the remaining land designated as east Aden and west Aden protectorates. By 1965, most of the tribal states within the protectorates and the Aden colony proper had joined to form the British-sponsored federation of south Arabia.

In 1965, two rival nationalist groups—the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) and the National Liberation Front (NLF)—turned to terrorism in their struggle to control the country. In 1967, in the face of uncontrollable violence, British troops began withdrawing, federation rule collapsed, and NLF elements took control after eliminating their FLOSY rivals. South Arabia, including Aden, was declared independent on November 30, 1967, and was renamed the People’s Republic of South Yemen. In June 1969, a radical wing of the Marxist NLF gained power and changed the country’s name on December 1, 1970, to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and radical Palestinians.

Republic of Yemen

In 1972, the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union. However, little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained. In 1979, simmering tensions led to fighting, which was only resolved after Arab League mediation. The northern and southern heads of state reaffirmed the goal of unity during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979. However, that same year the PDRY began sponsoring an insurgency against the YAR. In April 1980, PDRY President Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less intervention-ist stance toward both the YAR and neighboring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle began in Aden between Ali Nasir Muhammad and the returned Abdul Fattah Ismail and their supporters. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir’s ouster, and Ismail’s death. Some 60,000 persons, including Ali Nasir and his supporters, fled to the YAR.

In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.

In November 1989, the leaders of the YAR (Ali Abdullah Saleh) and the PDRY (Ali Salim Al-Bidh) agreed on a draft unity constitution originally drawn up in 1981. The Republic of Yemen (ROY) was declared on May 22, 1990. Ali Abdullah Saleh became President, and Ali Salim Al-Bidh became Vice President. A 30-month transitional period for completing the unification of the two political and economic systems was set. A presidential council was jointly elected by the 26-member YAR advisory council and the 17-member PDRY presidium. The presidential council appointed a Prime Minister, who formed a Cabinet. There was also a 301-seat provisional unified Parliament, consisting of 159 members from the north, 111 members from the south, and 31 independent members appointed by the chairman of the council.

A unity constitution was agreed upon in May 1990 and ratified by the populace in May 1991. It affirmed Yemen’s commitment to free elections, a multiparty political system, the right to own private property, equality under the law, and respect of basic human rights. Parliamentary elections were held on April 27, 1993. International groups assisted in the organization of the elections and observed actual balloting. The resulting Parliament included 143 GPC, 69 YSP, 63 Islah (Yemeni grouping for reform, a party composed of various tribal and religious groups). The head of Islah, Paramount Hashid Sheik Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, is the speaker of Parliament.

Islah was invited into the ruling coalition, and the presidential council was altered to include one Islah member. Conflicts within the coalition resulted in the self-imposed exile of Vice President Ali Salim Al-Bidh to Aden beginning in August 1993 and a deterioration in the general security situation as political rivals settled scores and tribal elements took advantage of the unsettled situation.

Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas (former southern Prime Minister) continued to serve as the ROY Prime Minister, but his government was ineffective due to political infighting. Continuous negotiations between northern and southern leaders resulted in the signing of the document of pledge and accord in Amman, Jordan on February 20, 1994. Despite this, clashes intensified until civil war broke out in early May 1994.

Almost all of the actual fighting in the 1994 civil war occurred in the southern part of the country despite air and missile attacks against cities and major installations in the north. Southerners sought support from neighboring states and received billions of dollars of equipment and financial assistance. The United States strongly supported Yemeni unity, but repeatedly called for a cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table. Various attempts, including by a UN special envoy, were unsuccessful in bringing about a cease-fire.

Southern leaders declared secession and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) on May 21, 1994, but the DRY was not recognized by the international community. Ali Nasir Muhammad supporters greatly assisted military operations against the secessionists and Aden was captured on July 7, 1994. Other resistance quickly collapsed and thousands of southern leaders and military went into exile.

Early during the fighting, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced a general amnesty, which applied to everyone except a list of 16 persons. Most southerners returned to Yemen after a short exile.

An armed opposition was announced from Saudi Arabia, but no significant incidents within Yemen materialized. The government prepared legal cases against four southern leaders—Ali Salim Al- Bidh, Haydar Abu Bakr AlAttas, Abd Al-Rahman Ali Al-Jifri, and Salih Munassar Al-Siyali—for misappropriation of official funds. Others on the list of 16 were told informally they could return to take advantage of the amnesty, but most remained outside Yemen. Although many of Ali Nasir Muhammad’s followers were appointed to senior governmental positions (including Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Governor of Aden), Ali Nasir Muhammad himself remained abroad in Syria.

In the aftermath of the civil war, YSP leaders within Yemen reorganized the party and elected a new politburo in July 1994. However, the party remained disheartened and without its former influence. Islah held a party convention in September 1994. The GPC did the same in June 1995. In 1994, amendments to the unity constitution eliminated the presidential council. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected by Parliament on October 1, 1994 to a 5-year term. In April 1997, Yemen held its second multiparty parliamentary elections. The country held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a 5-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections.

Constitutional amendments adopted in the summer of 2000 extended the presidential term by 2 years, thus moving the next presidential elections to 2006. The constitution provides that henceforth the President will be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. The amendments also extended the parliamentary term of office to a 6-year term, thus moving elections for these seats to 2003. On February 20, 2001, a new constitutional amendment created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote). In April 2003, the third multiparty parliamentary elections were held with improvements in voter registration for both men and women and in a generally free and fair atmosphere. Two women were elected.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Yemen is a republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected president, an elected 301-seat House of Representatives, and an appointed 111-member Shura Council share power. The president is head of state, and the prime minister is head of government. The constitution provides that the president be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates endorsed by Parliament; the prime minister is appointed by the president. The presidential term of office is 7 years, and the parliamentary term of elected office is 6 years. Suffrage is universal over 18.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected in 1999; the next presidential elections are scheduled for 2006. In April 2003 parliamentary elections, the General People’s Congress (GPC) maintained an absolute majority. International observers judged elections to be generally free and fair, and there was a marked decrease from previous years in election-related violence; however, there were some problems with underage voting, confiscation of ballot boxes, voter intimidation, and election-related violence. The constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/23/2006

President: Ali Abdallah SALIH

Vice President: Abd al-Rab Mansur alHADI, Maj. Gen.

Prime Minister: Abd al-Qadir BA JAMAL

Dep. Prime Minister: Rashid Muhammad al-ALIMI

Dep. Prime Min.: Alawi Salah al-SALAMI

Dep. Prime Min.: Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-SUFAN

Min. of Agriculture & Irrigation: Jalal Ibrahim FAKAIRA

Min. of Cabinet Affairs: Salim alAYDARUS

Min. of Civil Service & Social Security: Hamud Khalid Naji al-SUFI

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Abd al-Malik alMUALIMI

Min. of Construction, Housing, & Urban Planning: Abdallah Husayn al-DAFA

Min. of Culture: Khalid Abdallah Salih al-RUWAYSHAN

Min. of Defense: Muhammad Nasir Ahmad ALI, Brig. Gen.

Min. of Education: Abd al-Salman Muhammad Hizam al-JAWFI

Min. of Electricity: Ali Muhammad alMUJUR

Min. of Expatriate Affairs: Abu Bakr Abdallah al-QIRBI

Min. of Finance: Saif Mahyub al-ASALI

Min. of Fisheries: Mahmud Ibrahim SAGHIRI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Abu Bakr Abdallah al-QIRBI

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Salih Ali BA SURA

Min. of Human Rights: Khadijah Ahmad al-HAISAMI

Min. of Industry & Trade: Khalid Rajih SHAYKH

Min. of Information: Hasan Ahmad alLAWZI

Min. of Interior: Rashid Muhammad alALIMI

Min. of Justice: Ghazi Shaif alAGHBARI

Min. of Legal Affairs: Adnan Umar Muhammad al-JAFRI

Min. of Local Administration: Sadiq Amin Husayn ABU RAS

Min. of Oil & Minerals: Khalid Mahfuz BAHAH

Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Abd al-Karim Ismail alARHABI

Min. of Public Health & Population: Abd al-Karim RASI

Min. of Public Works & Roads: Umar Abdallah al-KURSHAMI

Min. of Religious Endowment & Islamic Affairs: Hamud Muhammad alUBAYDI

Min. of Social & Labor Affairs: Amat alRazaq Ali HAMAD

Min. of Supply & Trade: Abd al-Aziz alKUMAYM

Min. of Technical Education & Vocational Training: Ali Mansur Muhammad bin SAFA

Min. of Tourism: Nabil Hasan al-FAQIH

Min. of Transport: Umar Muhsin Abd alRahman al-AMUDI

Min. of Water & Environment: Abd alRahman al-IRIYANI

Min. of Youth & Sports: Abd al-Rahman al-AQWA

Min. of State & Sec. Gen. of the Presidency: Abdallah al-BASHIRI, Maj. Gen.

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Qasim Ahmad al-AJAM

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Muhammad Ali al-YASIR

Min. of State & Mayor of Sanaa: Yahya Muhammad al-SHAIBI

Min. of State for Parliamentary & Shura Council Affairs: Rashad Ahmad alRASAS

Governor, Central Bank: Ahmad Abd alRahman al-SAMAWI

Ambassador to the US: Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Abdallah Muhammad alSAIDI

The Republic of Yemen maintains an embassy in the United States at 2319 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-965-4760).

ECONOMY

At unification, both the YAR and the PDRY were struggling, underdeveloped economies. In the north, disruptions of civil war (1962-70) and frequent periods of drought had dealt severe blows to a previously prosperous agricultural sector. Coffee production, formerly the north’s main export and principal form of foreign exchange, declined as the cultivation of qat increased. Low domestic industrial output and a lack of raw materials made the YAR dependent on a wide variety of imports.

Remittances from Yemenis working abroad and foreign aid paid for perennial trade deficits. Substantial Yemeni communities exist in many countries of the world, including Yemen’s immediate neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, India, East Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union and China provided large-scale assistance to the YAR. This aid included funding of substantial construction projects, scholarships, and considerable military assistance.

In the south, pre-independence economic activity was overwhelmingly concentrated in the port city of Aden. The seaborne transit trade, which the port relied upon, collapsed with the closure of the Suez Canal and Britain’s withdrawal from Aden in 1967. Only extensive Soviet aid, remittances from south Yemenis working abroad, and revenues from the Aden refinery (built in the 1950s) kept the PDRY’s centrally planned Marxist economy afloat. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a cessation of Soviet aid, the south’s economy basically collapsed.

Since unification, the government has worked to integrate two relatively disparate economic systems. However, severe shocks, including the return in 1990 of approximately 850,000 Yemenis from the Gulf states, a subsequent major reduction of aid flows, and internal political disputes culminating in the 1994 civil war hampered economic growth.

Since the conclusion of the war, the government entered into agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to institute an extremely successful structural adjustment program. Phase one of the IMF program included major financial and monetary reforms, including floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit, and cutting subsidies. Phase two will address structural issues such as civil service reform. The World Bank also is present in Yemen, with 19 active projects in 2005, including projects to improve governance in the public sector, water, and education. Since 1998, the government of Yemen has sought to implement World Bank economic and fiscal recommendations. In subsequent years, Yemen has lowered its debt burden through Paris Club agreements and restructuring U.S. foreign debt. In 2004, government reserves reached $4.7 billion.

Current U.S. commercial assistance is focused on aiding the business sector in supporting U.S.-Yemen bilateral trade relations, encouraging American business interests in country, and diversifying Yemen’s economy toward non-petroleum dependent sectors.

Following a minor discovery in 1982 in the south, an American company found an oil basin near Marib in 1984. A total of 170,000 barrels per day were produced there in 1995. A small oil refinery began operations near Marib in 1986. A Soviet discovery in the southern governorate of Shabwa has proven only marginally successful even when taken over by a different group. A Western consortium began exporting oil from Masila in the Hadramaut in 1993, and production there reached 420,000 barrels per day in 1999. More than a dozen other companies have been unsuccessful in finding commercial quantities of oil. There are new finds in the Jannah (formerly known as the Joint Oil Exploration Area) and east Shabwah blocks.

In November 2005, Hunt Oil’s 20-year contract for the management of Block 18 fields ended. Despite agreement with the Government of Yemen on a 5-year extension, the Republic of Yemen Government abrogated the agreement via a parliamentary vote (not called for in the contract). The company formally requested arbitration proceedings at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in November.

Yemen’s oil exports in 1995 earned about $1 billion. By 2004, exports had grown to approximately $4.3 billion and comprised roughly 70% of government revenue. Oil production is expected to decline in 2005 due to dwindling reserves, but revenue will be stable as long as oil prices remain high.

