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Friday, October 29, 2010

Explosive Packages Intercepted enroute from Yemen to Chicago.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:






History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG:  Al Qaeda finds a natural home in traditioanlly rebellious, anti-colonial and separatist South Yemen.  
IN THE NEWS: ON A TIP FROM A SAUDI OFFICIAL, PACKAGED EXPLOSIVES SENT FROM YEMEN BY FEDEX AND UPS COURIERS WERE INTERCEPTED BY US AGENTS ON RUNWAYS AT DUBAI, THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AND THE EAST MIDLANDS AIRPORT

IN BRITAIN. THE DEVICES WERE WIRED, DOCTORED PRINTER CARTIDGES, INTENDED FOR DELIVERY, AND PRESUMABLY DETONATION, AT TWO CHICAGO SYNAGOGUES. THE EVIDENCE SO FAR POINTS TO 'AL QAEDA IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA', A GROUP THAT OPERATES IN SAUDI ARABIA AND YEMEN WHERE AL QAEDA PREACHER ANWAR AWLAKI HAS BEEN URGING SMALL BOMB ATTACKS AGAINST THE U.S. IT WAS AWLAKI WHO EGGED ON MAJOR NIDAL MALIK HASSAN TO KILL SOLDIERS AT RANDOM AT FORT HOOD TEXAS IN NOVEMBER, 2009 AND HE MAY HAVE INSPIRED THE 'UNDERWEAR AIRLINE BOMBER' WHO WAS FOILED THE FOLOWING CHRISTMAS.
 

BEHIND THE NEWS: In 1990, traditionally tribal and feudal North Yemen was united with rugged, remote South Yemen, the latter once ruled by the British. The moving force behind the union was North Yemen's President Saleh who serves to the present day. In 1994, the south, poorer and claiming to be disenfranchised, tried to break away from the union. Saleh mahy have foound one way of keeping the country unified by declaring Islamic law for all of Yemen.  It is precisely because of the country's rugged, tribal and deeply conservative character that Al Qaeda soon found a home in Yemen; indeed the South is also the birth place of  Osama Bin Laden. After Al Qaeda bombed the USS Cole in 2000 and the staged the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001, President Saleh, badly in need of US support and aid, swore loayalty to US President  Bush and the War on Terror. Since then, Saleh has been faced with fighting separatist and religious insugencies in the north and south as well as Al Qaeda, which seems to have set up in south Yemen where separatism and local resistance are strongest. Widespread attacks against government and foreign targets have continued for the last seven or so years, forcing Saleh periodically to offer deals and amnesties to Al Qaeda in a quest for stability in this extremely fragile country. In early 2009, Al Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arbia and Yemen joined to form Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Backed by US Special Forces and drone missiles and under US political pressure as well, Saleh has been sending his own government troops into sharp and bloody engagments with Al Qaeda strongholds in South Yemen. 
Al Qaeda Stronghold Yemen Borders Saudi Arabia
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:  Situated at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on trade routes between the the East and the Mediterranean, Yemen has hosted trading peoples from ancinet times. A significant  Yemeni Jewish population goes back at least to the 6th century AD, a century before Yemen was converted to Islam. Muslim persecution of Jews erupted in Yemen in the 12th century. In the mid-19th century, the British colonized South Yemen. The core of the Yemeni state remains North Yemen which, becuase of its remoteness and fierce tribal culture, won autonomy from the Ottomans and was left independent after the Ottomona defeat in 1918 at the end of World War I. South Yemen, meanwhile, mounted a tribal resistance against Britain which became a Marxist resistance, winning independence in the 1960s. After Russian subsidies to  South Yemen ended with the fall of the Soviet Union, the South was forced to accept union with the North in 1990. Though the entire country is rugged and difficult to rule, the greatest resistance comes from the south with its history of tribal as well as Marxist rebellions against British colonialism, making a perfecgt environment for Al Qaeda.


CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:   

RELEVANT DATES  DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
 
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF YEMEN


RELEVANT DATES:

Jewish Presence in Ancient Yemen.
525 AD- Judaism gains strength in the Himyarite kingdom of Yemen, resulting in the persecution of Christians.
650- (circa) Yemen falls under rule of Islam.

1165- beginning of Muslim persecution of Jews in Saydi Yemen.


Diffifulty of Ottoman Occupation.
1517 - the Ottomans occupy Yemen
1650 (circa) Ottomans expelled from Yemen.

British South Yemen.
1839- British make Aden a colony and gradually occupy South Yemen.

1849- the Ottomans re-occupy north Yemen only to face revolt.

Independent North Yemen.

1918- with the defeat of the Ottomans, north Yemen becomes independent under the rule of the Imam Yahya Hamid al Din with British support. Yahya centralizes government in return for giving Sharia law to the tribes.


South Yemen resistance to British Rule.
1958- -Lahej forms the Southern Arabian League to oppose Britain and form a south Arabian state including Aden and its territories which would then join Yemen in the United Arab States.
1967- under negotiations wth the NLF in South Yemen, Britain begins to withdraw from all of South Arabia.
1968 -in South Yemen, far left prevails and begins to impose Communism in two out of six states despite moderate central government.


