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01/07/2010

Yemen

In light of the developments in Yemen, just a few notes from the CIA World Factbook 2010.  

North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border. 

Natural hazards: sandstorms and dust storms in summer.  I'll take Bermuda.

Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification.   Sounds just lovely. 

Population: 23,822,000 [July 2009 est.] 

Infant mortality rate: 54.7 deaths / 1,000 live births [by comparison the rate is 6.26 in the U.S.] 

Life expectancy at birth: 63.27 years [78.11 in the U.S.] 

Economy – overview: Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported average annual growth in the range of 3-4% from 2000 through 2007. In 2008, growth dropped below 3% as the price of oil declined and the slowing global economy reduced demand for oil Yemen’s economic fortunes depend mostly on declining oil resources, but the country is trying to diversity its earnings. In 2006 Yemen began an economic reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. As a result, international donors pledged about $5 billion for development projects. A liquefied natural gas facility is scheduled to open in 2009. Yemen has limited exposure to the international financial system and no capital markets, however, the global financial crisis probably will reduce international aid in 2009. 

GDP - $55.29 billion
 
GDP – composition by sector:
 
Agriculture: 9.4%
Industry: 52.4%
Services: 38.1%
 
Unemployment rate: 35% (2003 est.)
 
Population below poverty line: 45.2% (2003)
 
Oil production: 320,600 bbl/day
 
From the BBC… 

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was formed in January 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of the international Islamist militant network in neighboring Yemen and Saudi Arabia. 

AQAP vowed to attack oil facilities, foreigners and security forces as it seeks to topple the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate. 

It has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in the two countries over the past 12 months, along with its attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day. 

AQAP first came to prominence in Saudi Arabia in May 2003. Despite a subsequent crackdown on Islamist militants and radicals by the Saudi security forces, the group was able to mount an attack on the Muhayyah residential compound in the capital that November, killing 17. 

In May 2004, militants shot dead five Western workers at a petrochemical complex in the northwestern Red Sea city of Yanbu. Later that month, another attack took out 20 foreign and Saudi nationals. Further attacks followed, including the abduction and beheading of an American aerospace worker. 

The Saudi security services then gradually gained the upper hand. 

Meanwhile, in Yemen, the ancestral home of bin Laden, the Sunni militants took advantage of the weak central government, whose authority does not extend far outside the capital Sanaa, and established strongholds in its largely autonomous tribal regions. In the years since there have been numerous attacks against both Western interests and Yemeni forces. 

Following the failed attempt to destroy the Northwest Airlines flight, AQAP issued a statement: 

“We tell the American people that since you support the leaders who kill our women and children…we have come to slaughter you [and] will strike you with no previous [warning], our vengeance is near. 

“We call on all Muslims…to throw out all unbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula by killing crusaders who work in embassies or elsewhere…[in] a total war on all crusaders in the Peninsula of Muhammad.” 

There are various reports on the size of AQAP. Some say just 50 fighters. Others say up to 300, “but most agree that if it is left unmolested it will soon become a major threat.” 

Hot Spots will return in two weeks.
 
Brian Trumbore


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-01/07/2010-      
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Hot Spots

01/07/2010

Yemen

In light of the developments in Yemen, just a few notes from the CIA World Factbook 2010.  

North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border. 

Natural hazards: sandstorms and dust storms in summer.  I'll take Bermuda.

Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification.   Sounds just lovely. 

Population: 23,822,000 [July 2009 est.] 

Infant mortality rate: 54.7 deaths / 1,000 live births [by comparison the rate is 6.26 in the U.S.] 

Life expectancy at birth: 63.27 years [78.11 in the U.S.] 

Economy – overview: Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported average annual growth in the range of 3-4% from 2000 through 2007. In 2008, growth dropped below 3% as the price of oil declined and the slowing global economy reduced demand for oil Yemen’s economic fortunes depend mostly on declining oil resources, but the country is trying to diversity its earnings. In 2006 Yemen began an economic reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. As a result, international donors pledged about $5 billion for development projects. A liquefied natural gas facility is scheduled to open in 2009. Yemen has limited exposure to the international financial system and no capital markets, however, the global financial crisis probably will reduce international aid in 2009. 

GDP - $55.29 billion
 
GDP – composition by sector:
 
Agriculture: 9.4%
Industry: 52.4%
Services: 38.1%
 
Unemployment rate: 35% (2003 est.)
 
Population below poverty line: 45.2% (2003)
 
Oil production: 320,600 bbl/day
 
From the BBC… 

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was formed in January 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of the international Islamist militant network in neighboring Yemen and Saudi Arabia. 

AQAP vowed to attack oil facilities, foreigners and security forces as it seeks to topple the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate. 

It has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in the two countries over the past 12 months, along with its attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day. 

AQAP first came to prominence in Saudi Arabia in May 2003. Despite a subsequent crackdown on Islamist militants and radicals by the Saudi security forces, the group was able to mount an attack on the Muhayyah residential compound in the capital that November, killing 17. 

In May 2004, militants shot dead five Western workers at a petrochemical complex in the northwestern Red Sea city of Yanbu. Later that month, another attack took out 20 foreign and Saudi nationals. Further attacks followed, including the abduction and beheading of an American aerospace worker. 

The Saudi security services then gradually gained the upper hand. 

Meanwhile, in Yemen, the ancestral home of bin Laden, the Sunni militants took advantage of the weak central government, whose authority does not extend far outside the capital Sanaa, and established strongholds in its largely autonomous tribal regions. In the years since there have been numerous attacks against both Western interests and Yemeni forces. 

Following the failed attempt to destroy the Northwest Airlines flight, AQAP issued a statement: 

“We tell the American people that since you support the leaders who kill our women and children…we have come to slaughter you [and] will strike you with no previous [warning], our vengeance is near. 

“We call on all Muslims…to throw out all unbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula by killing crusaders who work in embassies or elsewhere…[in] a total war on all crusaders in the Peninsula of Muhammad.” 

There are various reports on the size of AQAP. Some say just 50 fighters. Others say up to 300, “but most agree that if it is left unmolested it will soon become a major threat.” 

Hot Spots will return in two weeks.
 
Brian Trumbore