Oil located near Marib contains associated natural gas. Proven reserves of 10-13 trillion cubic feet could sustain a liquid natural gas (LNG) export project. A long-term prospect for the petroleum industry in Yemen is a proposed liquefied natural gas project (Yemen LNG), which plans to process and export Yemen’s 17 trillion cubic feet of proven associated and natural gas reserves. In September 1995, the Yemeni Government signed an agreement that designated Total of France to be the lead company for an LNG project, and, in January 1997, agreed to include Hunt Oil, Exxon, and Yukong of South Korea as partners in the Yemeni Exploration and Production Company. The project envisions a $3.5 billion investment over 25 years, producing approximately 3.1 million tons of LNG annually. A Bechtel-Technip joint venture also conducted a preliminary engineering study for LNG production/development. Without a firm buyer, Yemen has not begun to export LNG.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

The geography and ruling Imams of north Yemen kept the country isolated from foreign influence before 1962. The country’s relations with Saudi Arabia were defined by the Taif Agreement of 1934, which delineated the northernmost part of the border between the two kingdoms and set the framework for commercial and other intercourse. The Taif Agreement has been renewed periodically in 20-year increments, and its validity was reaffirmed in 1995. Relations with the British colonial authorities in Aden and the south were usually tense.

The Soviet and Chinese Aid Missions established in 1958 and 1959 were the first important non-Muslim presence in north Yemen. Following the September 1962 revolution, the Yemen Arab Republic became closely allied with and heavily dependent upon Egypt. Saudi Arabia aided the royalists in their attempt to defeat the Republicans and did not recognize the Yemen Arab Republic until 1970. Subsequently, Saudi Arabia provided Yemen substantial budgetary and project support. At the same time, Saudi Arabia maintained direct contact with Yemeni tribes, which sometimes strained its official relations with the Yemeni Government. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis found employment in Saudi Arabia during the late 1970s and 1980s.

In February 1989, north Yemen joined Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt informing the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), an organization created partly in response to the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and intended to foster closer economic cooperation and integration among its members. After unification, the Republic of Yemen was accepted as a member of the ACC in place of its YAR predecessor. In the wake of the Gulf crisis, the ACC has remained inactive. Yemen is not a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

British authorities left southern Yemen in November 1967 in the wake of an intense terrorist campaign. The people’s democratic Republic of Yemen, the successor to British colonial rule, had diplomatic relations with many nations, but its major links were with the Soviet Union and other Marxist countries. Relations between it and the conservative Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula were strained. There were military clashes with Saudi Arabia in 1969 and 1973, and the PDRY provided active support for the Dhofar rebellion against the Sultanate of Oman. The PDRY was the only Arab state to vote against admitting new Arab states from the Gulf area to the United Nations and the Arab League. The PDRY provided sanctuary and material support to various international terrorist groups.

Yemen is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the organization of the Islamic conference. Yemen participates in the non-aligned movement. The Republic of Yemen accepted responsibility for all treaties and debts of its predecessors, the YAR and the PDRY. Yemen has acceded to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. The Gulf crisis dramatically affected Yemen’s foreign relations. As a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in 1990 and 1991, Yemen abstained on a number of UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq and Kuwait, and voted against the “use of force resolution.” Western and Gulf Arab states reacted by curtailing or canceling aid programs and diplomatic contacts. At least 850,000 Yemenis returned from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Subsequent to the liberation of Kuwait, Yemen continued to maintain high-level contacts with Iraq. This hampered its efforts to rejoin the Arab mainstream and to mend fences with its immediate neighbors. In 1993, Yemen launched an unsuccessful diplomatic offensive to restore relations with its Gulf neighbors. Some of its aggrieved neighbors actively aided the south during the 1994 civil war. Since the end of that conflict, tangible progress has been made on the diplomatic front in restoring normal relations with Yemen’s neighbors. The OmaniYemeni border has been officially demarcated. In the summer of 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed an International Border Treaty settling a 50-year-old dispute over the location of the border between the two countries. Yemen also settled its dispute with Eritrea over the Hanish Islands in 1998.

U.S.-YEMEN RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Imamate in 1946. A resident legation, later elevated to embassy status, was opened in Taiz (the capital at the time) on March 16, 1959 and moved to Sanaa in 1966. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic, doing so on December 19, 1962. A major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program constructed the Mocha-Taiz-Sanaa highway and the Kennedy memorial water project in Taiz, as well as many smaller projects. On June 6, 1967, the YAR, under Egyptian influence, broke diplomatic relations with the United States in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of that year. Secretary of State William P. Rogers restored relations following a visit to Sanaa in July 1972, and a new USAID agreement was concluded in 1973.

On December 7, 1967, the United States recognized the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen and elevated its Consulate General in Aden to embassy status. However, relations were strained. The PDRY was placed on the list of nations that support terrorism. On October 24, 1969, south Yemen formally broke diplomatic relations with the United States. The United States and the PDRY reestablished diplomatic relations on April 30, 1990, only 3 weeks before the announcement of unification. However, the embassy in Aden, which closed in 1969, was never reopened, and the PDRY as a political entity no longer exists.

During a 1979 border conflict between the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the United States cooperated with Saudi Arabia to greatly expand the security assistance program to the YAR by providing F-5 aircraft, tanks, vehicles and training. George Bush, while Vice President, visited in April 1986, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited the United States in January 1990. The United States had a $42 million USAID program in 1990. From 1973 to 1990, the United States provided the YAR with assistance in the agriculture, education, and health and water sectors. Many Yemenis were sent on U.S. Government scholarships to study in the region and in the United States. There was a Peace Corps program with about 50 volunteers. The U.S. Information Service operates an English-language institute in Sanaa.

In 1990, as a result of Yemen’s actions in the Security Council following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States drastically reduced its presence in Yemen including canceling all military cooperation, non-humanitarian assistance, and the Peace Corps program. USAID levels dropped in FY1991 to $2.9 million, but food assistance through the PL 480 program continued through 2003. The United States was actively involved in and strongly supportive of the 1993 parliamentary elections and continues working to strengthen Yemen’s democratic institutions. The United States supported a unified Yemen during the 1994 civil war. The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID Mission has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, election monitoring, training for tribal councils, and voter registration for the 2003 parliamentary elections.

The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID Mission has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, training for tribal councils, and providing access to Internet in schools. The American Institute of Yemeni Studies also received a $500,000 grant to assist in acquisition of a permanent location.

Defense relations between Yemen and the United States are improving rapidly, with the resumption of International Military Education and Training assistance and the transfer of military equipment and spare parts. Yemen received $1.9 million in Foreign Military Financing in FY 2003. U.S. Foreign Military Financing for FY 2004 is expected to reach $14.9 million, reflecting the improvement in U.S.-Yemeni security cooperation.

Currently, Yemen is an important partner in the global war on terrorism, providing assistance in the military, diplomatic, and financial arenas. President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited Washington, DC, in November 2001. Since that time, Yemen has stepped up its counter-terrorism cooperation efforts with the United States, achieving significant results and improving overall security in Yemen. President Saleh returned to Washington in June 2004 when he was invited to attend the G-8 Sea Island Summit. The Summit was an excellent forum for Yemen to share its democratic reform experiences, and it has agreed to participate in future activities detailed in the Sea Island charter. In November 2005, President Saleh again visited high-level officials in Washington, including President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SANAA (E) Address: Sa’awan Street; Phone: (967) (1) 755-2000; Fax: (967) (1) 303-182; Workweek: Sat–Wed 0800-1630; Website: USEMBASSY. YE.

AMB:Thomas C. Krajeski
AMB OMS:Kim P Stockdale
DCM:Nabeel Khoury
DCM OMS:Janice McPherson
POL/ECO:Joey R. Hood
COM:Susan Plott
CON:Andrew Flashberg
MGT:Paul Blankenship
AGR:Ali Abdi (Cairo)
AID:Mike Sahran
CLO:Jane Green
DAO:Wade Foote
DEA:Robert Shannon (res. Cairo)
ECO:Joey R Hood
ECO/COM:Susan Plott
FAA:Lynn Osmus (res. Brussels)
FMO:Manilka Wijesooriya
GSO:Doris Beck
ICASS Chair:Hood, Joey
IMO:Linda Howard
IRS:Margaret Lullo (res. Berlin)
ISSO:Linda Howard
MLO:Molanari, Frank
PAO:Ann Marie Roubachewsky
RSO:William Mellott
State ICASS:Joey Hood

Last Updated: 12/18/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : July 24, 2006

Country Description: The Republic of Yemen was established in 1990 following unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South). Islamic and traditional ideals, beliefs, and practices provide the foundation of the country’s customs and laws. Yemen is a developing country and modern tourist facilities are widely available only in major cities.

Entry/Exit Requirements: Pass-ports and visas are required for travel to Yemen. All travelers to Yemen can potentially obtain entry visas at ports of entry. Travelers to Yemen are no longer required to have an affiliation with and arrange their travel through a Yemeni-based individual or organization to enter Yemen. However, individuals may be asked for supporting evidence of their character, purpose of visit and length of stay. Upon arrival at ports of entry, travelers may be issued a visa valid for a maximum of three months. Upon departure, all U.S. citizens should obtain exit visas to depart Yemen. U.S. citizens who plan to stay in Yemen for less than one month can obtain their exit visas at the airport. U.S. citizens who plan to stay longer than one month should go to the Passport and Immigration Office to obtain exit visas. The same holds true for long-term residents in Yemen. All minor/underage U.S. citizens should be accompanied by their legal guard-ian(s) and/or provide parental consent when obtaining exit visas to depart Yemen.

For more details, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone 202-965-4760; or the Yemen Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. The Yemeni Embassy in Washington maintains a homepage with information on visiting Yemen.

Safety and Security: The Department of State is concerned that alQaeda and its affiliates may be actively engaged in extremist-related activities in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. On February 3, 2006, 23 convicts, including known affiliates of Al-Qaeda, escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city, Sanaa. Among the Al-Qaeda associates were individuals imprisoned for their roles in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 attack on the French oil tanker Limburg. In the weeks following the escape, some prisoners voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities or were apprehended; to date however, some escapees remain at large.

Americans should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. Yemen has scheduled local and national elections for September 10, 2006. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in several election-related rallies in major cities since May 2006. These demonstrations have to date been neither violent nor anti-American. However, further rallies and demonstrations are expected across Yemen in the run-up to elections. The U.S. Embassy has advised personnel to avoid any such demonstrations.

A 2005 demonstration against an increase in the fuel price led to two days of widespread demonstrations and rioting throughout Sanaa and other cities. Those demonstrations resulted in a large amount of property damage, looting, and several roadblocks.

U.S. citizens are urged to exercise particular caution at locations associated with foreigners, such as the Sanaa Trade Center, American-affiliated franchises, restaurants and shops in the Hadda area of Sanaa, and in Aden and elsewhere, and at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa may temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review its security posture and ensure its adequacy. In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of such objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended and should be kept locked at all times.

U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Americans in Yemen are urged to register and remain in contact with the American Embassy in Sanaa for updated security information.

In 2002, there was an attack on an American company helicopter, in which there were several injuries. Also in 2002, several Americans were killed and another was injured in an attack on a hospital near the city of Ibb.

Yemeni government security organizations have arrested and expelled foreign Muslims, including Americans, who have associated with local Muslim organizations considered to be extremist by security organs of the Yemeni government. Americans risk arrest if they engage in either political or other activities that violate the terms of their admission to Yemen.

Travel on roads between cities throughout Yemen can be dangerous. Armed carjacking, especially of four-wheel-drive vehicles, occurs in many parts of the country, including the capital.

Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas. The U.S. Embassy sometimes restricts the travel of its own personnel to rural areas, while the Government of Yemen also sometimes places restrictions on Americans traveling outside Sanaa. Please check with the Embassy for the latest restrictions.

Travel is particularly dangerous in the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Armed tribesmen in those areas have kidnapped a number of foreigners in attempts to resolve disputes with the Yemeni government, with an increasing number of incidents occurring in late 2005. Travel by boat through the Red Sea or near the Socotra Islands in the Gulf of Aden presents the risk of pirate attacks. If travel to any of these areas is necessary, travelers may reduce the risk to personal security if such travel is undertaken by air or with an armed escort provided by a local tour company.

Other potential hazards to travelers include land mines and unexploded ordnance from the 1994 civil war. This is of particular concern in areas where fighting took place in the six southern provinces. However, most minefields have been identified and cordoned off.