Union of North and South Yemen.
1990- Yemen is united under Presdent Saleh. Former president of South Yemen, al Beidh becomes vice president.

1993- April -ruling parties of the former north and south form a coalition government. But little attempt is made to unify the tribal and feudal north with the south and the socialist stuctures imposed on it. North and South maintain separate armies and separate broadcasting.

-August- Vice President Ali Salim Al Beidh takes refuge in Aden claiming that the south is being neglected and northernerns are persecuting southerners.

1994- May- Northern and southern armies, which never integrated, face one another on the border threatening war.
1994- Sept 28- new constitution establishes Islamic Law as legal basis of country. Saleh elected to a 5 year term as president.
-Yemen fails to control outlying tribal regions.

Al Qaeda in Yemen.

2000- US war ship the USS Cole damaged in terrorist attack killing 17 sailors. US blames Al Qaeda franchise the Isamic Army of Aden Abyan. Yemen cooperates fully with US to track down culprits.

Oct- Four Yemenis confess to carrying out bomb attack at the British Embassy; say they did so in solidarity with the Palestinians.
2001- November- In wake of 9/11 President Saleh visits Washington and tells Bush that Yemen will join the fight against terror.


Yemen Cracks down on Al Qaeda.
-US and Yemen agree that mountain homeland of the Bin Ladens is a prime region for terror training camps.

2002- Feb. Yemen expels over 100 Islamic scholars, many of them English and French nationals in a a move against Al Qaeda suspects.

Oct. -the supertanker Limburg is heavily damaged off the coast of Yemen in attack. Al Qaeda is suspected.

2003- April- 10 chief suspects in bombing of SS Cole escape from prison in Aden.

2004- two of the SS Cole suspects are re-captured.
2007- July- convoy hit by suicide bomber killing 8 Yemenis and 2 Spaniards in Marib province.
2008- March-April- widespread attacks against foreign targets and installations in Yemen. US embassy evacuates personnel.

Sept- attack on US embassy in Sana'a kills 8 including asaillants. Six arrested.

Oct.- Saleh announces arrest of Islamist militants.
2009- Jan-March- the Yemeni and Saudi affiliates of Al Qaeda merge into Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.
2009- Feb. -government announces release of five Al Qaeda suspects on condition of good behaviour.

June- 9 foreigners abducted in the northern Saada region; bodies of three discovered.


Underwear Airline Bomber Trained in Yemen under Al Qaeda.

2009 Dec. -Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the Christmas attack on a US airliner by
the 'underwear bomber.' Sana'a asks for the West's support in the war on terror.

2010- President Saleh says he will open talks with Al Qaeda militants provided they renounce violence.
April- Yemen government holds Al Qaeda responsible for attack on the convoy of British envoy, Tim Torlot.


Sept- government military offensivce forces thousands to flee south Shawba separatist militants.

Oct- government troops under US pressure fighting Al Qaeda in difficult, rugged terrain of South Yemen, particularly in the Abyan region.



DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:  North and South Yemen, though unified today, were essentially different regions with different interests dating back to the 19th century with the tribal kingdom of North Yemen and  British-controlled tribal South Yemen with its colony of Aden. Aden and South Yemen, after all, commanded the straits between the Red Sea and the Indian ocean, a vital link between Britain and her Indian and Asian colonies.

This was the situation on the eve of World War One when North Yemen, under the Imam Hamid Yaya al Din, secured relative autonomy under Ottoman rule as a condition for siding with Turkey upon the outreak of hostilities. The Ottomans reinforced their position in Yemen with an elite bigade staffed by German officers. Fears that the latter would be used against the local tribes helped spark the Arab Revolt. In the wake of the Allied defeat of  Turkey, Al Din ruled an independent north Yemen while the British controlled North Yemen's ports including Hodeiba, loosely supervised the tribal south and adminstered Aden directly from the colonial office in India. When British- backed tribes lost the Asir coastal region to the Saudis, the Imam intervened and took back the ports and divided Asir with Saudi Arabia.


Yahya's medieval rule and monopoly on trade and nepotism alienated the merchants of merchants of Aden along with the considerable labour force. 


Though North Yemen and Saudi Arabia remained rivals for control of the Arabian peninsula in the 1930s, the European powers sought to establish hegemony in the region and kept a wary eye on Imam al Din. A border war ensued between the Saudis and Al  Din, ultimately without issue. After securing control over North Yemen by giving Sharia law to the tribes, Al Din attempted to expand his state into a Greater Yemen but his efforts were blocked by the British. Britain continued to repulse Yemeni incursions into Aden using the Royal Air Force. In the 1934, meanwhile, Britain consolidated her rule of South Yemen from Aden by signing a 40 year treaty with Sana'a, the capital. Saudi Arabia, made territorial incursions on North Yemen only to be stopped abruptly by French, British and Italian warships. In the end, North Yemen lost half its territory.

