Recent History and Politics
The Yemeni government is currently not very stable. There are political conflicts inside the country as well as around the borders. The Arabs and Israelis have fought for decades, which has added a lot of tension throughout the Middle East. Yemen is a supporter of the Arab Palestinian cause against Israel. The problem lies within the fact that the United States and other western countries are in support of Israel, the Jewish homeland.
Due to Yemen’s close vicinity to Africa, it is also been involved with many of the civil wars that have been going on between Somalia and many of the other East African countries. Refugees are able to quickly escape into the Yemen borders for protection and weapons often enter the country as a result.
Yemen’s port city, Aden, was bombed in 2000 by terrorists. Specifically, they bombed the USS Cole, a US ship.
Yemen has also been in the spotlight due to foreign kidnappings. The country does not have a good reputation to travel and many consider it to be dangerous. It is assumed that this is where most Islamic extremists operate. The country has been working with the United States to build security, however much of its population grow wary that it is linking itself too closely to the Western nations, which only creates more tension within the country.
In 2011, a Yemeni uprising followed various mass protests throughout the Middle East, including the Tunisian Revolution and the Egyptian Revolution. At first, the people of Yemen were fighting because of government corruption, unemployment and economic conditions. These fights soon escalated when Saleh, the president, was asked to resign because of the proposals to modify the Yemen constitution.
There was a “Day of Rage” in Aden and the capital city of Sanaa where over 20,000 people protested the government. These violent demonstrations continued for weeks. On June 3rd, there was a bombing of the government compound. Saleh was injured and others were killed. The Vice President took over as acting president while Saleh went to Saudi Arabia to get treated for his injuries.
The country continues to struggle with these problems because the citizens are tired of Saleh’s rule. While Saleh has said that he won’t run again in 2013 (which technically he cannot anyways, as his two terms are over), he has also said that he will not pass the presidency to his son. This is not enough for the citizens and they want more.
The struggles of Yemen and the various political problems are not helping tourism or the economy. The various tribes within the country have been taking sides, which add to the violence in the streets. Several countries have stepped in to try and help mediate, however they have since backed out because of the violent threats against them and their people.