Americans are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks when they are in transit to and from their residences or workplaces, or when they are shopping, sightseeing, or visiting friends. All Americans are reminded to vary their routes and times, remain vigilant, report suspicious incidents to the Embassy, avoid areas that Westerners and Americans frequent, avoid traveling after dark, lock car windows and doors, and carry a cell phone.

Based on previous abductions of foreigners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the Embassy recommends that Americans with doubts about the identity of security or police personnel on the roads remain in their vehicles, roll up their windows, and contact the Embassy. For additional information on this topic, see Traffic Safety and Road Conditions section below.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet travel web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: The most serious problem affecting travelers to Yemen is carjacking. Travelers have rarely been victims of petty street crime.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Lack of modern medical facilities outside of Sanaa and Aden and a shortage of emergency ambulance services throughout the country may cause concern to some visitors. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. An adequate supply of prescription medications for the duration of the trip is important. While many prescription drugs are available in Yemen, a particular drug needed by a visitor may not be available.

Outbreaks of polio and dengue fever were reported throughout the western coastal portions of Yemen in 2005. Although the local Ministry of Health is working on containing the outbreak, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa strongly advises all American citizens residing in or traveling to Yemen to ensure that they have received all recommended immunizations.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), or via the CDC’s Internet travel web site. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Based on previous abductions of foreigners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the Embassy recommends that Americans with doubts about the identity of security or police personnel on the roads remain in their vehicles, roll up their windows, and contact the Embassy. For additional information addressing security concerns for Americans in Yemen, please see the Safety and Security Section above.

Travel by road in Yemen should be considered risky. Within cities, mini-vans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles. Taxis and public transportation are widely available but the vehicles may lack safety standards and equipment. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections. While traffic laws exist, they are often not enforced, and/or not adhered to by motorists. Drivers sometimes drive on the left side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. A large number of under-age drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack basic parts such as functional turn signals, headlights and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals on the roads constitute a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond the main inter-city roads, which are usually paved and in fair condition, the rural roads in general require four-wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.

Travelers should take precaution to avoid minefields left over from Yemen’s civil wars. Traveling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving which causes an accident resulting in injury, are a fine and/or prison sentence. If the accident results in death, the driver is subject to a maximum of three years in prison and/or a fine. Under traditional practice, victims’ families negotiate a monetary compensation from the driver proportionate to the extent of the injuries—higher if it is a fatality.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Yemen’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Yemeni laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Yemen are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant “qat” is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Special Circumstances: Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.

Travelers should be aware that automated teller machines (ATMs) are being introduced in major cities but are still not widely available in Yemen. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

The Government of Yemen may not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Yemen and the United States. This may hinder the ability of U.S. consular officials to assist persons who do not enter Yemen on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes or military service. For further information, travelers can contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Yemen.

American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country’s laws, customs, and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Women in custody disputes in Yemen may not enjoy the same rights that they do in the U.S., as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother. Parents planning to travel to Yemen with their children should bear this in mind. Parents should also note that American custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen. American women who also hold Yemeni nationality, and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men, should also be advised that if they bring their children to Yemen they may not enjoy freedom of travel should they decide they want to leave Yemen. Such women often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody. American students and workers in Yemen sometimes report that the sponsors of their residence permits seize their U.S. passports as a means of controlling their domestic and international travel. While the sponsors say they seize the passports on behalf of local security services, there is no law or instruction from Yemeni passport or security offices requiring that passports be seized.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Yemen are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Yemen. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967)(1) 303-175. The after-hours emergency number is (967)(1) 755-2000. The Embassy is open from Saturday through Wednesday.

International Parental Child Abduction : February 2007

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

General Information: Yemen is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Yemen and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction.

Custody Disputes: Cases involving divorce and the custody of minor children are adjudicated in local courts that apply principles of Islamic law. Islamic law will be applied regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents.

In Yemen, Islamic law gives priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. However, once the children reach adolescence (age 9 for boys and age 12 for girls), the father can take custody. If the mother refuses, the father can file in court for custody. A court can find a mother unfit to have custody before the children reach adolescence. In that case, a maternal grandmother living in Yemen or a paternal grandmother (if the maternal grandmother is not living in Yemen) will be given custody until the children reach the age at which the father may appeal for custody.

In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother’s primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence over the rearing of the children, even though he may not have custody. For example, the mother must seek his approval to depart Yemen with the children. Frequently, the father is actually able to assume custody against the wishes of the mother when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her custodial rights.

A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards. The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying a party considered “unmarriageable,” or by residing in a home with people who might be “strangers” to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Yemen with the child without the father’s approval and the approval of the court. In general, a Yemeni man divorcing his non-Yemeni wife may be awarded legal custody of their children if the court determines that any of the above conditions have not been met.

Under Shari’a law, if a mother removes a child from the father, thus denying him access, the mother’s custody rights can be severed. Removal of children from Yemen without the father’s permission is a crime in Yemen. Immigration officials at the port of exit may request permission from the father before permitting the children to leave Yemen.

A Yemeni father can remove his children from Yemen without approval of the mother. While a mother can legally seek a travel ban to prevent the father from taking the children out of Yemen, this is not always possible in reality.

Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Yemeni court should retain an attorney in Yemen. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by contacting the Embassy or the U.S. Department of State.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgements: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Yemen if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. For example, an order from a U.S. court granting custody to an American mother may not be honored in Yemen if the mother intends to take the child to live outside Yemen. Courts in Yemen will not enforce U.S. court decrees ordering a parent in Yemen to pay child support.

Visitation Rights: The government of Yemen will assist non-custodial parents who wish to visit their children in Yemen. When the custodial parent refuses to permit visitation, the non-custodial parent will need to file a complaint in local court.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is recognized under Yemeni law. Children of Yemeni fathers automatically acquire Yemeni citizenship at birth, regardless of where the child was born. Yemeni women can only transmit citizenship in rare instances when there is official intervention from the Yemen government. Yemenis are not required to enter and leave the country on Yemeni passports.

Travel Restrictions: Parents can obtain an order from a local court preventing the other parent from taking a child out of Yemen, regardless of the child’s nationality, when there is a custody dispute before the local court.

Criminal Remedies: For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Information is also available on the Internet at the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org. For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its website on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children’s Issues; U.S. Department of State; Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

Travel Warning : October 13, 2006

This Travel Warning updates security information for Yemen. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued April 13, 2006.

The Department of State continues to strongly urge U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of traveling to Yemen. The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen, and Americans in Yemen are urged to exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. The Department remains concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests. On February 3, 2006, 23 convicts, including known affiliates of al-Qaeda, escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city, Sanaa. Among the al-Qaeda associates were individuals imprisoned for their roles in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 attack on the French oil tanker Limburg. In the weeks following the escape, some prisoners voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities; to date however, many escapees remain at large. Two of the escapees were killed in vehicle-based suicide attacks on oil facilities near Mukalla and Marib on September 15. Those attacks were followed by the arrest the next day in Sanaa of four suspected Al Qaeda operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and weapons. U.S. citizens in Yemen should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. Maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure travel documents are current. U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Yemen despite this Travel Warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) in order to obtain updated information on travel and security in Yemen. This can be done online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa advises American citizens in Yemen to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners countrywide and at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there. Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel in Yemen may be prohibited from traveling to sections of Sanaa or other parts of Yemen.

The Yemeni government also restricts travel to specified areas by U.S. citizens and other Westerners from time to time. Travelers should be in contact with the Embassy for up-to-date information on such restrictions. The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967)(1) 303-175. The after hours emergency number is (967)(1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733213509.

From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency passistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel. Current information on travel and security in Yemen may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should consult the Consular Information Sheet for Yemen, the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement on the Department’s Internet site at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-1

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/yemen-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

  • Area: 203,850 sq mi (527,970 sq km) / World Rank: 50
  • Location: Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, on the southwestern Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the north.
  • Coordinates: 15°00′N, 48°00′E
  • Borders: 1085 mi (1746 km) / Oman, 179 mi (288 km); Saudi Arabia, 906 mi (1,458 km)
  • Coastline: 1,184 mi (1,906 km)
  • Territorial Seas: 12 NM
  • Highest Point: An-Nabī Shu'ayb, 12,336 ft (3,760 m)
  • Lowest Point: Sea level
  • Longest Distances: 336 mi (540 km) N-S / approximately 777 mi (1,250 km) SW-NE
  • Longest River: Wadi Hadhramawt, 149 mi (240 km)
  • Largest Lake: Marib Reservoir, approximately 12 sq mi (30 sq km)
  • Natural Hazards: Droughts; earthquakes; sandstorms; flash floods
  • Population: 18,078,035 (July 2001 est.) / World Rank: 54
  • Capital City: Sanaa, in the western highlands
  • Largest City: Sanaa, population 629,000 (2000)

OVERVIEW

Yemen wraps around the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Southern Yemen, where the city of Aden is located, and North Yemen, where the city of Sanaa is located, were independent countries until they unified to become Yemen in 1990. Yemen has five principal geographic regions: the Tihama coastal plain, the mountainous interior, the high plateau and the Hadhramawt and Al Mahra uplands, the "Empty Quarter" interior desert, and offshore islands.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS

Mountains

Yemen's interior is quite mountainous, with ranges along a north-south axis parallel to the Red Sea and along an east-west axis parallel to the Gulf of Aden. The mountains, which include extinct volcanoes, reach 8,000 ft (2,438 m) in the extreme west and gradually taper off to the east. Average elevations in the interior mountains are from 7,000 to 10,000 ft (2,133 to 3,048 m). The ranges are characterized by rocky spars and sharp, steep ridges, which have rendered access to the interior difficult.

There are western, central and eastern ranges. The western mountains, although steep, are terraced for intensive agriculture. The central mountain range begins in the vicinity of the old city of Ta'izz and includes Arabia's highest peak, An-Nabī Shu'ayb, which rises to 12,336 ft (3,760 m). Yemen's capital, Sanaa, is located in one of the largest basins of the central range, at an elevation of 7,874 ft (2,400 m). The eastern highlands have heights of 2,500 to 3,500 feet (762 m to 1,067 m).

Plateaus

Yemen's eastern region occupies the irregular southern end of the Arabian plateau, which is formed by ancient granites and partly covered by sedimentary limestones and sand. The central highlands of Yemen are broken into plateaus ranging in height from 4,000 to 10,000 ft (1,200 to 3,000 m). The Harra plateau, north of Sanaa, is a spectacular landscape of lava rock, sandstone striations, and extinct volcanic cones.

Canyons

Yemen's canyons include the Al Guedam canyon in the mountains north of Sanaa; Wadi Dahero canyon on Socotra island; and the Bir Maqsur limestone crevasse, also on Socotra. Deep eroded ravines known as "wadis," cut by extinct or seasonally flowing rivers, fissure much of Yemen's interior.

Hills and Badlands

Yemen's eastern mountains slope down into hills that merge with the sands of the Rub' al-Khali desert. Other hill areas include the Hadhramawt and Al Mahra uplands in the east. Throughout Yemen, the foothills of mountain ranges are terraced for farming.

INLAND WATERWAYS

Lakes

Yemen lacks natural freshwater lakes. A dam built in 1986 near the site of the ancient Marib dam in western Yemen produced a 12 sq mi (30 sq km) reservoir, but the water levels have been depleted and it has been afflicted with algae blooms. There are some small brackish lagoons along the coast and several hot springs in the highlands.

Rivers

Yemen's highlands are interspersed with deep wadis, or riverbeds. The wadis are usually quite dry with little vegetation but many will fill dramatically during times of heavy rains. Rainfall drains through seven major wadis that can flow west as far as the Red Sea: Rima, Rasyan, Mawr, Surdud, Siham, Zabid and Mawza. Wadis that drain south into the Gulf of Aden from the eastern regions include Hajar, Jahr, Warazan, and Yemen's longest, Wadi Hadhramawt (149 mi / 240 km). The valley of Wadi Hadhramawt extends from the central part of the country southeastward to the Gulf of Aden. Surrounded by desolate hills and desert, the upper and middle parts of the Hadhramawt, with their alluvial soil and seasonal floodwaters, are relatively fertile and are inhabited by a farming population; the lower eastern part of the valley, which turns southward to the sea, is barren and largely uninhabited.

