Yemen. Despite ongoing reconciliation attempts, fighting continued to rage on several fronts in Yemen, and the political crisis worsened. According to Countryaah.com, Yemen population in 2020 is estimated at 29,825,975. The Shiite Muslim Hut movement fought against Sunni Salafists, and both groups were fought by the military. In the south, separatists demanded ever-greater independence, while at the same time government forces (Aqap) with US support were included in a war against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The national reconciliation conference, which lasted for ten months, ended in January, resulting in the extension of the term of office of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi by one year. During that time, a new constitution would be drafted and Yemen transformed into a federation to meet demands for increased influence for the Huthirbels in the north and increased self-government in the south.
In late April, the government launched an offensive against Aqap in collaboration with the United States, which carried out a series of attacks with driverless planes, so-called drones. Many hundreds of lives were required in battles and a series of attacks and counterattacks.
During the summer, an economic austerity program was adopted which included a sharp increase in fuel prices. This led to strong protests from the huthirebels, who advanced from their core area in the north. Tent camps arose around the capital, Sana, with protesters demanding that the government reverse fuel prices.
The unrest escalated and eventually riots broke out between Houthis and government forces outside the capital. On September 21, the rebels entered the government headquarters, radio and several military facilities in Sana. In practice, they took control of much of the country. Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa resigned and after the UN mediation reached a deal that a new government should be appointed with representatives of both the Houthis and the separatists in the south. But the guerrillas showed no signs of wanting to leave the capital. An initial attempt to appoint a new head of government failed when the huhirebells said no, but in mid-October, Khaled Bahah was appointed new head of government.
A suicide attack that claimed nearly 50 people’s lives was carried out in connection with a mass meeting with mainly Huthian supporters in the capital Sana. Aqap took on the deed and said its purpose was to protect the country’s Sunni Muslims.
Yemen’s contemporary history
Yemen as an independent state has had a turbulent modern history, first as two partially rival neighboring states before 1990, then as one unified state formation. Yemen’s most recent history includes the sweeping changes in the country as a result of the 2004 uprising. This led to a civil war and then, from 2015, a regional war.
Behind this international intervention stands a multinational coalition led by Saudi Arabia. It started formally at the request of the Yemeni government, and through the Gulf Cooperation Regional Council, Operation Decisive Storm. The war is aimed at Houtis, a group from northern Yemen who in 2004 rebelled against the government. Houtis receives some support from Iran to some extent . The warfare is therefore a step in the struggle for influence between the two rival regional superpowers Iran and Saudi Arabia, as much as a support for the government of Yemen.
The war has had serious humanitarian consequences. More than 10,000 have been killed and more than three million displaced from their homes. In 2017-18, the United Nations described the situation in the country as the worst humanitarian crisis anywhere.
A weakened state power has made it easier for jihadists to establish themselves in Yemen. Al-Qaeda gained an early foothold, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has established itself as the most active part of this network. As a result, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States became involved in Yemen; including by waging a drone war. Later, the Islamic State (IS) also established itself in the country.