In 1937 Britain tightened its srategic grip on the region by making Aden a Crown Colony ruled directly from London and formally  adminstering the southern tribal areas as a protectorate. North Yemen, accepted support from Italy's Mussolini during  World War Two and became a member of the  Arab league in 1945.

Tensions escalated between north and south in 1948 when Imam Yahya al Din was assassinated by the reform-minded landowner Abdullah al-Wazir. The late iman's son Imam Ahmad Yahya al Din immediately overthrew Wazir and ascended the throne determined to unite north and south in a Greater Yemen. Once again, the British put a stop to North Yemeni expansion and the kingdom fell backward into feudalism. Until 1962, North Yemen, or Yemen proper, remained a theocracy with government ministers married into the royal family and the tribal areas controlled by seizing hostages which were then imprisoned in the capital.

The festering divide between North and South took on regional proportions as Egypt's Nasser and King Saud of Saudi Arabia signed a tripartite pact with North Yemen's King Ahmad. Having secured Egyptian backing,  Yemen attempted to calm its more progressive classes with a dose of Arab nationalism and opposition to the British in Aden by forming a federation with the United Arab Republic. The result brought about gains in the tribal south as part of the army of the Sultanate of Lahej, citing British oppression, defected to the federation in hopes of creating a larger southern bloc to be united in a non-British Southern Arabian League and, once again, isolating the British in Aden. In 1957-59 a brief war broke out between the North and the British. Britain decided to place a military base in Aden in 1958. Publicly, before the UN, Yemen laid claim to Aden. In 1959 Britain retaliated by offering to form a federation of southern sultanates in return for future independence.


Neither tribal north nor British colonial south had the power or the regional backing to attain their designs against the other. Britain knew she was facing the loss of everything in the South except for Aden. Things were no better for King Ahmad in the North as his union with the United Arab Republics disintegrated and he had a falling out with Nasser who found the king far too reactionary. At the Aden Conference of 1962, the British solution was to join the conservative southern sheikdoms with Aden in a single federation of South Arabia much to the fury of a growing secular political left.


The south was now a tinder box with a leftist National Liberation Front violently opposing the British and the conservative tribal Sheiks; and North Yemen sparking border skirmishes in hopes of taking advantage of a divided South. In the North, modernizing elements in the army and among the merchant class plotted to seize control. But it was the North that exploded in civil war when, upon the flight of King Ahmad, General Salel took control in September, 1962, at the head of a coup d'etat. The Middle East itself was nearly split as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and  Yemen's Zaidi border tribes backed escaped members of the fallen monarchy while urban Yemen, the Sunni hill tribes, Syria. Egypt and the United Arab Reublics backed the Republicans. The United States meanwhile, sent observers to Saudi Arabia, fearing instablity in the oil fields.


The civil war continued. President Salel reached out for help, getting training and technical support from Egypt and forming agreements with Moscow and Peking. The large number of Egyptians living in Yemen prompted the formation of pro- and anti-Nasser factions. With all local powers wanting Britain out of South Yemen, the contenders for independence, the leftist National Liberation Front (NLF) and the nationalist Front for the Liberation of South Yemen (FLOSY) become locked in civil war as well.

Salel, looking to profit from chaos in the South, attempted to regain territories lost in the civil war only to fnd himself deprived of crucial support from Nasser who withdrew ignominiously and was now embroiled in the 1967 war with Israel. A royalist coup against Salel fizzled. Compromises were reached with Sunnis, tribes and royalists. But it was not enough. Bereft of Nasser, his major backer, Salel was overthrown in a military coup by Major Abdul Rahmen al Iryani.


In the South, 1967 saw a sea change with a new military regime; and  a victorious NFL in the south ready to negotiate the withdrawal from Britain. But South Yemen's NLF soon split with a Marxist wing pushing for a radicalized program. Though the south, with an urban proletariat in Aden and a congeries of tribal groups, was not properly unified, the Marxists began, in 1968, by imposing Communism on two out of six districts. FLOSY meanwhile, having been ousted by the NFL, had found asylum in North Yemen whence it began launching attacks across the border with backing from Saudi Arabia and local Sheikhs. The NFL then split between Nasserites and Radicals.


A fragile Republican North Yemen subsisted in  1970 with the South consolidating one-party rule by a Marxist council. The council repressed dissident groups and renamed the new state the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. (PDRY). In 1972 the exiled tribal leaders had been invited by Aden to a meeting in the south where 65 of their Sheiks were apparently assassinated. Border clashes resulted ending with a peace being brokered by the Arab League. In October an agreement was signed to form a unified Yemen with the capital at Sana'a governing on combined principles of Islam and socialism. But restive Saudi tribes and other elements made the union all but impossible. The remainder of the 1970s witnessed continuous instability with major Iryani deposed in the North and two succeeding presidents, Ghashmi and Hamdo assassinated in plots engineered by the South. Promise arose in the North with Ali Abdallah Saleh who backed the idea of a democratic People's Constituent Assembly and to counteract the destabilizing and regressive force of the tribes, he reached out to the West and Saudi Arabia. In a final evolution toward Communism in South Yemen, the NLF was replaced by the Yemen Socialist Party which mirrored the Communist Party of the USSR.The North, meanwhile, mixed conservative tribal politics with socialism as if trying to mediate between the Communist South and and conservative Saudi Arabia to the north.