Wetlands

The valleys of Wadi al-Malih and Wadi Warazan near the city of Ta'izz, and Wadi Zabid near the port of Al Hudaydah, contain marshes that are decreasing in area due to demands on the groundwater, agricultural conversion, and grazing. Wastewater lagoons north of Ta'izz and northeast of Al Hudaydah, and a treated-sewage outflow area west of the city of Aden, have become important bird habitats. Mudflats, sandbars, and mangroves form wetlands ecosystems along the Red Sea coast.

THE COAST, ISLANDS AND THE OCEAN

Oceans and Seas

The Red Sea meets Yemen to the west, and the Gulf of Aden of the Arabian Sea meets Yemen to the south; all of these are extensions of the Indian Ocean. One of the world's most important shipping lanes, the Bab el-Mandeb, connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden southwest of Yemen, with Djibouti and Eritrea on the far side. Some 5 percent of Yemen's coast has coral reefs, with particularly diverse marine habitats in the Red Sea.

Major Islands

Yemen has more than 115 islands, including the significant islands of Perim and Kamaran in the Bab el-Mandeb and the Hanjsh Islands further north. Yemen also possesses the 1,400 sq mi (3,626 sq km) island of Socotra in the Gulf of Aden. Socotra has numerous endemic species, with intact land and marine ecosystems. The Brothers are a chain of small islands near Socotra.

The Coast and Beaches

The north-south stretch of Yemen's Red Sea coast is interrupted by the promontories of Ras al Shi'b (15 mi / 25 km) and, near the port of Al Hudaydah, Ras al Kathib (19 mi / 30 km). The town of Turba marks the corner on the Bab el-Mandeb strait where the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts converge. Yemen's Gulf of Aden coast runs from southwest to northeast. To the east of Turba is the excellent natural harbor of Aden. Coastal plains follow on the Gulf of Aden, with sandy beaches including Ras Sharma and Dhobbah, which are nesting sites for endangered green turtles. The coast curves inward at Ras Fartak point, forming the Ghubbat al Qamar before Yemen's border with Oman.

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

Temperature

Yemen has a very hot semitropical climate, with temperatures that can reach as high as 129°F (54°C). The average temperature varies over the two basic seasons, ranging from 72°F (22°C) in summer to 57°F (14°C) in winter. The Red Sea coast is particularly hot and humid. The interior mountain regions experience frosts in winter. Sandstorms often appear in summer and winter as winds sweep across Yemen.

Rainfall

Monsoon rains drench much of otherwise dry Yemen twice each year, in March-May and July-September. In the southwest corner of the country there is more consistent rain, with constant fog along the coast. Yemen's average annual rainfall is 20 in to 36 in (51 to 91 cm), with great regional variation: less than 5 in (12 cm) on the coastal lowlands, contrasting with 39 in (100 cm) in highlands above 9,842 ft (3,000 m).

Grasslands

Scrub grasslands, with sparse ground cover and shrubbery, are common throughout Yemen. This type of terrain, about 30 percent of Yemen's area, is used for raising livestock, and over-grazing is an environmental threat.

Deserts

Inland from the mountains and north of the Wadi Hadhramawt valley, gravel deserts transition into the sand dune deserts of the Rub al-Khali, or Empty Quarter, which extends across the border from Saudi Arabia. Even in this inhospitable region, oases are inhabited during the rainy season. Productive salt pans are found in the Rub al-Khali.

On the Gulf of Aden coast there is a coastal fog desert ecosystem, with vegetation that then gives way to the Tihama desert. The Tihama is a narrow, hot, humid, almost waterless strip that extends along the seacoast and occupies approximately 10 percent of the country.

Forests and Jungles

Most of Yemen's forests were destroyed during the twentieth century, by agricultural clearing and cutting for fuel wood, fodder and timber. Yemen had less than 4 percent forest cover as of 1998. Remaining forests are found in the mountains, along some wadis, and on Socotra island. They include old-growth stands of juniper such as

Population Centers – Yemen
(1993 POPULATION ESTIMATES)
Name Population
Sanaa (Sana'a, capital) 926,595
Aden 400,783
Ta'izz (Taiz) 290,105
Al-Hudaydah (Hodeidah) 246,068
SOURCE : "Population of Capital Cities and Cities of 100,000 and More Inhabitants." United Nations Statistics Division.

Jebal Bura, an ancient forest sanctuary in the eastern highlands, as well as some recently planted juniper groves.

Jebel al Houf, on the far eastern coast, has Yemen's largest forest (77 sq mi /200 sq km), in an area where mountains trap monsoon moisture to create a foggy, misty zone; it is protected by the local community. Efforts are being made to preserve the forests of the mountainous Utma region of the central highlands, which include medicinal and fragrant trees.

HUMAN POPULATION

Yemen's population growth rate is a high 3 percent per year (1999). An estimated 38 percent of Yemen's people are city or town dwellers (2000), while the rest of the population lives in small farming, herding, and fishing villages, taking maximum advantage of the 6 percent of the land that supports agriculture. Yemen's human settlements occupy a great array of terrains, including looming mountains and baking hot deserts. The national population density is 85 people per sq mi (33 people per sq km).

NATURAL RESOURCES

Yemen has lucrative petroleum reserves. Other resources include rock salt, marble, coal, nickel, copper, semiprecious stones, and ocean fishing. Agriculture is important, although water supply problems are constant. As a transition zone between the Asian and African bioregions, Yemen has an especially high biodiversity of flora and fauna.

FURTHER READINGS

Hansen, Eric. Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea. New York: Vintage, 1992.

MacKintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: The Unknown Arabia. New York: Overlook Press, 2001.

Stark, Freya. The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramawt. London: John Murray, 1940.

Wald, Peter. Yemen. London: Pallas Athene, 1996.

Wetlands International: Republic of Yemen. http://www.wetlands.org/inventory&/MiddleEastDir/YEMEN.htm (accessed July 6, 2002).

Yemen Gateway. http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/about.htm (accessed July 6, 2002).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

"Yemen." Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

At a Glance

Official Name: Republic of Yemen

Continent: Asia

Area: 203,850 square miles (527,970 sq. km)

Population: 18,078,035

Capital City: Sana'a

Largest City: Sana'a (972,000)

Unit of Money: Yemeni rial

Major Languages: Arabic

Natural Resources: Petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble, small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper, fertile soil in west

The Place

Yemen is located in southwestern Asia on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen's coasts are formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It is separated from Africa by the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb. Saudi Arabia and Oman also border Yemen.

Yemen has several islands, including Socotra, located in the Indian Ocean; Perim, in the Bab el Mandeb; and Kamaran, in the Red Sea.

Yemen covers about 203,850 square miles (527,970 square kilometers) and Sana'a is Yemen's capital and largest city.

The Republic of Yemen was created in 1990 from the unification of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY).

Average temperatures in Yemen range from about 80°F (27°C) in June to about 57°F (14°C) in January. During summer months, monsoons are common. The average rainfall in the highlands varies from 8 to 30 inches (303 to 762 mm), and on the coast it varies from 3 to 9 inches (76 to 229 mm). The west and south coasts are flat, while the inland areas have cliffs and hills. The Rub al Khali desert extends from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.

The People

Most of Yemen's people are ethnic Arabs, although there also small groups of Africans, South Asians, and Europeans living there. Thousands of refugees from the conflict in Somalia moved to Yemen in the early 1990s.

Virtually all inhabitants of northern Yemen have homes and do not move from place to place like nomads. Housing in Yemen varies from region to region, from African-style circular reed huts to stone or mud-brick houses with multiple stories. A small number of nomadic people live on the edge of the desert. Although Yemen society has traditionally been characterized by a social system with caste-like groups, this structure is breaking down.

Nearly all Yemenis speak Arabic. Because of Yemen's rugged terrain, widely separated population centers, and less-developed transportation and communications, however, several dialectical differences have formed.

Yemen's native population is almost entirely Muslim, with small communities of Christians, Jews, and Hindus. Life expectancy is 55 years.

Education

Yemen's constitution guarantees all citizens the right to an education, but the system still fails to reach a large part of the population, especially above the primary grades.

Public schools are located in larger towns and cities, while children in most rural areas attend Islamic religious schools.

Only 38% of Yemen's adult population is literate.

Secondary schools in Yemen put many students into Sana'a University and the University of Aden.

Government

Type: Republic

Structure: Executive

Leader: President/Prime Minister

Defense

37,000 army personnel

1,125 tanks

0 major ships

69 combat aircraft

Popular Culture/Daily Life

Yemeni tribesmen a jambiyya, or curved dagger, in a scabbard on a wide belt. Men also often wear one of several types of skirts rather than pants, and a straw hat or headcloth. They sometimes wear Western-style clothing as well. Yemeni women wear robes, shawls, and veils, which vary greatly from region to region.

The most important Yemeni social custom is the "qat session," an afternoon gathering where men and women socialize separately while they chew mildly narcotic leaves from the qat plant. Most men and many women "chew qat" at least twice a week.

The Yemeni diet includes rice, bread, vegetables, fish, and lamb. A spicy green stew called salta is one of Yemen's most popular dishes.

Yemeni crafts workers have long been famous for their weaving, leatherwork, and ironwork.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Blackbirch Kid's Visual Reference of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Blackbirch Kid's Visual Reference of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-1

"Yemen." Blackbirch Kid's Visual Reference of the World. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yemen-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

YEMEN

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Republic of Yemen

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.–YEMEN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 527,970 sq. km. (203,796 sq. mi.); about the size of California and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Sanaa. Other cities—Aden, Taiz, Hodeida, and al-Mukalla.

Terrain: Mountainous interior bordered by desert with a flat and sandy coastal plain.

Climate: Temperate in the mountainous regions in the western part of the country, extremely hot with minimal rainfall in the remainder of the country. Humid on the coast.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Yemeni(s).

Population: (2003 est.) 19.3 million. Annual growth rate: 4%.

Ethnic group: Predominantly Arab.

Religions: Islam, small numbers of Jews, Christians, and Hindus.

Language: Arabic.

Education: Attendance (2002 est.)—64% for primary level, 44% for secondary level. Literacy (2003 est.)—50% overall, including 30% of females.

Health: Infant mortality rate—65.02/1,000 live births. Life expectancy—61 yrs.

Work force: (by sector) Agriculture—53%; public services—17%; manufacturing—4%; construction—7%; percentage of total population—25%.


Government

Type: Republic; unification (of former south and north Yemen) May 22, 1990.

Constitution: Adopted May 21, 1990 and ratified May 1991.

Branches: Executive—Prime Minister with Cabinet. Legislative — bicameral legislature with 111-seat Shura Council and 301-seat House of Representatives. Judicial—the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Administrative subdivisions: 18 governorates subdivided into districts.

Political parties: General People's Congress (GPC), Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islaah), Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Baathist parties, Nasserist parties, and Muslim fundamentalist parties.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

National holiday: May 22 (Unity Day).

Economy

GDP: (2002 est.) $9 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2002 est.) $840.

Natural resources: Oil, natural gas, fish, rock salt, minor deposits of coal and copper.

Agriculture: (est. 15.2% of GDP) Products—qat (a shrub containing a natural amphetamine), coffee, cotton, fruits, vegetables, cereals, livestock and poultry, hides, skins, tobacco, honey. Arable land (est.)—5%.

Industry: (est. 42% of GDP) Types—petroleum refining, mining, food processing, building materials.

Trade: (2002 est.) Exports—$3.5 billion: crude petroleum, refined oil products, hides, fish, fruits, vegetables, cotton, coffee, biscuits, plastic pipes. Major markets—Thailand, China, South Korea, Singapore, India. Imports—$2.8 billion: cereals, feed grains, foodstuffs, machinery, petroleum products, transportation equipment. Major suppliers—United States, France, Italy, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia.

Exchange rate: (1st quarter. 2003) Official—183 rials per U.S.$1 and floats based on an average of foreign currencies. Market—since floating the dollar, market rate usually reflects the official rate of exchange.


PEOPLE

Unlike other people of the Arabian Peninsula who have historically been nomads or semi-nomads, Yemenis are almost entirely sedentary and live in small villages and towns scattered throughout the highlands and coastal regions.


Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: the Zaidi sect of the Shi'a, found in the north and northwest, and the Shafa'i school of Sunni Muslims, found in the south and southeast. Yemenis are mainly of Semitic origin, although African strains are present among inhabitants of the coastal region. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood in major cities. In the Mahra area (the extreme east), several non-Arabic languages are spoken. When the former states of north and south Yemen were established, most resident minority groups departed.




HISTORY

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, the former north Yemen came under control of Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. (Imam is a religious term. The Shiites apply it to the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, his sons Hasan and Hussein, and subsequent lineal descendants, whom they consider to have been divinely ordained unclassified successors of the prophet.)


Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of north Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted suzerainty over south Yemen.


Former North Yemen

Ottoman government control was largely confined to cities with the Imam's suzerainty over tribal areas formally recognized. Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya strengthened his control over north Yemen. Yemen became a member of the Arab league in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947.


Imam Yahya died during an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1948 and was succeeded by his son Ahmad, who ruled until his death in September 1962. Imam Ahmad's reign was marked by growing repression, renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south, and growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.


Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad's son, Badr, was deposed by revolutionary forces which took control of Sanaa and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Imamate. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn. By 1968, following a final royalist siege of Sanaa, most of the opposing leaders reached a reconciliation; Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.


Former South Yemen

British influence increased in the south and eastern portion of Yemen after the British captured the port of Aden in 1839. It was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when Aden was made a crown colony with the remaining land designated as east Aden and west Aden protectorates. By 1965, most of the tribal states within the protectorates and the Aden colony proper had joined to form the British-sponsored federation of south Arabia.

In 1965, two rival nationalist groups—the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) and the National Liberation Front (NLF)—turned to terrorism in their struggle to control the country. In 1967, in the face of uncontrollable violence, British troops began withdrawing, federation rule collapsed, and NLF elements took control after eliminating their FLOSY rivals. South Arabia, including Aden, was declared independent on November 30, 1967, and was renamed the People's Republic of South Yemen. In June 1969, a radical wing of the Marxist NLF gained power and changed the country's name on December 1, 1970, to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and radical Palestinians.


Republic of Yemen

In 1972, the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union. However, little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained. In 1979, simmering tensions led to fighting, which was only resolved after Arab League mediation. The goal of unity was reaffirmed by the northern and southern heads of state during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979. However, that same year the PDRY began sponsoring an insurgency against the YAR. In April 1980, PDRY President Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less interventionist stance toward both the YAR and neighboring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle began in Aden between Ali Nasir Muhammad and the returned Abdul Fattah Ismail and their supporters. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir's ouster, and Ismail's death. Some 60,000 persons, including Ali


Nasir and his supporters, fled to the YAR.


In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.


In November 1989, the leaders of the YAR (Ali Abdallah Saleh) and the PDRY (Ali Salim Al-Bidh) agreed on a draft unity constitution originally drawn up in 1981. The Republic of Yemen (ROY) was declared on May 22, 1990. Ali Abdallah Saleh became President, and Ali Salim Al-Bidh became Vice President.

A 30-month transitional period for completing the unification of the two political and economic systems was set. A presidential council was jointly elected by the 26-member YAR advisory council and the 17-member PDRY presidium. The presidential council appointed a Prime Minister, who formed a Cabinet. There was also a 301-seat provisional unified Parliament, consisting of 159 members from the north, 111 members from the south, and 31 independent members appointed by the chairman of the council.

A unity constitution was agreed upon in May 1990 and ratified by the populace in May 1991. It affirmed Yemen's commitment to free elections, a multiparty political system, the right to own private property, equality under the law, and respect of basic human rights. Parliamentary elections were held on April 27, 1993. International groups assisted in the organization of the elections and observed actual balloting. The resulting Parliament included 143 GPC, 69 YSP, 63 Islaah (Yemeni grouping for reform, a party composed of various tribal and religious groups), 6 Baathis, 3 Nasserists, 2 Al Haq, and 15 independents. The head of Islaah, Paramount Hashid Sheik Abdallah Bin Husayn Al-Ahmar, is the speaker of Parliament.


Islaah was invited into the ruling coalition, and the presidential council was altered to include one Islaah member. Conflicts within the coalition resulted in the self-imposed exile of Vice President Ali Salim Al-Bidh to Aden beginning in August 1993 and a deterioration in the general security situation as political rivals settled scores and tribal elements took advantage of the unsettled situation.


Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas (former southern Prime Minister) continued to serve as the ROY Prime Minister, but his government was ineffective due to political infighting. Continuous negotiations between northern and southern leaders resulted in the signing of the document of pledge and accord in Amman, Jordan on February 20, 1994. Despite this, clashes intensified until civil war broke out in early May 1994.


Almost all of the actual fighting in the 1994 civil war occurred in the southern part of the country despite air and missile attacks against cities and major installations in the north. Southerners sought support from neighboring states and received billions of dollars of equipment and financial assistance. The United States strongly supported Yemeni unity, but repeatedly called for a cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table. Various attempts, including by a UN special envoy, were unsuccessful to effect a cease-fire.


Southern leaders declared secession and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) on May 21, 1994, but the DRY was not recognized by the international community. Ali Nasir Muhammad supporters greatly assisted military operations against the secessionists and Aden was captured on July 7, 1994. Other resistance quickly collapsed and thousands of southern leaders and military went into exile.

Early during the fighting, President Ali Abdallah Saleh announced a general amnesty which applied to everyone except a list of 16 persons. Most southerners returned to Yemen after a short exile.


An armed opposition was announced from Saudi Arabia, but no significant incidents within Yemen materialized. The government prepared legal cases against four southern leaders—Ali Salim Al-Bidh, HaydarAbu Bakr Al-Attas, Abd Al-Rahman Ali Al-Jifri, and Salih MunassarAl-Siyali—for misappropriation of official funds. Others on the list of 16 were told informally they could return to take advantage of the amnesty, but most remained outside Yemen. Although many of Ali Nasir Muhammad's followers were appointed to senior governmental positions (including Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Governor of Aden), Ali Nasir Muhammad himself remained abroad in Syria.


In the aftermath of the civil war, YSP leaders within Yemen reorganized the party and elected a new politburo in July 1994. However, the party remained disheartened and without its former influence. Islaah held a party convention in September 1994. The GPC did the same in June 1995.


In 1994, amendments to the unity constitution eliminated the presidential council. President Ali Abdallah Saleh was elected by Parliament on October 1, 1994 to a 5-year term. The constitution provides that henceforth the President will be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. Yemen held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdallah Saleh to a 5-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections. Yemen held its second multiparty parliamentary elections in April 1997. In April 2003, the third multiparty parliamentary elections were held with improvements in voter registration for both men and women and in a generally free and fair atmosphere. Two women were elected. Constitutional amendments adopted in the summer of 2000 extended the presidential term by 2 years, thus moving the next presidential elections to 2006. The amendments also extended the parliamentary term of office to a 6-year term, thus moving elections for these seats to 2003. On February 20, 2001, a new constitutional amendment created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote).


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 8/21/03


President: Salih, Ali Abdallah

Vice President: Hadi, Abdal-Rab Mansur al-, Maj. Gen.

Prime Minister: Ba Jamal, Abdal-Qadir

Dep. Prime Min.: Salami, Alawi Salah al-

Dep. Prime Min.: Sufan, Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-

Min. of Agriculture & Irrigation: Suwayd, Hasan Umar Muhammad

Min. of Awqaf & Religious Guidance: Ubayd, Hamud Muhammad

Min. of Civil Service & Social Security: Sufi, Hamud Khalid Naji al-

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Muallimi, Abdal-Malik al-

Min. of Construction, Housing, & Urban Planning: Dafai, Abdallah Husayn al-

Min. of Culture & Tourism: Ruwayshan, Khalid Abdallah Salih al-

Min. of Defense: Alaywah, Abdallah Ali, Maj. Gen.

Min. of Education: Jawfi, Abdal-Salman Muhammad Hizam al-

Min. of Electricity: Tarmum, Abdal-Rahman Muhammad

Min. of Expatriate Affairs: Qubati, Abduh Ali

Min. of Finance: Salami, Alawi Salah al-

Min. of Fisheries: Mujur, Ali Muhammad

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Qirbi, Abu Bakr al-, Dr.

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Rawih, Abdal-Wahhab, Dr.

Min. of Human Rights: Suswah, Amat al-Alim al-

Min. of Industry & Trade: Shaykh, Khalid Rajih

Min. of Information: Awadi, Husayn Dayfallah al-

Min. of Interior: Alami, Rashid Muhammad al-

Min. of Justice: Jafri, Adnan Umar Muhammad al-

Min. of Legal Affairs: Rasas, Rashad Ahmad Yahya al-

Min. of Local Administration: Abu Ras, Sadiq Amin Husayn

Min. of Oil & Minerals: Ba Rabba, Rashid, Dr.

Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Sufan, Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-

Min. of Public Health & Population: Nuaymi, Muhammad Yahya Awdah al-

Min. of Public Works & Roads: Dafi, Abdallah Husayn al-

Min. of Social & Labor Affairs: Arhabi, Abdal-Karim al-

Min. of Supply & Trade: Kumaim, Abdal-Aziz al-

Min. of Technical Education & Vocational Training: Safa, Ali Mansur Muhammad bin

Min. of Tourism & Environment: Iryani, Abdal-Malik al-

Min. of Transport: Amudi, Umar Muhsin Abdal-Rahman al-

Min. of Water & Environment: Iryani, Muhammad Luft al-

Min. of Youth & Sports: Akwa, Abdal-Rahman al-

Min. of State & Sec. Gen. Presidency: Bashiri, Abdallah, Maj. Gen.

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Ajam, Qasim Ahmad al-

Min. of State & Cabinet Member: Yasir, Muhammad Ali

Min. of State & Mayor of Sanaa: Kahlani, Ahmad Muhammad Yahya Hasan al-

Min. of State for Parliamentary & Shura Council Affairs: Sharafi, Muhammad Yahya Hamud al.

Chief of Staff, Armed Forces: Ulaywah, Ali Abdallah, Maj. Gen.

Speaker, Parliament: Ahmar, Abdallah bin Husayn al-

Governor, Central Bank: Samawi, Ahmad Abd al-Rahman al-

Ambassador to the US: Hajri, Abd al-Wahhab Abdallah al-

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Saidi, Abdallah al-



The Republic of Yemen maintains an embassy in the United States at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037 (tel: 202-965-4760).


ECONOMY

At unification, both the YAR and the PDRY were struggling underdeveloped economies. In the north, disruptions of civil war (1962-70) and frequent periods of drought had dealt severe blows to a previously prosperous agricultural sector. Coffee production, formerly the north's main export and principal form of foreign exchange, declined as the cultivation of qat increased. Low domestic industrial output and a lack of raw materials made the YAR dependent on a wide variety of imports.


Remittances from Yemenis working abroad and foreign aid paid for perennial trade deficits. Substantial Yemeni communities exist in many countries of the world, including Yemen's immediate neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, India, East Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union and China provided large-scale assistance to the YAR. This aid included funding of substantial construction projects, scholarships, and considerable military assistance.


In the south, pre-independence economic activity was overwhelmingly concentrated in the port city of Aden. The seaborne transit trade, which the port relied upon, collapsed with the closure of the Suez Canal and Britain's withdrawal from Aden in 1967. Only extensive Soviet aid, remittances from south Yemenis working abroad, and revenues from the Aden refinery (built in the 1950s) kept the PDRY's centrally planned Marxist economy afloat. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a cessation of Soviet aid, the south's economy basically collapsed.


Since unification, the government has worked to integrate two relatively disparate economic systems. However, severe shocks, including the return in 1990 of approximately 850,000 Yemenis from the Gulf states, a subsequent major reduction of aid flows, and internal political disputes culminating in the 1994 civil war hampered economic growth.

Since the conclusion of the war, the government entered into agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to institute an extremely successful structural adjustment program. Phase one of the IMF program included major financial and monetary reforms, including floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit, and cutting subsidies. Phase two will address structural issues such as civil service reform. The World Bank also is active in Yemen, providing an $80-million loan in 1996. Yemen has received debt relief from the Paris Club. Some military equipment is still purchased from former East bloc states and China, but on a cash basis.


Following a minor discovery in 1982 in the south, an American company found an oil basin near Marib in 1984. A total of 170,000 barrels per day were produced there in 1995. A small oil refinery began operations near Marib in 1986. A Soviet discovery in the southern governorate of Shabwa has proven only marginally successful even when taken over by a different group. A Western consortium began exporting oil from Masila in the Hadramaut in 1993, and production there reached 420,000 barrels per day in 1999. More than a dozen other companies have been unsuccessful in finding commercial quantities of oil. There are new finds in the Jannah (formerly known as the Joint Oil Exploration Area) and east Shabwah blocks. Yemen's oil exports in 1995 earned about $1 billion.


