Yemen has historically

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Yemen has historically

Post  kosovohp on Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:03 pm

Yemen has historically enjoyed good relations with Somalia, its neighbour to the south and fellow Arab League member. Ethnic Somalis for the most part blend in well with Yemeni society, as they share centuries of close religious, commercial and social ties. Following the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia, Yemen unconditionally opened its borders to Somali asylum seekers. The World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, estimates that 110,600 Somali refugees lived in Yemen in 2007,[21] which is a fraction of the estimated 700,000-strong Somali nationals already living and working in Yemen.[22] There are also many Somalis who have received Yemeni citizenship due to marriage with Yemenis as well as through service to the nation over the years. In addition, Yemen and Somalia have a long history of trade and inter-action, with many of Somalia's Sultans, such as Yusuf Ali Kenadid and Gerad Ali Dable, often being exiled to and recruiting troops from Yemen's Hadhramaut region. Somalia has also over the centuries seen successive waves of immigration from Yemen, with Hadhrami settlers being instrumental in helping to consolidate the Muslim community in the coastal Banaadir region in particular.[23] During the colonial period, disgruntled Yemenis from the Hadhrami wars additionally sought and received asylum in various Somali towns.[24]

Yemen also maintains good relations with Djibouti, its other predominantly Somali neighbour to the west across the Red Sea. With a rapidly expanding economy, a stable government, huge investments from fellow Persian Gulf Arab states, and a strategic maritime location in the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti stands as an important ally. While Djibouti is largely inhabited by Somalis, it is separate from the Somali Republic and holds its own seat in the United Nations, and the League of Arab States. On February 22, 2008, the BBC reported that a company owned by Tarek bin Laden was planning to build a bridge across the Bab el Mandeb, linking Yemen with Djibouti.[25][26]

Since 2004, a civil war is being fought in Northern Yemen between Yemeni forces and Shiite Houthi rebels. In 2009, it spilled over into the neighbouring border region of Saudi Arabia. This conflict is increasingly becoming a danger to regional stability according to news reports by CNN[27] and the BBC[28] as various countries are said to be involved, e.g. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.[29] The United Nations[30] and UNDP Yemen report about a growing problem of civilians fleeing from the region. Yemen is said to have more than 60 million guns.[31] The 2009 South Yemen insurgency has further destabilized the country.

Some news reports have suggested that, on orders from President Barack Obama, US warplanes fired cruise missiles at what officials in Washington claimed were Al Qaeda training camps in the provinces of Sana’a and Abyan on December 17, 2009.[32] Other reports suggest that the airstrikes were carried out by Yemeni Mig-29 aircraft, probably helped by US intelligence,[33] or that cruise missiles were launched from warships offshore.[34] Officials in Yemen said that the attacks claimed the lives of more than 60 civilians, 28 of them children. Another airstrike was carried out on December 24.[35]
Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C.

On January 3, 2010 the US and British embassies in Yemen closed for security reasons after the failed plot to bomb a plane in Detroit and after reports of eight individuals planning an attack on the embassy itself. One was arrested with a suicide vest, while three others were killed. Four remain at large as of January 4, 2010.[36]

Despite these tensions between the US and Yemen, as well as increasing worries about terrorism in Yemen, President Obama has stated that he has no plans to introduce US military forces into the country, a sentiment that was echoed by US General David Petraeus. However, the terrorism worries seemed justified as a foiled terrorist plot was apparently conceived in Yemen. Instead of military intervention, the US government intends to increase military aid to $140 million in 2010.[37]

Geopolitical significance of Yemen (primarily its straits and oil fields) keeps this country in the sphere of the U.S. strategic interests. Control over the Aden port - the "gate to Asia" - brings huge benefits to the Americans and opens the infinite possibilities for maneuver in front of them. However, Americans are not the only nation to be interested in Yemen. China is struggling to improve its influence in Sri Lanka and Burma to form the new transport paths in the Persian Gulf, Africa and Middle East area as naval paths of the Indian Ocean are believed to be the “aortas of the Chinese economic organism”.

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