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Introduction to the contemporary Arab world: Yemen between 1962 and 1990

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The Republic of Yemen is a country located in the Arabian peninsula. One of the main features of Yemen has been its centrality, which has been its characteristic feature since time immemorial. Until the nineteenth century, the Yemeni state was based on its centrality, and it exuded great power as it was the hub of trade in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen traded in spices, which helped it to emerge as a strong and prosperous nation . However, two centuries later, Yemen appears as a weak state, and is the poorest nation in the Arab world. It is one of the countries that has been classified as an LDC (Least Developed Country) in the Arab world. It is also one of the least affluent nations in the world. This paradigm shift in its power may have been due to the dual colonization, which split Yemen into two parts.

The north of Yemen was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and the South was colonized by the British. Though the British empire contributed to the richness of the nation in the South, around Aden, one of the reasons the nation fell into bad times was the mismanagement of wealth by the Imamate. In 1918, the north of Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Turks, and was ruled by the Hamiuddin family. This monarchy isolated North Yemen, but did nothing to improve it, and plunged it into underdevelopment further. North Yemen became a republic in 1962. The south gained independence from the British Empire in 1967, and adopted the communist government system in 1970.

The situation in the two parts of Yemen seemed worse between 1962 and 1990. South Yemen seemed poorer in 1990, than it was in 1960. Both North and South Yemen were ravaged by internal conflicts and external interventions. This led to the two parts of Yemen being mired in a slump, for almost three decades. However, the reunification of both parts in 1990 appeared to have been the most needed respite from the problems, and the situation seemed destined for a definite improvement.

In this document, we will discuss the difficult journey that Yemen has had, from being a super power to a poor nation, and its situation today. We will also talk about the various obstacles that Yemen has had to encounter, and will have to encounter, before it becomes the "Arabia Felix", as it was once known by the Romans. After showing the original divisions and the inclusion of the Yemeni conflict in the Arab world in the 1960s, we show how this intervention will lead to a Cold War-type configuration before the conflict comes to an end because of the international context.

The North Yemen, or the coexistence of an imamate was weakened by a religious and tribal conglomerate. North Yemen is characterized by the accumulation of many different types of internal divisions. The first division is of tribal order: it is indeed the dominant social formation in the north and the northeast and exploded into a multitude of tribes with different interests, variably taxed by the imam, which does fail to maintain internal conflicts.

Tags: Cold War, Ottoman Empire, Republic of Yemen

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