Marib oil contains associated natural gas. Proven reserves of 10-13 trillion cubic feet could sustain a liquid natural gas (LNG) export project. A long-term prospect for the petroleum industry in Yemen is a proposed liquefied natural gas project (Yemen LNG), which plans to process and export Yemen's 17 trillion cubic feet of proven associated and natural gas reserves. In September 1995, the Yemeni Government signed an agreement that designated Total of France to be the lead company for an LNG project, and, in January 1997, agreed to include Hunt Oil, Exxon, and Yukong of South Korea as partners in the project (YEPC). The project envisions a $3.5 billion investment over 25 years, producing approximately 3.1 million tons of LNG annually. A Bechtel-Technip joint venture also conducted a preliminary engineering study for LNG production/development.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

The geography and ruling Imams of north Yemen kept the country isolated from foreign influence before 1962. The country's relations with Saudi Arabia were defined by the Taif Agreement of 1934 which delineated the northernmost part of the border between the two kingdoms and set the framework for commercial and other intercourse. The Taif Agreement has been renewed periodically in 20-year increments, and its validity was reaffirmed in 1995. Relations with the British colonial authorities in Aden and the south were usually tense.


The Soviet and Chinese Aid Missions established in 1958 and 1959 were the first important non-Muslim presence in north Yemen. Following the September 1962 revolution, the Yemen Arab Republic became closely allied with and heavily dependent upon Egypt. Saudi Arabia aided the royalists in their attempt to defeat the Republicans and did not recognize the Yemen Arab Republic until 1970. Subsequently, Saudi Arabia provided Yemen substantial budgetary and project support. At the same time, Saudi Arabia maintained direct contact with Yemeni tribes, which sometimes strained its official relations with the Yemeni Government. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis found employment in Saudi Arabia during the late 1970s and 1980s.


In February 1989, north Yemen joined Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt informing the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), an organization created partly in response to the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and intended to foster closer economic cooperation and integration among its members. After unification, the Republic of Yemen was accepted as a member of the ACC in place of its YAR predecessor. In the wake of the Gulf crisis, the ACC has remained inactive.

British authorities left southern Yemen in November 1967 in the wake of an intense terrorist campaign. The people's democratic Republic of Yemen, the successor to British colonial rule, had diplomatic relations with many nations, but its major links were with the Soviet Union and other Marxist countries. Relations between it and the conservative Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula were strained. There were military clashes with Saudi Arabia in 1969 and 1973, and the PDRY provided active support for the DHOFAR rebellion against the Sultanate of Oman. The PDRY was the only Arab state to vote against admitting new Arab states from the Gulf area to the United Nations and the Arab League. The PDRY provided sanctuary and material support to various international terrorist groups.


Yemen is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the organization of the Islamic conference. Yemen participates in the non-aligned movement. The Republic of Yemen accepted responsibility for all treaties and debts of its predecessors, the YAR and the PDRY. Yemen has acceded to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. The Gulf crisis dramatically affected Yemen's foreign relations. As a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 1990 and 1991,Yemen abstained on a number of UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq and Kuwait and voted against the "use of force resolution." Western and Gulf Arab states reacted by curtailing or canceling aid programs and diplomatic contacts. At least 850,000 Yemenis returned from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.


Subsequent to the liberation of Kuwait, Yemen continued to maintain high-level contacts with Iraq. This hampered its efforts to rejoin the Arab mainstream and to mend fences with its immediate neighbors. In 1993, Yemen launched an unsuccessful diplomatic offensive to restore relations with its Gulf neighbors. Some of its aggrieved neighbors actively aided the south during the 1994 civil war. Since the end of that conflict, tangible progress has been made on the diplomatic front in restoring normal relations with Yemen's neighbors. The Omani-Yemeni border has been officially demarcated. In the summer of 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed an International Border Treaty settling a 50-year-old dispute over the location of the border between the two countries. Yemen settled its dispute with Eritrea over the Hanish Islands in 1998.




U.S.–YEMEN RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Imamate in 1946. A resident legation, later elevated to embassy status, was opened in Taiz (the capital at the time) on March 16, 1959 and moved to Sanaa in 1966. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic, doing so on December 19, 1962. A major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program constructed the Mocha-Taiz-Sanaa highway and the Kennedy memorial water project in Taiz, as well as many smaller projects. On June 6, 1967, the YAR, under Egyptian influence, broke diplomatic relations with the United States in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of that year. Relations were restored following a visit to Sanaa by Secretary of State William P. Rogers in July 1972, and a new USAID agreement was concluded in 1973.


During a 1979 border conflict between the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the United States cooperated with Saudi Arabia to greatly expand the security assistance program to the YAR by providing F-5 aircraft, tanks, vehicles and training. George Bush, while Vice President, visited in April 1986, and President Ali Abdallah Saleh visited the United States in January 1990. The United States had a $42 million USAID program in 1990. From 1973 to 1990, the United States provided the YAR with assistance in the agriculture, education, health and water sectors. Many Yemenis were sent on U.S. Government scholarships to study in the region and in the United States. There was a Peace Corps program with about 50 volunteers. The U.S. Information Service operates an English-language institute in Sanaa.


On December 7, 1967, the United States recognized the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen and elevated its Consulate General in Aden to embassy status. However, relations were strained. The PDRY was placed on the list of nations that support terrorism. On October 24, 1969, south Yemen formally broke diplomatic relations with the United States. The United States and the PDRY reestablished diplomatic relations on April 30, 1990, only 3 weeks before the announcement of unification. However, the embassy in Aden, which closed in 1969, was never reopened, and the PDRY as a political entity no longer exists.


As a result of Yemen's actions in the Security Council following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States drastically reduced its presence in Yemen including canceling all military cooperation, non-humanitarian assistance, and the Peace Corps program. USAID levels dropped in FY1991 to $2.9 million, but food assistance through the PL 480 program continued through 2003. The United States was actively involved in and strongly supportive of the 1993 parliamentary elections and continues working to strengthen Yemen's democratic institutions. The United States supported a unified Yemen during the 1994 civil war. The USAID program, focused in the health field, had slowly increased to $8.5 million in FY 1995, but ended in FY 2000. It was reinvigorated in 2003 and a USAID Mission has re-opened in Sanaa. Yemen also received significant funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Funds went, in large part, to support literacy projects, election monitoring, training for tribal councils, and voter registration for the 2003 parliamentary elections.

Defense relations between Yemen and the U.S. are improving with the recent resumption of International Military Education and Training assistance and the commercial transfer of some military spare parts. Yemen has also received $1.9 million in Foreign Military Financing in FY 2003.


Currently, Yemen is an important partner in the global war on terrorism, providing assistance in the military, diplomatic, and financial are nas. In late November 2001, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited Washington to strengthen U.S.-Yemen relations at this crucial time.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Sanaa (E), Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District • P.O. Box 22347, Sanaa, Republic of Yemen, Tel [967] (1) 303-155; Embassy Fax 303-182, CON Fax 303-175; PAO Fax 303-163; RMO Fax 303-184; Post One/After Hours: 303-166; Workweek: Sat–Wed, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. E-mail: [email protected]

AMB: Edmund J. Hull
AMB OMS: Sandra Grigola
DCM: Alan G. Misenheimer
DCM OMS: Monika Jennings
POL/ECO: Mary Brett Rogers
CON: Susan E. Alexander
MGT: Russell Jones
RSO: Timothy Laas
PAO: John O. Balian
RMO: Curt Hofer
DAO: LTC Gralyn Harris
IMO: Diane Stuart
AID: Doug Heisler
ATO: Quintin Gray (res. Riyadh)
FAA: Lynn Osmus (res. Brussels)
IRS: Magaret J. Lullo (res. Berlin)
DEA: Robert Clark (res. Islamabad)



Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003


TRAVEL

Consular Informatio Sheet
July 22, 2003

Country Description: The Republic of Yemen was established in 1990 following unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South). Islamic and traditional ideals, beliefs and practices provide the foundation of the country's customs and laws. Yemen is a developing country and modern tourist facilities are widely available only in major cities.


Entry and Exit Requirements: Passports and visas are required to travel to Yemen. Upon arrival in Yemen, travelers should register within the first month at the Immigration Authority in Sanaa or at any police station in the district where they are residing. Long-term residents should re-register when they change their residence. For more details, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone 202-965-4760; or the Yemen Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. The Yemeni Embassy in Washington maintains a homepage at http://www.yemenembassy.org.


Americans who plan to study in Yemen should make this fact clear to a Yemeni consular official in the U.S. and obtain the appropriate visa prior to travel. Some American Muslims who have come to Yemen for tourism or Islamic studies at Yemeni schools and had appropriate visas, nevertheless have been detained by Yemeni security officials who seized their passports. In such instances, the U.S. citizens were told their passports would be returned when they departed the country. Some Americans studying in Yemen without official permission have been arrested and/or deported.

In an effort to prevent international parental child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of the relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Dual Nationality: The Government of Yemen may not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Yemen and the United States. This may hinder the ability of U.S. consular officials to assist persons who do not enter Yemen on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes or military service. For further information, travelers can contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Yemen. Additionally, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. (Scroll down to the "Services" section and click on "Citizenship and Nationality.")


Safety and Security: The Department of State has received credible reports that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization have planned attacks against U.S. interests in Yemen, and the Department anticipates that threats against U.S. citizens in Yemen remain possible.


The Embassy in Sanaa advises Americans who choose to visit or remain in Yemen, despite the Travel Warning, to pay close attention to their personal security and maintain a high level of vigilance. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. As security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek softer targets. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise particular caution at locations associated with foreigners, such as the Sanaa Trade Center, American-affiliated franchises, restaurants and shops in the Hadda area in Sanaa, and in Aden and elsewhere, at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa may temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review its security posture and ensure its adequacy. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements can be found.

Americans should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with caution. In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of such objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended and should be kept locked at all times. U.S.Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Americans in Yemen are urged to register and remain in contact with the American Embassy in Sanaa for updated security information (see section on Registration/Embassy location).


In November 2002, there was an attack on an American company helicopter, in which there were a few injuries. On December 30, 2002, three Americans were killed and another was injured in an attack on a hospital near the city of Ibb. The perpetrators of both attacks were apprehended and prosecuted. Nevertheless, these incidents indicate a continuing level of risk for foreigners in Yemen.


Religious Extremists: Yemeni government security organizations have arrested and expelled foreign Muslims, including Americans, who have associated with local Muslim organizations considered to be extremist by security organs of the Yemeni government. The situations mentioned in the above paragraph on Safety and Security have served to make Yemeni authorities, if anything, more suspicious of foreign Muslims. Americans risk arrest if they engage in either political or other activities that violate the terms of their admission to Yemen.

Areas of Instability: Travel on roads between cities throughout Yemen can be dangerous. Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas. Travel is particularly dangerous in the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa, in Shabwa and Abyan provinces, close to the border with Saudi Arabia, and sailing near the Socotra Islands in the Gulf of Aden. If travel to these areas is necessary, travelers may reduce the risk to personal security if such travel is undertaken by air. If travel through these areas is necessary, risk may be reduced if travel is undertaken with an armed escort provided by a local tour company. Armed carjacking, especially of four-wheel drive vehicles, occurs in many parts of the country, including the capital.


Americans should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. In the past, increases in the price of diesel fuel and other commodities have resulted in civil disturbances in urban areas. Other potential hazards to travelers include land mines and unexploded ordnance from the 1994 civil war. This is of particular concern in areas where fighting took place in the six southern provinces. However, most minefields have been identified and cordoned off.


Crime: The most serious problems affecting travelers to Yemen is carjacking. Travelers have rarely been victims of petty street crime. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explains how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crimes is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find and attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travel to the Middle East and North Africa" for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. These pamphlets are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Lack of modern medical facilities outside of Sanaa and Aden and an absence of emergency ambulance services throughout the country may cause concern to some visitors. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. An adequate supply of prescription medications for the duration of the trip is important. While many prescription drugs are available in Yemen, a particular drug needed by a visitor may not be available.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: 202-647-3000.

