Yemen: A Failed State at Risk of Civil War
Some Facts about Yemen as a Failed State
Yemen is one of the most water-scarce areas in the world. An estimated 80% of conflicts in Yemen are based on water. Up to 40% of water is used to grow ‘qat’ drug. Shortages will cause a major increase in internally displaced people. Yemen is the poorest Arab country. Nearly half the population lives on less than 2$ a day. Around 50% of Yemenis are illiterate. Yemen’s population will double by 2030. National unemployment is 35%. For young men the figure is much higher. Yemeni workers abroad send home around $1 billion a year, but more countries are now rejecting unskilled Yemeni workers. Yemen’s challenging landscape makes central control difficult. People largely live in one of Yemen’s 135,000 villages. Only one third of the population lives in urban areas. Corruption, tribalism, vague borders also complicate governing. Oil accounts for around 75% of Yemen’s economy, but its oil reserves are coming to an end, perhaps as soon as 2017. Falling prices saw the oil revenue drop by 75% between 2008 and 2009. A state fuel subsidy for citizens accounts for 11% of GDP. To increase hard currency revenue Yemen has tried to promote tourism, but there have been numerous attacks on Western tourists. In 2009, 8 Spanish tourists were killed by a car bomb. Numerous tourists have been kidnapped, most are released alive – but not all. By 2009, one third of the prisoners in Guantanamo were from Yemen. More Islamist fighters are going home from Afghanistan and Iraq. In the first six months of 2005, 700 Yemeni fighters returned from Iraq. Yemen has already been the scene of jihad attacks, notably on the USS Cole. Formed in January 2009, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had launched attacks in and from Yemen. The 2009 Christmas day ‘underpants bomber’ has been trained in Yemen. The 23 year old attended lectures at the radical Iman University in Sana’a. The university was established...
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