The spectre of North-South unity re-emerged in 1979, sparking border clashes. Meanwhile, Ali Nasser Muhammed rose to rule South Yemen in a military coup. Across the border, Saleh set up a General People's Congress and signed a propsective unity agreement with South Yemen. As oil production in North Yemen increased in 1984, President Saleh sought contacts with leftists in the South. Two years later the South's president Ali Nasser Mohammed fled the country after an assassination attempt and and Ali Salim Beidh rose to take the presidency. Unity loomed closer as the Soviet Union cut off support for South Yemen.

By the early 1980s, Yemen's isolationism kept it an archaic society in some respects little different from the 9th century beginnings of the Rasshid dynasty. About half the rural, highland population was made up of Shia living in the mountain hinterlands who accepted the relgious and political authority of the imam. The remainder, living in the coastal lowlands, are Shafi'ite Sunnis.

Yemen's final unification takes place in 1990, two years after Saleh's re-election. The newly united Yemen flexes its muscles by refusing to enter the 1991 Gulf War. But despite a coalition government, there's no easy union between the feudal culture of the North and the new Socialist structures of the South. Ominously, each retains separate broadcasting facilities and armed forces. 
   
Amid mutual recrimination the presidents of North and South- Saleh and Beidh, drift apart with the South claiming political persecution and discimination and by 1994 the two armies face one another across the border. In the end, Beidh is ousted, Saleh declares Yemen one and independent and makes secession illegal. He is instantly challenged from the South by President Bakr al Attas who declares indepndence for South Yemen. In the fall, Saleh unifies the country with armed force and establishes Islamic law before his re-election to a five-year term.


In 1998- unified, fragile and fraying around the edges with tribal disorders, its centre wrought with perennial tensions between north and south, Yemen forges closer ties and holds joint military exercises with the United States. As part of the deal Aden is made available for the refueling of US warships.

A consequence, in the year 2000, is the bombing of the warship the USS Cole killing 17 sailors.  Washington blames the Islamic Army of Aden Abyan, the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda and Yemen joins the US in the hunt for the culprits. Four Yemenis confess to the operation, claiming it was done in solidarity with the Palestinians. After a violent referendum in 2001, Saleh is re-elected with expanded powers while his General People's Congress continues to dominate the south.

In November, 2001, two months after 9/11, President Saleh visits Pesident Bush in Washington declaring he will join Bush's War on Terror.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS :


After the attacks of 9/11, Washington and Yemen are particularly concerned that  the Bin Laden family's mountain homelands in Yemen would host trainig camps for Al Qaeda. In February 2002, Yemen expels 100 Islamnic scholars while a supertanker sustains heav damage in a bombing reminiscent of the attack on the USS Cole.

10 suspects in the bombing of the USS Cole escape in 2003. In a major embarrassment for Yemen, only two have been recaptured by 2004.


Summer 2004 brings an entirely new development with a Shia insurgency led by a cleric, Hussein al Houthi in north. ( Yemen is muslim with a little more than half  the populationSunni with the remainder Shia.) Yemen. Hundreds are killed in combat with government troops. After Al Houthi  himself is killed, his Shia followers offer to lay down their arms in return for a pardon and in 2006, 600 of the rebels are given amnesty. After Saleh's re-election, January 2007 sees renewed fighting between the government and followers of al Houthi's successor, Abdul Malik Al Houthi, who accepts a ceasefire in June.


Amid renewed fighting with the Al Houthi rebels and violent demonsrtrations in the south, tourism, oil exploration by foreigners and foreign service postings proved highly dangerous. Tourists and Ukrainian oil company employees die at the hands of suicide bombers and tribesmen while foreign embassy personnel are threatened. It culminates in 2008  with assault by insurgents on the US embassy in Sana'a in which 8 insurgents are killed. In October, Saleh begins a round-up of Islamist militants.

Government troops clash with Al Houthi rebels in August, 2009, displacing thousands in the northern border region.

 In November, Saleh faces internal problems with five wounded when police open fire on demonstrators demanding electoral reform.

Foreigners once again are the target as eight visitors go missing before the bodies of three are discovered.

Saudi Arabia becomes embroiled in the Shia border insurgency as Saudi Arabia recaptures territory from Al Houthi rebels clashing with Saudi troops in October-November 2009. The rebels accuse the Saudis of supporting the Yemen government in Sana'a.

The December 2009 attempted airline bombing by the "underwear bomber" inside the U.S. is soon traced to an Al Qaeda group in Yemen. Saleh expresses a willingness to begin talks with Al Qaeda provided they renounce violence. After the convoy of British envoy Tim Torlot comes under attack, Sana'a holds Al Qaeda responsible.

In February, 2010 Sana'a signs a cease-fire with Al-Houthi rebels and in March the Shia insurgency, under government pressure, releases 178 prisoners.



PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

In the 9th century BC, the Minean people of south Yemen control a wide-ranging trade network covering most of north Africa and Yemen itself forms the southern heartland of  an advanced civilization in the Arabian peninsula.  Myth makes Yemen the homeland of the Queen of Sheba. The feudal Sabians supplant the Mineans only to be supplanted in  turn by the Himyarites. By 200 BC, the Himyarites are losing control of the Indian Ocean trade to the Mediterranean. Still, they repulse a Roman legion in 24 BC. The third to the seventh centuries AD witness a general waning of the Yemeni trading states.


In 525 AD, the growing strength of the Himyarite Jewish population results in the persecution of Christians. Meanwhile, the Himyarties recover their trading power, controlling commerce in frankincense, myrrh and rare woods between India, China, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. With Byzantine encouragement, Christian Abyssinia in 530 invades the Himyarite Kingdom; the invaders succeed, but fail to capture Mecca. Five years later, Abyssinian control of the Himyartie kingdom falls to the Persian Sassinids under Chosroes I

Islam arrives in Yemen around 650. In the eighth century, the region becomes Shia after Zaid, the great grandson of Ali secedes from the Omayyads in a succession dispute in 740.  Yemen is then ruled by the Zaidi Imam Ali Kasim al-Rassi. By 1000 Yemen is part of the Caliphate of Egypt. Once again the Jews of Yemen appear in the record, this time because of Muslim persecution. In the Middle Ages, the region maintains its commercial prominence with the trade in alum for dying textiles.

After the Ottoman occupation of Yemen in 1517, the British make trading contact, with posts in Aden and regions inland for strategic protection of her maritime commerce with India. But the moutains wall off the hinterland and local rule prevails as the Ottomans are expelled in the 17th century and the Sultanate of Lahej continues rules the south around Aden. Yemen remains a difficult prize. In 1798 the  British attempt and fail to occupy Perim Island off the coast of Aden in a bid to head off Napoleon's threat to the route to India. The Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia attack North Yemen on a campaign of conversion but are unable to make headway. In 1818 Ibrahim of Egypt drives them out on behalf of the Ottomans and restores the Zaidi Imam in exhannge for a subsidy to Constantinople. The Ottomans garrison the main Yemeni ports.

The British succeed in capturing Aden in 1839, making the Sultan of Lahej into a vassal. The new colony of Aden, now protecting Britain's sea route to India, is administered from Bombay.

In 1849, intractable North Yemen, meanwhile, rebels against reoccupation by the Ottomans.To the south, Aden is further tied to European interests when it becomes a feuling station with the opening of the Suez canal in 1869.  The north, under the Imam Yahya Hamid al Din, however, enters the 20th century in 1900 under Ottoman suzerainty. In 1911, on the eve of Wolrd War One,  the Iman leads a rebellion against the Ottomans and obtains joint rule with Constantinople.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY:

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF YEMEN:


Ancient Yemen

800-200 BC- Mineans, a tribe of south Yemen, send camel caravans to memphis, Egypt and to the Atlantic cooast of Africa.

750 BC- advanced civilizations in southern Arabia. The Yemen region forms the cultural heartland of Arabia.

-Sabeans absorb the Mineans and set up a system of feudal aristocracy that resists the rise of any centralized authority.

-Sabeans absorbed by the Himyarites.


The Himyarites

-200 BC (circa) Himyarites lose control of the major Mediterranean trade route to India after it is diverted to Egypt.

-24 BC- Himyarites repulse a legion under Aelius Gallus at the behest of Julius Caesar.

200-600- waning of the urbanized Yemenite trading states.

525 AD- Judaism gains strength in the Himyarite kingdom resulting in the persecution of Christians.

-Himyarites control the trade route in frankinsense, myhhr and rare woods between Europe, Africa, the Mideast and India and China.

530- Byzantium encourages Christian Abyssinia to invade the Himyarites. Abyssynian governor Abraha conquers the Himyarites and invades the Arabian heartland but fails to capture Mecca.

575- Abyssinia loses Arabia to the Persian Sassinids under Chosroes I.


The Arrival of Islam.

650- (circa) Yemen falls under rule of Islam.

1000- Yemen ruled by caliphs of Egypt.

1165- beginning of Muslim persecution of Jews in Saydi Yemen.

1250 (circa)- Yemen is an important source of alum for the dying of textiles.


The Ottomans and the Arrival of British Trading Interests.

1517 - the Ottomans occupy Yemen

-Britain using Aden and hinterland for trading and strategic outposts in the India sea trade.

1650 (circa) Ottomans expelled from Yemen.

-Aden ruled by the Sultanate of Lahej.

1798 (crica) -British attempt but fail to take strategic Perim island off the coast of Aden in the Red Sea to ward off Napoleon's ambitions in India.

1839- British seize Aden and make the Sultan of Lahej into a vassal.


Aden a British Colony.

1839- Aden becomes part of the British Empire; the port is needed to secure the passage to India.

-Aden ruled from India by the Presidency of Bombay.

