Yemen: About The Yemen - Part 1
History, government, and economy
Once the richest country in Arabia [referred to as Arabia Felix or Happy Arabia by early explorers], the Yemen is now by far the poorest. Although it does have some oil revenue, as the only republic in Arabia it does not enjoy the advantages of Gulf Cooperation Council membership. The people are mainly mountain tribesman. They are renowned as fierce warriors with a strict code of ethics. A good comparison would be the traditional society of the Scottish Highlands, where a man is honour-bound to defend with his life his worst enemy when that enemy is under his roof. Exactly the same applies in the Yemeni Highlands.
The Yemen is the ancient Kingdom of Sheba [Saba']. Queen Belqis, who famously visited and later married King Solomon, ruled from the city of Ma'arib in the northeast of the Yemen, the ruins of which [including even part of her throne] are remarkably well preserved despite millennia of neglect. As a result of her relationship with King Solomon, the state religion was changed from sun worship to Judaism, which it remained until the advent of Islam. Traditionally, the son of Belqis by Solomon was Menelik, who founded the Abyssinian Dynasty that later gave sanctuary to early Muslims. The Yemen later became the first country to adopt Islam as the state religion.
For more than eleven centuries, the Yemen was ruled by Hashemite Imams [kings] until an Egyptian-backed republican coup d'etat on 26th September, 1962. The royalists fought back, generating a civil war that can be deemed to have ended [there was never a surrender] in March of 1974 when the Prince Regent [HRH Prince Hassan al-Hussein] was evacuated for medical treatment, never to return. The ensuing several years saw a number of inter-republican coups d'etats and presidential assassinations culminating in the regime of the current president, Ali Abdullah as-Salah.
Greater Yemen was divided into north and south under the Ottomans, who effectively ruled the latter but only nominally the former. With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, the south became a British Protectorate. When Britain withdrew during the Wilson government, South Yemen [capital Aden] became the only communist Arab country. Throughout the early years of republican rule in the north, relations between north and south were a series of alternating wars and unification talks. Unification was eventually achieved as a result of the demise of the Soviet Union, which deprived the south of their patron. Not long after, the south waged an unsuccessful war of secession.
During the Gulf War, the Yemen sided with Iraq, thereby straining relations with the rest of Arabia - particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with whom there is a border dispute.
Government and Economy
The Yemen took its present form subsequent to the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [North Yemen] and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [South Yemen], which merger resulted from the overthrow of the latter's patron, the Soviet Union. The North became the senior partner, whose president, Ali Abdullah as-Salah became president of the unified country. Currency is the Yemeni Riyal, which is unstable.
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