Yemen. Political chaos and strife turned into a full war
during the year that raged in most of the country. The
clashes were between President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi's
government army on the one hand with the support of
separatists in the south and an Arab country alliance led by
Saudi Arabia, and on the other the Shiite Muslim Huthi
rebels supported by Iran and the 2012 President Ali Abdullah
Saleh deposed. The war already left the very poor Yemen in
severe humanitarian crisis and 21 million people - around
80% of the population - were estimated to be in urgent need
of assistance by the end of the year. Nearly 6,000 people
were killed in fighting, of which nearly half were
civilians, and at least 1.5 million were driven from their
COUNTRYAAH, the al-Qaeda terrorist group on the Arabian Peninsula
(Aqap) also remained active and was also challenged by the
Islamic State (IS), which claimed Yemen as part of its
caliphate and carried out several attacks. Four suicide
bombers who attacked two mosques in the capital Sana in
February killed around 140 people in what is said to be the
bloodiest assault in the country's history.
The Huthi rebels who took Sana in the fall of 2014
rejected in January the government's proposal for a new
constitution. President al-Hadi resigned and fled to his
hometown of Aden. In March, the Houthis also entered Aden
and the president now fled abroad. At the end of the month,
the Saudi-led alliance of ten countries launched air strikes
against Yemen for the purpose of pushing back the Huthir
The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the
rebels and demanded that they give up conquered territory.
At the beginning of May, the Houthis shot down a Saudi
border city, which led to escalated air strikes. Mediation
attempts were made under the auspices of the UN and a
ceasefire was included on several occasions for humanitarian
aid to reach out, but each time flames soon sprang up again.
In July, the government side Aden resumed and in
September an offensive was launched to reintroduce Sana.
Then Saudi Arabia and Qatar also had ground troops in the
country. In November, President al-Hadi returned to Aden and
at the end of the year, UN-led peace talks were launched in
Political contradictions between conservative northern
Yemen and radical southern Yemen led to short-lived wars
between the two states in 1972 and 1979. At the same time,
there were great tensions within both regions. After merging
into one state in 1990, the contradictions between the north
and the south have continued, while there is tension within
each of these areas.
The conflicts in the northern part of the country have
intensified demands in the south to erupt, in order to again
establish their own state there. The war of 2015 has
therefore intensified the fear that the country may be
divided again. External intervention, not least from the
United Arab Emirates, has helped to strengthen separatist
groups, and demands independence for ancient South Yemen, or
parts of it.
The conflict in the north led to the armed uprising
started by Houtis in 2004. In 2014, the group captured the
capital Sana, then displaced the president and dissolved
parliament, after which the government called for military
support from outside.
The rebellion that erupted in the northernmost part of
Yemen in 2004 was started by the ash-Shabab al-Muminin
movement, best known as Houtis; led by Hussein al-Houti,
a religious Zaidi leader.
The conflict in the north was initially concentrated on
the province of Saada, but has spread from there. The
conflict has several causes; economic, social and cultural.
Saada is considered to be Yemen's least developed area, with
few public investments and services. Traditional social
structures, including a strong customer relationship, are
A religious dimension also comes into play. This is the
heartland of Zaidi, a group within the Shia denomination in
Islam, which stands in contrast to the Sunni direction,
which is the dominant in Yemen. However, the differences are
not considered very large. The government has accused the
Zaidis of wanting to set up a Shiite clergy (imamat) in
Until the revolution in 1962, the then northern Yemen was
ruled as a Zaidi imamate. The resistance in the 2000s
originated in the same areas that Imam Yahya moved to in
1962 after being deposed, and from which the opposition to
the new republic was then waged.
The war between the government forces and Houtis started
in June 2004, and has been going on for several rounds. In
2010, it signed a ceasefire as the basis for an agreement
known as the GCC initiative by the regional Gulf Cooperation
Council (Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC), which was behind
the mediation. Saudi Arabia also played an active role in
addition to being a member of the GCC. Even before the
agreement, in 2009, the country became involved in the
The GCC initiative indirectly led to the uprising in
2011, which ended with a regime change.