Other Health Information: It is strongly recommended that you visit a travel medicine clinic before you travel to Yemen. The altitude of Sanaa (7200 feet) may cause problems for visitors who have respiratory or cardiac disease. Malaria is a serious problem in locations outside Sanaa, at altitudes below 4800 feet, and especially along the coasts. Because chloroquine-resistant malaria exists in areas outside the city of Sanaa, the drugs of choice for malaria prophylaxis are either mefloquine or doxycycline; if you intend to enter a malaria prone are a you should have a G6PD test to assure that you can safely take primaquine for exit prophylaxis. Yellow fever vaccination is required if you are traveling from an infected area, including some countries in South America and Africa, and are older than one year. The cholera vaccine has low effectiveness and is marginally recommended. However, typhoid vaccine, hepatitis A and B, rabies (pre-exposure), polio (one-time adult booster), tetanus, meningococcous, and influenza vaccines are recommended prior to entering Yemen. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at telephone 1-877-fyi-trip (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-cdc-faxx (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: U.S. citizens will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Yemen is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor

Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair

Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor

Availability of Roadside Assistance: None


Travel by road in Yemen should be considered risky. Within cities, mini-vans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, each intersection requires an act of negotiation. While traffic laws exist, they are often not enforced. Drivers sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. A large number of underage drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack things such as functional turn signals, headlights and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals on the roads constitute a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond the main inter-city roads, which are usually paved and in fair condition, the rural roads in general require four-wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.


Take precaution to avoid minefields left over from Yemen's civil wars. Traveling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.


Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving which causes an accident resulting in injury, are a fine and/or prison sentence. If the accident results in death, the driver is subject to a maximum of three years in prison and/or a fine. Under traditional practice, victims' families negotiate a monetary compensation from the driver proportionate to the extent of the injuries, higher if it is a fatality.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Yemen contact the Yemen Tourism Promotion Board P.O.Box: 5607 Sana'a, Yemen Telephone: +967 1 209265 Fax: +967 1 209266 Email: [email protected] Website: http://yementourism.com.


Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by U.S. carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service between the United States and Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Yemen's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone


1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's internet website at http://www.intl.faa.gov. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone 618-229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Yemeni customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Yemen of items such as alcohol, firearms, pornography and antiquities. Certain American magazines and videos may be deemed pornographic. All baggage, including that of diplomats, is subject to x-ray and hand search upon arrival. Please contact the Embassy of Yemen in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S.citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. The use of the mild stimulant "qat" is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States.


Special Circumstances: Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment or troops, is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.


Travelers should be aware that automatic teller machines (ATMs) are not widely available in Yemen. Credit cards are not widely accepted.


Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Family Matters: Yemen is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Yemen and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. Therefore, Yemeni authorities are under no obligation to return a parentally kidnapped child to his or her country of ordinary residence. American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws, customs and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Women in custody disputes in Yemen may not enjoy the same rights that they do in the U.S., as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother. Parents planning to travel to Yemen with their children should bear this in mind. Parents should also note that American custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.


American women who also hold Yemeni nationality, and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men, should also be advised that if they bring their children to Yemen they will not enjoy freedom of travel should they decide they want to leave Yemen. Such women often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody.


Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Yemen are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and obtain updated information on travel and security conditions within Yemen. The U.S. Embassy is open for American citizen services between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, PO Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967) (1) 303 155. The fax number is (967) (1) 303 175.


International Parental Child Abduction

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, American Citizen Services. For more information, please read the Guarding Against International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov


General Information: Yemen is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Yemen and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters including child custody. Parents planning to travel with their children to Yemen should bear this in mind.


Custody Disputes: Cases involving divorce and the custody of minor children are adjudicated in local courts that apply principles of Islamic law. Islamic law will be applied regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents.


In Yemen, Islamic law gives priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. However, once the children reach adolescence (age 9 for boys and age 12 for girls), the father can take custody. If the mother refuses, the father can file in court for custody. A court can find a mother unfit to have custody before the children reach adolescence. In that case, a maternal grandmother living in Yemen or a paternal grandmother (if the maternal grandmother is not living in Yemen) will be given custody until the children reach the age at which the father may appeal for custody.


In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother's primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence over the rearing of the children, even though he may not have custody. For example, the mother must seek his approval to depart Yemen with the children. Frequently, the father is actually able to assume custody against the wishes of the mother when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her custodial rights.

A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards. The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying a party considered "unmarriageable," or by residing in a home with people who might be "strangers" to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Yemen with the child without the father's approval and the approval of the court. In general, a Yemeni man divorcing his non-Yemeni wife may be awarded legal custody of their children if the court determines that any of the above conditions have not been met.


Under Shari'a law, if a mother removes a child from the father, thus denying him access, the mother's custody rights can be severed. Removal of children from Yemen without the father's permission is a crime in Yemen. Immigration officials at the port of exit may request permission from the father before permitting the children to leave Yemen.


A Yemeni father can remove his children from Yemen without approval of the mother. While a mother can legally seek a travel ban to prevent the father from taking the children out of Yemen, this is not always possible in reality.


Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Yemeni court should retain an attorney in Yemen. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by contacting the Embassy or the U.S. Department of State. U.S. government officials cannot recommend an attorney and make no claim as to the professional ability or integrity of the attorneys on this list. The U.S. government does not pay legal expenses. A copy of this list may be obtained by contacting the following offices.

U.S. Embassy Sanaa

Dhahr Himyar Zone
Sheraton Hotel District
P.O. Box 22347
Sanaa, Yemen
Phone: (967)(1) 303-155
After hours: (967)(1) 303-166
Fax: (967) (1) 303-175
Work Week: Saturday through Wednesday


U.S. Department of State

Office of Overseas Citizen Services
Washington, DC 20520
Phone: (202) 647-5226
Specific questions regarding child custody in Yemen should be addressed to a Yemeni attorney or to the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen at:


Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W.
Suite 705
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202-965-4760


Travel Warning
August 20, 2003


This Travel Warning is being issued to update security information for Yemen. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Yemen. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on May 23, 2003.


The security threat to all U.S. citizens in Yemen remains high due to continuing efforts by Al-Qaida to reconstitute an effective operating base. This could lead to possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel, who can be contacted by telephone at 967-1-303-155.


U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Yemen despite this warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) in order to obtain updated information on travel and security in Yemen. U.S. citizens in Yemen should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. Maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure travel documents are current.

The Embassy in Sanaa advises American citizens in Yemen to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners, such as the Sanaa Trade Center, American-affiliated franchises, restaurants and shops in the Haddah area in Sanaa and in Aden and elsewhere, at restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1) 303-155,extension 118, 265, or 266. The fax number is (967)(1) 303-175. The after hours emergency number is (967)(1) 303-155. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Yemen and the Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, which are located on the Department's internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2005. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2005. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/culture-magazines/yemen

"Yemen." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2005. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/culture-magazines/yemen

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Yemen

Yemen

POPULATION 18,078,000
SUNNI MUSLIM 65 percent
ZAYDI SHIA MUSLIM 34 percent
ISMAILI SHIA MUSLIM LESS THAN 1 percent
JEWISH LESS THAN 1 percent
CHRISTIAN LESS THAN 1 percent
HINDU LESS THAN 1 percent

Country Overview

INTRODUCTION

The Republic of Yemen is located in the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea and the Strait of Bab al-Mandab to the west, the Gulf of Aden to the south, and Oman to the east. Islam has been the dominating religion of the area since the seventh century c.e.

The British arrived in the port city of Aden in 1839 and established a protectorate over a large part of the hinterland. By 1873 Yemen had been formally divided into two internationally recognized territories—North Yemen, which had again become part of the Ottoman Empire, and British-controlled South Yemen. After World War I North Yemen gained international recognition as an independent nation-state ruled by the Zaydi imam Yahya Hamid al-Din. Growing demands for reforms (such as a constitutional government) and the fall of the Egyptian and Iraqi monarchies foreshadowed the imamate's decline, however. In 1962 the last imam was ousted in an Egyptian-sponsored coup d'état, and North Yemen was renamed the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). The new government accused the former ruling elite of sanctioning a hierarchical sociopolitical order and abolished social divisions based on heredity and religious denomination.

Having gained its independence from Britain in 1967, South Yemen became the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), the only Marxist state in the Middle East. Its constitution declared Islam to be the state religion and, as was also done in the YAR, guaranteed non-Muslims freedom of religion. Most members of the religious elite lost their power, and religious endowments (awqaf), which had been previously managed by the mosques, came under the control of the state.

The unification of the PDRY and YAR in 1990 introduced an unprecedented level of press freedom and party pluralism, with parliamentary elections taking place for the first time in 1993. A year later, however, the fragile power-sharing agreement between the leaders of the two former states ended in armed struggle and the defeat of the southerners, who had proclaimed a breakaway state in the former South Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Salih, who had ruled the YAR since 1978, asserted supremacy over the whole country and in 1999 won the first direct presidential elections.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

The constitution of the Republic of Yemen declares that Islam is the religion of the state and that the Shariah, the divinely revealed law of Islam, is the source of all legislation. Therefore religious tolerance, as it exists in the west as a legal principle, does not exist.

Major Religion

ISLAM

DATE OF ORIGIN 632–34 c.e.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS More than 17 million

HISTORY

The earliest kingdom in what is now Yemen was that of Saba, whose capital, Marib, was the largest town of ancient South Arabia. Marib, known for its ancient dam and irrigation system, was also an important trading center on the caravan route that carried frankincense from the southern coastal areas of the peninsula to the Mediterranean. The first caravan on this route is mentioned in the Old Testament (1 Kings 10), which refers to the visit of the queen of Saba, or Sheba, to King Solomon of Israel in the tenth century b.c.e.

In the sixth century c.e. Yemen became a province of the Persian Sassanid Empire, and in 628 the last Persian governor converted to Islam. Yemenis accepted Islam during the rule of Muhammad's first successor, the caliph Abu Bakr (573–634). During the early Islamic period the towns of Sanaa and al-Janad became centers of Muslim traditionalist science, exposing the country to ideas from other parts of the Muslim world. The Sanaa school gained fame after the arrival from Basra of the Koran exegete Ma'mar ibn Abd al-Razzaq (died in 770). Following the rise of the local Ziyadid Dynasty in 819, a judge called Abu Qurra Musa ibn Tariq founded a traditionalist school in their capital, Zabid, which became a major center of Sunni learning. Sunni Islam was challenged early by other Islamic groups, however, including the Kharijites, who had opposed the claims of both 'Ali and his rival, Muawiyah, to the caliphate and who captured parts of the Arabian peninsula, including Yemen and Hadramawt, in the late seventh century. Opposition also came from the Mutazilite school, which attempted to establish a rational basis for Islamic belief.

In the tenth century the Sunnis adhered to the doctrines of Abu Hanifa (699–767), Malik ibn Anas (died in 795), and Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Mundir alNaysaburi (died in 922). A Shafiite, Naysaburi developed legal ideas independently from those held by the founder of the school, Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafii (767–820). Naysaburi was popular in the region between Ibb and the southern coast that later became the base of the Shafiite school. Another scholar, al-Qasim al-Jumahi al-Qurashi (died in 1045 or 1046), was instrumental in promoting Shafiite doctrine in the south. His disciples spread the doctrine in the areas around Sanaa, al-Janad, Lahj, and Aden. In the twelfth century, when the Shafiite school became more firmly established, the leading scholar Yahya al-Imrani (died in 1163) taught in Dhu Ashraq and Dhu al-Sifal. He popularized the school of Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi (died in 1083), a teacher in Basra and the author of the Kitab al-Bayan, a compendium of law that became essential reading for students of the Shafiite school. From the thirteenth century onward Yemeni Shafiites adhered to the Ashari theological school.

The influence of Shiism was minimal in Yemen until the arrival of the Zaydi Shias. Zaydi doctrine focuses on the personal qualities of the imam, who must be a descendant of the Prophet through Ali and Fatima, have excellent knowledge of the Islamic sciences, and be able to use the sword if necessary. In the tenth century Yahya ibn al-Husayn al-Hadi ila l-Haqq, a Zaydi scholar from Medina, became the leader of the first Zaydi imamate (the spiritual and political leadership of an Islamic community) in Yemen. Zaydi doctrine became fully known in Yemen through al-Hadi's writings. He extended his rule from the town of Sada to Najran in the north and, temporarily, to Sanaa in the south. He laid the doctrinal, legal, and military foundations for the imamate, which consolidated itself to a considerable degree by the late twelfth century. Most Zaydi scholars embraced Mutazilite rationalism. Sufism was rejected by the majority of Zaydi imams, not only because of its incompatibility with the Zaydi "rationalist" doctrine and its anti-Shia orientation but also because the imams perceived the Sufi masters and saints as rivals. A Zaydi school of Sufism was founded, however, by a disciple of the Kurdish Sufi Shaykh al-Kurani, 'Ali ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abi 'l-Khayr. From the fourteenth century onward, Sufi orders took hold in Zabid and Taizz.

