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Geographical Characteristic

Yemen is located between latitudes of 12-20 degrees North and


longitudes of 41-54 degrees East. This country is surrounded by Saudi
Arabia in the north, Arab Sea in the south, Red Sea in the west, and
Oman in the east. Kamaran and Perim islands belong to Yemen.
Kamaran islands are located in a-few- kilometer distance from the
west of the Red Sae and the southernmost part of the Red Sea. Perim
islands are located in the Bab Al-Mandab Straits, which separates the
Arabian Peninsula from Africa. Hanish islands in the south of the Red
Sea, Socotra island (the biggest and the most important island in
Yemen) in the easternmost part of the Red Sea and in Aden Gulf, and
the Kouria Mouria islands near Oman's coasts belong to Yemen, too.
Yemen's population is 25 million who are living in 20 provinces. Sana
is Yemen's capital. With a land area of 555,000 square kilometers,
Yemen has two major coastlines: Western Coastline off the Red Sea
and Southern Coastline off the Arab Sea.
Due to its fertile farmlands, strategic geographical situation, and
important seaports, Yemen has been vied by major colonial powers
during the history. This country is located between the Red Sea and
the Indian Ocean. Through Bab Al-Mandab Straits, Yemen can
control the Red Sea. Kamaran islands are also strategically important
in terms of military purposes and controlling the maritime activities in
the Red Sea. Yemen is also located in the proximity of the Horn of
Africa. Due to its peculiar strategic and geographical situation,
Yemen is actually considered as a bridge between the Middle East
and Africa. Despite its important geographical situation, this country
is unfortunately faced with numerous economic problems. Yemen
lacks any oil-based economy.
A brief review of Yemen's history: After a short time of the
emergence of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, this religion penetrated
into Yemen and Abdullah Ibn-e Ishaq Ibn-e Ibrahim ruled over this
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country. Up to 1750, Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire. After


the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Yemen became an independent
state in 1934 and based on an agreement signed with Britain. In 1962,
it became the Yemen Republic. In 1963, the Yemeni people resorted
to armed confrontation against the British and forced them to leave
the country in 1967. At this time, a relatively moderate government
headed by Qahtan Al-Sah'bi was established in Southern Yemen and
declared its independence from the rest of the country. Upon the
separation of the southern and northern parts of the country, the
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen was established in the south
and the Arab Republic of Yemen was established in the north.
In October 1978, the legislative council of the Arab Republic of
Yemen selected Colonel Ali Abdullah Saleh from the Hashed Tribe as
the president for a 5-year period. In November 1988, the leaders of
both countries concluded an agreement for the reunification of
Yemen. Afterwards, the reunification of Yemen was finally
announced in 1990 with Ali Abdullah Saleh as the president of the
unified country.
Following the peaceful popular revolution in Yemen in 2011, Ali
Abdullah Saleh resigned and Mohammad Basundawa, the vice
president, was assigned to form the transition government.
In November 23rd, 2011, and after 11 months of popular protests,
Saleh signed the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council's initiative and its
mechanisms for settling the crisis in Yemen. Based on this initiative,
Saleh would enjoy judicial immunity after resigning from his post.
The abovementioned initiative specified a two-phase procedure. In the
first phase, Saleh was supposed to transfer power to his deputy, Abd
Rabuhh Mansur Hadi. In the second phase, Mansur Hadi and
government were given a two-year deadline for reconstructing the
security and law enforcement forces. It was also agreed upon to
distribute power among various political factions during the transition
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period. According to this initiative, it was supposed to hold a


conference on integrated national dialogue with the objective of
amending the Constitution before the general elections set for
February 14th, 2014.
Nevertheless, Yemen's developments adopted a more rapid pace after
September 2014. Mansur Hadi was heedless of the demands of
revolutionary forces. He facilitated the interference of foreign forces
in the country and appointed the officials of the Saleh regime in high
positions. As a result, differences were emerged between Mansur
Hadi and revolutionary forces led by the Houthis (the Ansarollah
forces). Mansur Hadi's approach moved the country toward civil war
and disintegration.
Ansarollah forces, who had controlled the capital in order to maintain
Yemen's unity and territorial integrity and prevent civil war in the
country, put Mansur Hadi (who had resigned from his post) under
house arrest in January. In February, Mansur Hadi escaped from
house arrest and went to the city of Aden in the south of Yemen and,
despite the fact he had resigned from his post, declared himself as the
legal and legitimate president of the country. He formed a new
cabinet composed of opponents of the Yemeni revolution and former
runaway officials.
Population of religious sects in Yemen: Tribes constitute some 85
percent of Yemen's population. There are 168 Moslem tribes in this
country. Moslems are mostly from Shafei'i, Zeidi, Ismeili'i, and
Emamieh sects. 35 percent of the people in Yemen are Zeidi; 5
percent are Ismeili'i; between 2 to 8 percent are Emamieh; and 56
percent are Shafei'i. The majority and minority of the Sunnis in
Yemen are Shafei'i and Hanbali, respectively. The Shafei'i sect has
greater proximities with the Zeidi sect.
Generally speaking, religion has not been a divergent factor in
Yemen. Tribal affiliations are considered as the most important
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factors for the disintegration of Yemen and instability in the country.


While the majority of the Sunnis in Yemen are Shafei'i and some
neighboring countries are propagating Wahabbism in this country,
many Yemeni groups have been inclined to adopt Wahabi tenets. In
recent years, there are Shafei'i mosques and schools in various cities
of Yemen. Meanwhile, all Islamic groups in Yemen, such as
Twelvers, are living beside the Zeidi and Ismaeili sects.