Showing posts with label yemen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yemen. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

War in Yemen: Map & Infographic of Foreign Military Deployments

This infographic map is a collaboration between PolGeoNow and CIGeography, a site focusing on infographics of military operations related to current events. For details on recent changes to territorial control and the political situation in Yemen, see our companion article, War in Yemen: Map of Territorial Control.

Map of territorial control in Yemen at the beginning of April 2015, with infographic on foreign military deployments to the country.
Map graphic by Louis Martin-Vézian and Evan Centanni (click to enlarge). All rights reserved.
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This map has also been posted at CIGeography and CIMSEC.

Following this story? View all Yemen maps on PolGeoNow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Map: Yemen Joins WTO

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Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member and observer countries, updated for July 2014 to include new member Yemen
Member and observer states of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Map by Evan Centanni, starting from public domain blank map (license: CC BY-NC-SA).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Map: Kosovo Recognized by 4 More Countries (101/193)

Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated for August 2013 with most recent additions and disputed recognitions highlighted
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, with the four most recent additions highlighted. Disputed recognitions in yellow. Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yemen Conflict Map: September 2012 (#4)

Since June, the Yemeni government has completed its campaign to free the south from Al Qaeda rule, but multiple rebel movements remain active. Keep reading for a summary of the current situation. (To see other maps in this series, view all Yemen updates.)

Map of current division in Yemen, including Al Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia activity, Houthi rebel control, and the location of the Southern Movement insurgency. Update for September 2012.
Presence of rebel forces in Yemen as of September 2012. Ansar al-Sharia is part of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Map by Evan Centanni, using this blank map by NordNordWest/Wikipedia (license: CC BY-SA).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yemen Conflict: Map Update 3

Fighting between Yemen's transitional government and Al Qaeda branch Ansar al-Sharia reached a climax this week, as government forces captured the militants' strongholds in Abyan province. This article gives a rundown of recent events and the current situation in divided Yemen.

Map of division in Yemen, including control by Al Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia, the Houthi rebels, and the Southern Movement. Update for June 2012.
Presence of anti-government forces in Yemen in June 2012. Ansar al-Sharia is part of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Map by Evan Centanni, using this blank map by NordNordWest/Wikipedia (license: CC BY-SA).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Map Update: Yemen Conflict

Country Name: Yemen (English), Al Yaman (Arabic)
Official Name: Republic of Yemen (English), Al Jumhūriyyah al Yamaniyyah (Arabic)
News Category: Divided Countries
Summary: Despite a negotiated end to its political crisis, Yemen is still deeply divided between the official government and at least three separate armed groups which existed even before the recent turmoil. For a description of the beginnings of Yemen's popular uprising and the first version of this conflict map from last July, see Yemen Fragments Under Uprising. A previous updated version of that map can be seen in the News Bits: October 2011 article.

Major areas of non-government control in Yemen, held by armed groups resistant to the country's recent power-sharing deal. Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are two related Islamic extremist groups. Map is my own work, from this blank map by Wikipedia user NordNordWest (license: CC BY-SA)

(Note: For updates to this map, follow the Yemen label on Political Geography Now.)

Conflict Update
Since last fall, the conflict in Yemen has undergone something of a change in direction. In November President Ali Abdullah Saleh finally signed an agreement with the Joint Meeting Parties, a coalition of opposition politicians that includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman. Under the deal, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saleh would yield the presidency in February to vice president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi via a symbolic election. After the power transfer went forward as planned last month, opposition militias have mostly ended their conflicts with the government, and unarmed protests have decreased (but not ended altogether). The city of Taiz, referred to as the heart of Yemen's revolution, has been largely demilitarized, and the streets of Sana'a no longer see frequent violence.

Useful Link: Timeline of the 2011–2012 Yemeni uprising (Wikipedia)

However, not all groups have fully agreed to the terms of the new arrangement. Most notably, there are three major armed groups who have been resisting the Yemeni government since long before last year's popular uprising began:

Ansar al-Sharia & Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP): These two apparently connected groups of Islamic extremists took advantage of the chaos of the revolution to carve out their own territories in southern Yemen. Ansar al-Sharia now controls much of Abyan and Shabwah provinces, including hotly contested Zinjibar, as well as its recently declared "Islamic emirates" in both Jaar (which they renamed Waqar) and the eastern Shabwah region. Al Qaeda affiliate AQAP operates widely in the country, and in January briefly captured the town of Rada'a before withdrawing after negotiations with local leaders. Ansar al-Sharia and AQAP have played no part in the peace process, and are sworn enemies of nearly all other major political groups in the country.