1869- Aden becomes a refueling station at the opening of the Suez Canal.

1849- the Ottomans re-occupy north Yemen only to face revolt.


Hamid Al Din Rules North Yemen.

1900- North Yemen under Ottoman suzerainty, ruled by Yahya Hamid al Din (1869-1948)

1911- al Din rebels against Ottomans and gains greater powers.

1914-18- Ottoman Turks attacking Birtish garrisons in Aden. In north, al Din supports Ottomans.

1916- arrival of German offficers in command of Ottoman troops in Yemen helps set off the Arab rebellion.


North Yemen Independent After World War One.

1918- with the defeat of the Ottomans, north Yemen becomes independent under the rule of the Imam Yahya Hamid al Din with British support. Yahya centralizes government in return for giving Sharia law to the tribes.

1925- Imam Yahya occupies Hodeida port from the Asir region in bid to re-establish Greater Yemen. But Britain stops any further expansion.

1926- Sept. 22- treaty between Italy and the Imam of Yemen- in which Italy hopes to gain access to the east and west coasts lf the Red Sea.

-border disputes between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.


British Rule in South Yemen.

1927- Britain rules Aden directly as opposed to the surrounding protectorate.

1932- Aden governed directly from colonial British India.


Treaty Between Brtiain and North Yemen.

1934- Feb 11- 40 year treaty between Britain and Sana'a.

-North Yemen and Saudi Arabia go to war over the Asir region. Saudi Arabia, after seizing Hodeida is stopped from further expansion by British, French and Italian warship.s

May-June- Britain brokers a peace which leaves North Yemen independent but with half its territory.

1936- April 2- North Yemen joins treaty of non-aggression between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.


British Rule of South Yemen.

1937- Aden becomes a Crown Colony of the Britain and the surrounding territory formally becomes a British protectorate, ruled directly by a British governor.

-despite Birtish development and progress, frequent anti-British riots.

1937- Oct 15- renewal of Italy-Yemen treaty for 25 years. Imam of Yemen tries to maintain independence from Arabia, Britain and Italy.

1945- North Yemen a charter member of the Arab League.


British South Yemen made up of 23 Sultanates.

1947- British establish an advisory council in Aden. Tading city of 100,000, majority Arab. The Aden protectorate stretches along the south, approximating what would be South Yemen with eastern and western protectorates, 23 Arab sultanates, emirates, sheikhdoms and minor tribal units...British authority through all the entities is irregular, secured by individual treaties. Majority of the 80,000 are Bedouin tribesmen. All policed by Arab troops under British officers.
Most privielged principality i Lahej.

1947- Sept. 30- North Yemen admitted to UN.


North Yemen's Yahya al Din Assassinated. Heir dreams of Greater Yemen.

1948- Imam Yahya is assassinated but his son Ahmad ibn Yahya succeeds him and preserves feudalsim. He will rule intil 1962.

1948-1962- Yemen becomes isolated and backward.

-British stop Imam Ahmad of North Yemen from attemting to recreate Greater Yemen.

1956- April 21- Nasser, King Saud, and Imam Ahmad sign a 5-year tripartite military pact under Egyptian command.

-Moscow sending miltary aid to Syria, Egypt and Yemen.


North Yemen Begins to make gains in South Yemen.

1958- March 8- in Damascus, Ibn Ahmad, and his son the Crown Prince Said al-Badr join Nasser in forming a loose federation of North Yemen with the UAR to be called the United Federation of Arab States.

-June- one third of the army of the Aden Sultanate of Lahej defects to North Yemen due to sultan's compaints about British domination. Britain appeals for hel from Egypt's Nasser.


Beginning of anti-British National Consciousness in South Yemen.

-Lahej forms the Southern Arabian League to oppose Britain and form a south Arabian state including Aden and its territories which would then join Yemen in the United Arab States.

1959- Feb 11- Britain brokers a federation of the 6 Arab emirates of the south, including south Yemen but not Aden, in return for future independence.

-Aden is Britain's last secure possession in the Middle East.

1961- UAR ends federation with North Yemen. Ibn Ahmad turns against Egypt's Nasser.

British Grip on South Yemen is Loosened.

1962- July 25- delegates at London conference on Aden agree to its merger with the South Arabian Federation of the Sheikhdoms in the Aden territories. Riots erupt because the SAF is controlled by conservative Sheikhs.

-Republic of Yemen renews claims to all of southern Yemen and border skirmishes erupt with the British. Leftist NLF Republicans supported by the UAR oppse the Biritsh and the conservative Sheikhs.


Civil War in NorthYemen falls along Cold War Lines.

1962- Sept 19- upon the death of  Sultan Ibn Ahmad, latter is succeded by his son Muhammad Al-Badr but the army takes control under General Abdullah al-Sallal in a coup d├Ętat, forming the Yemen Arab Repubpic (YAR). In a civil war the royalists take refuge in Saudi Arabia and are backed by the Zaidi tribes in the north, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the republicans by the Sunni Sahfei hill tribes of the south, the United Arab Republic, Syria and Nasser`s Egypt. Royalists receive arms from British South Africa. The Republicans are armed by th Soviet Union.