Another group of Muslims, the Ismaili Shias, were linked to the Fatimid Dynasty of North Africa and Egypt, which brought large areas of Yemen under its control in the ninth century. The Fatimids headed a movement whose followers awaited the appearance of a Mahdi, or messiah, descended from the Prophet through his daughter Fatima and 'Ali in the line of Ismail, son of the imam Jafar al-Sadiq (died in 765). In Yemen the Fatimids found supporters among the Ismaili Sulayhids of Sanaa, whose dynasty controlled much of Yemen from 1038 to 1139. Before they were conquered by the Ayyubids in the twelfth century, Ismaili dynasties had extended their rule to several areas in the south. The Ayyubids and their successors, the Rasulids (1229–1454), strengthened Sunni control of the south.

The Ottomans occupied Yemen from 1539 to 1635, when they were defeated by the forces of the Zaydi imam al-Mansur billah al-Qasim. Thereafter, most of the Sunni areas of the country were governed continuously—except during the second Ottoman occupation (1872–1918)—by Zaydi imams.

In the nineteenth century the Hanbali reform movement of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia gained support in western Yemen. Since the late twentieth century this school has attracted followers elsewhere, and it has been represented in a number of religious schools throughout the country.

EARLY AND MODERN LEADERS

There have been noteworthy religious leaders in Yemen in addition to the ones mentioned in previous sections. Until his death in 2000, for example, Ahmad ibn Muhammad Zabarah (born in 1908) served as a mujtahid, someone who is entitled to form an independent judgment in doctrinal matters and who, as a mufti, issues nonbinding opinions (fatawa). During the imamate Zabarah was the tutor of the crown prince al-Badr, the last imam, and head of the Shariah higher appeal board. He took a liberal view of religious matters and conceded that the imamate should not be confined to the Prophet's descendants as stipulated by orthodox Zaydi law.

One of Zabarah's contemporaries, Abd al-Qadir ibn Abdullah Abd al-Qadir (born in 1908), studied at the famous legal academy, the Madrasa alilmiyya, and later was chairman of the Majlis al-niyabi, a legal council that answers questions from the public on behalf of the imam. After the revolution he became chairman of the first National Council (Majlis al-watani) and president of the High Court. In the 1980s he played a leading role in codifying the Shariah.

Younger Zaydi leaders include Muhammad Izzan and al-Murtada al-Mahatwari. Izzan has sought to revitalize Zaydi Islam and to defend it against the Wahhabi movement. Al-Mahatwari runs a Zaydi center in Sanaa called Markaz al-Badr. One of the most influential and outspoken leaders associated with radical trends within Sunni Islam is 'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani, who cofounded the Reform Party (Islah) and who has promoted new religious schools (al-mahid al-ilmiyya) that propagate a form of Sunni Islam that insists on a literal understanding of the Koran and the sunna.

MAJOR THEOLOGIANS AND AUTHORS

Qasim ibn Ibrahim al-Rassi (785 [or 786]–860) is credited with having systematized Zaydi teachings. Among his writings are the Kitab al-radd alal-rawafid min ashab al-ghuluw, which rejects the hereditary imamate central to Imami-Shia teachings, and the Kitab al-dalil al-saghir (The Book of Small Evidence), which stresses that the difference between God and his creation is one of God's fundamental characteristics. Zaydi doctrine became widely known in Yemen through al-Qasim's grandson Yahya ibn al-Husayn (859–911), the ancestor of the vast majority of Yemeni imams. He wrote Kitab al-Ahkam fi al-halalawa-l-haram (The Book of Edicts Concerning What Is Forbidden and Allowed) and al-Muntakhab fil-fiqh (Selected Writings on Jurisprudence), as well as influential works on the unity of God (tawhid) and the fundamental principles of religion (usul al-din).

Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Wazir (died in 1436), one of the few influential heterodox scholars, considered the canonical hadith collections (compilation of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet) to be much more authoritative than did his more orthodox Zaydi counterparts, dismissed the practice of following one legal school, and rejected the rational sciences associated with the Mutazila. His main book, Al-Falak al-dawwar, argues that the Zaydis were never opposed to referring to hadith in elaborating their legal rulings.

Muhammad al-Shawkani (1759–1839) is famous for having attempted to create a jurisprudential conjunction between the Shafiite and Zaydi schools. In contradiction to Zaydi doctrine he argued that it was not mandatory for the supreme leader to be capable of practicing ijtihad (a scholar's independent judgment) or to be a descendant of the Prophet. His ideas were favored by those imams of his time who were not mujtahids and whose support of dynastic succession violated Zaydi principles, and they also found approval later among republican leaders. Among al-Shawkani's major works are Al-Badr al-tali bi-mahasin min bad al-qarn al-sabi, an appraisal of scholarly accomplishments since the seventh century, and Nayl al-awtar, which deals with hadith.

Muhammad ibn Muhammad Zabarah (died in 1960), one of the most renowned historians and men of letters of his time, compiled biographical dictionaries of prominent Yemenis (Nuzhat al-Nadhar fi rijal al-qarn alrabi ashar [1979]) and wrote about the Yemeni imams (Aimmat al-Yaman bi-l-qarn al-rabi ashar li-l-hijrah [1956]).

Ismail ibn Ali al-Akwa is the founder and director of the General Organization for Antiquities and Libraries in Sanaa, which is directly attached to the prime minister's office. Al-Akwa has published works on Islamic history and science. Among his writings is a comprehensive study of Yemeni teaching institutions (alMadaris al-islamiyyah fi-l-yaman [1980]) and a five-volume study of the Yemeni hijras (protected enclaves for religious leaders; Hijar al-ilm wa maaqiluh fi-l-yaman [1995]). He has also written about the Yemeni poet Nashwan ibn Said al-Himyari (died in 1117), who was scathing in his treatment of the Zaydi imams and their prerogative to political authority.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND HOLY PLACES

By the eleventh century Sanaa was home to more than one hundred mosques. At least four of these still exist—the famous Great Mosque, the mosque at Suq al-Halaqah that is associated with Ali ibn Abi Talib, and two mosques (the Jabbanah and Farwah) that were built before the tenth century. Until the late 1950s most people in Sanaa attended Friday prayers at the Great Mosque or the Hanzal mosque. Other well-known mosques in Sanaa are the Tawus; al-Jala, which was originally a synagogue; al-Madrasah; and al-Filayhi. A famous mosque south of Sanaa is the Masjid al-Sayyida Arwa bint Ahmad in Jibla, which was built during the period of Ismaili supremacy in the eleventh century. There are more than 300 mosques in Tarim in Hadramawt, but many of these are now closed. The Sayyid Abdullah al-Aydarus mosque of Aden dates from the fourteenth century.

Yemeni tribes long ago set aside protected enclaves for religious leaders and their families as an expression of respect for the leader's descent and the revealed knowledge they represented. In southern Yemen these enclaves were called hawta s. At one time the sultans guaranteed the inviolability of the hawtas as well as their exemption from customs duties and other taxes. In northern Yemen such enclaves later served as the prototype for Zaydi hijras, which became the central loci of worship, ritual purification, and ascetic practices. Several imams emerged from the hijras, and sons of learned families often spent several years in one or two of the reputable enclaves, such as Kawkaban or Shaharah, which produced a number of famous scholars and poets. Since the deposition of the last imam, most of the hijras have become moribund.

WHAT IS SACRED?

There are no objects regarded as sacred in a strict sense, but sanctity is attributed to certain places—mosques and hijras, for example—and to women. Yemenis also speak of the sanctity of religious knowledge, religious scholars (ulama), and death.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

Like Muslims elsewhere Yemenis celebrate two major religious festivals: the Id al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and the Id al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifices). Both are dedicated to visits to the mosques and family gatherings, during which the meat of the sacrificial animal is consumed. During the Id al-Adha men express their respect for, and reaffirm their enduring responsibility toward, their female relatives, whom they visit and bestow with gifts, usually money, that are referred to as al-asb.

MODE OF DRESS

Historically a number of dress styles were considered "Islamic" in different parts of Yemen. At times men were required to wear clothes that accorded with their occupational status, which served to distinguish those dedicated to religious knowledge from those in the service sector. These regulations were apparently not formal, however—unlike those pertaining to non-Muslims, who were required to wear clothing that distinguished them from Muslims.

Zaydi jurisprudence prohibits women from wearing male dress, or vice versa. Women are required to cover their whole bodies in the presence of all men except their husbands and male relatives who are within the prohibited degrees. Nowadays only some women in the cities and the hijras adhere strictly to this dress code.

DIETARY PRACTICES

Common Muslim dietary practices, such as the avoidance of pork, are observed in Yemen. Zaydi law forbids the consumption of shellfish, and rabbit and coconut are held to be undesirable foods, yet few Zaydis abide by these principles.

RITUALS

Zaydi law and ritual does not differ more from Sunni Islam than the major schools do among themselves. Unlike the Sunnis, Zaydis pray with arms outstretched rather than folded, but it is not uncommon to find Zaydis and Sunnis praying beside one other. The Zaydi call to prayer includes the Shia pronouncement "Rise to perform the best of works," and "Allah akbar" ("God is most great") must be spoken five times at funerals.

By virtue of the strong Mutazilite component in their religion, the Zaydis have always placed less emphasis on ritual than either the Twelver Shias or the Shafiites. For example, Ashura, the day dedicated to the memory of the life of Imam al-Husayn and one that is linked prominently with the defense of the rights of the House of the Prophet, does not have its own ritual, though some people fast on this day. The ritual on the occasion of Ghadir Khumm, which commemorates the Prophet's designation of Ali as his successor, was introduced in Yemen by Imam al-Mutawakkil Ismail ibn al-Qasim in the seventeenth century and was abolished in 1963. Since the late 1980s it has been revived, particularly in the provinces of Sada and al-Jawf. The Prophet's birthday ('id milad al-nabi) is celebrated mainly by women in their homes, while men's ritual activities focus on the birthday of Imam Zayd ibn Ali.

In southern Yemen there are about 20 major shrines that were built for a Sufi known for his miracles as well as for exceptionally pious men of noble descent. Individuals seeking remedy for such misfortunes as infertility visit the tombs of these men, and celebrations of their birthdays last for several days. The festivities center on such towns as Say'un, Qaydun, and Shihr, the site of Salim Umar al-Attas's tomb. Pilgrimages are also made to Ghayl Ba Wazir and to the tomb of Hud (one of the Arab prophets mentioned in the Koran), which is located in the district of Sif, east of Tarim. In the cities women also participate in these rituals.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Rites of passage are carried out in Yemen in accordance with Islamic principles but vary considerably from place to place. Mawlids, recitals of stories of the Prophet's life, are commonly performed at weddings, postpartum rituals, and funerals. Since women's personal status derives mainly from mother-hood, birth is a highly ritualized event. In Sanaa a new mother receives visits from other women for 40 days. When a death occurs, condolences are conveyed to male and female relatives in separate rooms for about 40 days. Celebrations on behalf of children who have finished reading or memorizing the Koran are rarely performed nowadays.

MEMBERSHIP

All Muslim doctrinal schools are eager to increase membership through teaching, which now can reach a wider audience via broadcast media, Internet sites, and the distribution of audiocassettes.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The issue of social justice has been debated over the centuries in Yemen by scholars of the different Islamic legal schools. For Zaydi Shias the debate has had a specifically political dimension, focusing as it has on the imam's obligation to implement justice in accordance with the principles of the Shariah. A vast body of legal judgments relates to such matters as the principles of equivalence in marriage, a woman's entitlement to divorce, and a woman's right to maintenance in the event of her husband's prolonged absence.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

Heterosexual marriage is considered the basis of society in Yemen. In accordance with the interpretation of Islamic law by the state, the Family Law of 1992 prohibits marriage by minors under the age of 15 and enforces the mandatory registration of marriages. If a man is absent for more than a year and fails to support his wife, she can ask for a divorce, make use of his property, or take a loan in his name. A man wishing to take a second wife is obliged to inform both women of their personal circumstances. Zaydi-Hadawi law prohibits marriage with non-Muslims, but in practice few follow this rule.

POLITICAL IMPACT

Since the 1970s Sunni-affiliated Islamists have become ever more internationalized and politicized. The overthrow of the imamate left a religious vacuum that was filled by followers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, and the Sudanese Brothers, under the leadership of Hasan al-Turabi. The Islah party, founded in 1990, has incorporated many Islamist groups into the political system. The party runs several charities; its activities on behalf of the poor include the sponsorship of weddings in which several couples are married at the same time. The Ittihad al-Quwa al-shabiyya al-yamaniyya (Union of Yemeni Popular Forces) is led by Ibrahim al-Wazir, a liberal thinker who seeks to establish a democratic system in Yemen based on Islamic