-Royalists try to rouse the tribes against the rebels.

-Nov 6- Saudi Arabia claims that UAR planes bombed Saudi territory while assisting the rebels.

-Nov 11- UAR and Yemeni Republic announce military defence treaty.

-US exerts pressure to prevent the fighting from destabilizing Saudi Arabia and other oil producers in the region.

1963- Mar 2- UN rep Ralph J Bunche in Yemen to observe involvement of Saudi Arabia and the UAR in the civil war.

-Aden joins the South Arabian Federation of Arab Emirates.

-June 7- UN persuades UAR and Saudia Arabia to help broker a peace in North Yemen Civil War.

1964- March 3- Saudi Arabia and the UAR officially urge independence for South Yemen.

March 24- North Yemen President al-Salel visitis Moscow and obtains a treaty and aid from Soviet Union.

March 28- Britain sends planes to bomb a Yemeni fort after Yemenis launch an attack on Federation of South Arabia.

-June 15- North Yemen signs friendship treaty with China.


Civil War in Territories of South Yemen

-after a civil war in South Yemen between the northern-influenced National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY), the NLF is victorious by 1967.

1967- Salel tries to rgain territory North Yemen lost in civil war but fails due to Egypt being tied up in war with Israel.


North Yemen's President Salel overthrown after losing support of Egypt.

-November- Salel, deprived of Egyptian support is overthrown by officers led by Abdul Rahman al Iryani.


South Yemen becomes independent inder the National Liberation Front.

1967- under negotiations wth the NLF in South Yemen, Britain begins to withdraw from all of South Arabia.

-under the NLF South Yemen established as The People's Republic of Yemen (PDRY), including South Arabia and the port of Aden. But much impoverished after the departure of the British.

-but soon the NLF is split between thouse who want a traditional socialist government and radicals who want a Marxist party organization and state control.

-South Yemen is never properly unified.


Far Left Rules South Yemen.

1968 -in South Yemen, far left prevails and begins to impose Communism in two out of six states despite moderate central government.

-border attacks by FLOSY on South Yemen from the north, with support from Saudis and local Sheikhs.

-attempts are made to impose Communism on South Yemen through cooperatives and central planning with assistance from USSR. In return, USSR gets a naval base in Yemen.

1969- leftist leader in South Yemen turns power over to a radical left guerrilla council.

1970- North Yemen ruled by fragile republican coalition.

-South Yemen renamed The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. (PDRY)

1971. South Yemen represses dissidents as rebel groups form against the government.

1972- border clashes between the YAR of North Yemen and the PDRY. Arab League brokers a ceasefire.


Instability in North Yemen.

1974- military coup deposing Iryani places North Yemen under command of Hussein al Ghashmi.

1977- President Ibrahim Hamdo assassinated.

1978- President Gashmi assassinated.


North Yemen More Stable under President Saleh.

1978-Ali Abdallah Saleh is new president of North Yemen. Backs the People's Constituent Assembly. He looks for help from Saudi Arabia and the West despite hostility from tribal leaders which slowed progress within the country.

-in South Yemen the NLF is replaced by rhe Yemen Socialist Party modeled on the
Communist Party of the USSR.

1979- new efforts to unite north and south Yemen spark new fighting.

1980- Al Nasser Muhammed takes control of South Yemen in a coup.

1981- Saleh sets up 1,000 member General People's Congress.

-Saleh signs a unity agreement with South Yemen.

1982- thousands killed in earthquake.

1984- oil production increases rappidly in North Yemen.

-Saleh accepts economic support from Saudi Arabia while forging links with leftists in South Yemen.


Coup in South Yemen.

1986- President Ali Nasser Mohammed flees the country after attempted assassination. New government sentences him to death for treason. Ali Salim al Beidh is president of South Yemen.

-Moscow cuts its aid to South Yemen, spurring the latter to unity talks with North.

-brief civil war followed by unity talks.

1988- Saleh re-elected in North Yemen.


Unification of Yemen.

1990- Yemen is united under Presdent Saleh. Former president of South Yemen, al Beidh becomes vice president.

1991- Yemen opposes the US-led Gulf War.

1993- April -ruling parties of the former north and south form a coalition government. But little attempt is made to unify the tribal and feudal north with the south and the socialist stuctures imposed on it. North and South maintain separate armies and separate broadcasting.

-elections- YSP of al Beidh accuses Saleh of co-opting the YIG party to gain power.


Collapse of Unified Yemen.

-August- Vice President Ali Salim Al Beidh takes refuge in Aden claiming that the south is being neglected and northernerns are persecuting southerners.

1994- May- Northern and southern armies, which never integrated, face one another on the border threatening war.

May - Saleh imposes state of emegency and dismisses Al Beid after government deadlock and increasing violence.

May 21- Saleh declares the independence and unity of Yemen, declares secession illegal

-Bakr al-Attas declares South Yemen independent.


Saleh Re-unifies Yemen by Force.

July - North Yemeni government forces occupy Aden, force secessionist leaders out of the country and re-unify the country.

Sept 28- new constitution establishes Islamic Law as legal basis of country. Saleh elected to a 5 year term as president.

1995- Yemen and Eritrea fight over disputed island territory.

-border disputes between North Yemen and Saudi Arabia aggravated by discovery of oil in the area.

-Yemen fails to control outlying tribal regions.


Yemen Strengthens Ties with United States.

1998- Nov- in strenghening its ties with the US, Yemen has joint military exerces with US.

1999- north-south border disputes resolved with a 40 km demilitarized zone.

-Yemen aggrees to let US Navy use Aden for refueling.


Al Qaeda Bombs USS Cole.

2000- US war ship the USS Cole damaged in terrorist attack killing 17 sailors. US blames Al Qaeda franchise the Isamic Army of Aden Abyan. Yemen cooperates fully with US to track down culprits.

Oct- Four Yemenis confess to carrying out bomb attack at the British Embassy; say they did so in solidarity with the Palestinians.

2001- February- violent referendum shows support for increases presidental powers and term limit. The north continues to dominate the south through the General People's Congress.

2001- November- President Saleh visits Washington and tells Bush that Yemen will join the fight against terror.


Yemen Cracks down on Al Qaeda.

-US and Yemen agree that mountain homeland of the Bin Ladens is a prime region for terror training camps.

2002- Feb. Yemen expels over 100 Islamic scholars, many of them English and French nationals in a a move against Al Qaeda suspects.

Oct. -the supertanker Limburg is heavily damaged off the coast of Yemen in attack. Al Qaeda is suspected.

2003- April- 10 chief suspects in bombing of SS Cole escape from prison in Aden.

2004- two of the SS Cole suspects are re-captured.


Islamist Shia al Houthi Insurgency in north.

June-August: Government troops battle Shia Islamist leader and cleric Hussein al Houthi in north Yemen. Hundreds killed.

August- court sentences 15 men in bombing of the Limburg and other terror attacks.

Sept. -Government troops claim to have killed rebel cleric Al Houthi in the north.

Sept 29- 2004- A Yemeni court senteces two Al Qaeda operatives, Al-Bashiri and Al Badawi to death for the attack on the USS Cole. Four others get prison sentences.

March-April- insurgent followers of Al Houthi renew attacks on government forces.

May- rebel leader of Al Houthi's Shia movement offers to lay down arms in return for pardon amid continued fighting.

2006- 600 followers of slain Shia rebel cleric Al Houthi are given amnesty.

Sept- Saleh wins another term as president.


Sucessor to al Houthi Resumes Shia Insurgency.

2007- January-March- government fighting against Shia Al Houthi rebels in north.

June- successor Abdul Malik al Houthi accepts ceasefire.

July- convoy hit by suicide bomber killing 8 Yemenis and 2 Spaniards in Marib province.

Aug. Fire arms banned for citizens in Yemen along with demonstrations without a permit.

-November- tribesmen attack troops guarding a Ukrainian oil company leaving 16 dead in Shabwa Province.

2008- January- more fighting between followers of Shia rebel cleric Abdul Malik Al Houthi and government forces.

March-April- widespread attacks against foreign targets and installations in Yemen. US embassy evacuates personnel.

April- clashes in south with govenrment troops in demonstrations against job descrimintion against south Yemen.

Sept- attack on US embassy in Sana'a kills 8 including asaillants. Six arrested.

Oct.- Saleh announces arrest of Islamist militants.

Nov.- police fire on demonsrrators demanding electoral reform. Five injured.


2009- Jan-March- the Yemeni and Saudi affiliates of Al Qaeda merge into Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.

Feb. -government announces release of five Al Qaeda suspects on condition of good behaviour.

June- 9 foreigners abducted in the northern Saada region; bodies of three discovered.

Aug.- government launches offensive against Shia insurgency in northern Saada region, dsiplacing thousands.

Oct.- Shia rebels in Saada on the northern border clash with Saudi security forces. Rebels claim the Saudis are cooperating with the government in Sana'a

Nov. -Saudi Arabia recaptures territory lost from Shia rebels in border region.

Underwear Airline Bomber Trained in Yemen under Al Qaeda.

Dec. -Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the Christmas attack on a US airliner by
the 'underwear bomber.' Sana'a asks for the West's support in the war on terror.


Dec 25- Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, the "Underwear Bomber", arrested for attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253. He had been trained in Yemen by 'Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsuala."
2010- President Saleh says he will open talks with Al Qaeda militants provided they renounce violence.


Ceasefire with al Houthi Shia Rebels.

Feb.- cease-fire signed with northern Shia Houthi rebels.

March- Houthi rebels release 178 captives after government accuses them of failing to abide by terms of ceasefire.

April- Yemen government holds Al Qaeda responsible for attack on the convoy of British envoy, Tim Torlot.



Sept- government military offensivce forces thousands to flee south Shawba separatist militants.


Oct- government troops- under US pressure- fighting Al Qaeda in difficult, rugged terrain of South Yemen, particularly in the Abyan region.
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