The Al Houthi Rebels: The Houthis are a Shiite insurgent group that has fought several wars for autonomy from predominantly Sunni Yemen since 2004. During the beginnings of last year's uprising, the Houthis solidified control over their home region of Sa'dah in the far northwest of the country, and have recently extended their power to the three surrounding provinces as well. The group's leadership has called for participation in the national reconciliation process, but boycotted voting in last month's single-party election. Only time can tell whether the Houthis' territories will be integrated into Yemen or again erupt into full-blown rebellion.

The Southern Separatists: Ever since North and South Yemen united in 1990, southerners wishing to re-secede have become a major political force in the country. Many of the separatists use peaceful political methods, but there are also insurgents who occasionally make attacks on the government in the name of southern independence. These separatist militants played only a small part in the uprising last year, but have recently become more active, denouncing last month's election and even going so far as to attack polling stations. Though they do not solidly control any territory, they still form a major threat to unity in Yemen.

Further Reading: Land of the Black Flag - Journalist Casey Coombs visits and photographs the Ansar al-Sharia stronghold of Jaar, the so-called "Islamic Emirate of Waqar".

Major Sources:
Yemen Post News
AEI Critical Threats 

Monday, October 24, 2011

News Bits: October 2011

"News Bits" posts cover minor political geography events from the last few months. Although the news may be of great political relevance, these events haven't (yet) affected major changes to the shapes, sovereignty, or political status of the world's countries.

Yemen: Militias Take Territory From Islamists
Territory and areas of influence for rebels (blue) and Islamic
extremists (red) in Yemen. Map is my own work, starting
from this map by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest
(license: CC BY-SA). (Corrected November 20, 2011)
In Yemen's ongoing political crisis (See: Yemen Fragments Under Uprising), some territory previously held by Islamist militants has fallen under the control of unsympathetic non-government forces, whose presence around the country seems to be expanding. The Islamists, who call themselves Ansar al-Sharia ("Partisans of Islamic Law"), have occupied the cities of Jaar, Zinjibar, and Shuqra in Abyan province for several months now, along with various smaller towns both in Abyan and in heighboring Shabwah. However, since July, many of the smaller towns have fallen into the hands of local militias, and the Yemeni government has gained ground in the Zinjibar area. Though the local militias are currently working alongside the government, it is unclear whether it may be only a temporary truce. Yemen's opposition forces are composed of a mixture of local and kinship-based militias, army defectors, and pre-existing rebel groups, which sometimes work together but are increasingly clashing among themselves. The country's third largest city, Taiz, is largely under the control of opposition forces, as are some parts of the capital, Sana'a. (More Yemen news on Political Geography Now)

Sudan No Longer Africa's Largest Country
Now that the South Sudan has gained independence (See: New Country - South Sudan), the remainder of Sudan is no longer Africa's largest country by area. Sudan's one-time top spot was  followed by Algeria in second place and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in third. However, the secession of South Sudan  removed a substantial portion of Sudan's territory, and the northern remainder of the country now ranks third in Africa - after Algeria and the DRC. South Sudan ranks 19th, out of a total of 54 U.N.-recognized countries in Africa. (Graphic my own work, based on this map by Wikipedia user Mangwanani. License: CC BY-SA)

Map showing most of the Cooch Behar
enclaves. By Dutch Wikipedia user
Jeroen (source). License: CC BY-SA
Wikipedia: List of African Countries and Territories

Indo-Bangladesh Treaty Defines Border, Trades Enclaves
A treaty signed last month between the governments of India and Bangladesh fully defines the border between the two countries, and provides for the trade of dozens of enclaves. The Indo-Bangladesh enclaves, also known as "chitmahals" or the "Cooch Behar enclaves" (after the district of India which most of them either belong to or are located inside), number well over 100, including patches of Indian territory within Bangladesh and patches of Bengladeshi territory within India. Their inhabitants have long suffered under abominable living conditions due to the fact that they have access neither to services from their own country (because of their isolation) nor to services from the country surrounding them (because they are not considered part of its territory). Under the new agreement, based on a 1974 deal that was never adopted, nearly all of the enclaves will be ceded to whichever country surrounds them, and inhabitants will have a choice of citizenship. The two parties also defined the border in several previously disputed or undemarcated areas. The treaty will not go into effect until it is ratified by both countries' legislatures.

Location of Rastan within Syria. Based on this
by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest.
License: CC BY-SA
Syrian City Falls Briefly to Rebels
In Syria's ongoing uprising, the city of Rastan fell under control of protester-friendly rebel forces for a few weeks last month, before ultimately being retaken by government troops. The crisis in Syria, seen as part of the so-called "Arab Spring" movement for democratic change in the Middle East, began with protests last January. By march it had escalated to widespread displays of defiance in the streets, to which the government responded by sending in tanks and soldiers. However, the resistance was mostly unarmed until army defectors began organizing against the military in September. The city of Rastan, one of several major protest centers, was taken over by anti-government forces, which were not driven out until October 1. So far there have been no more reports of Syrian cities falling under armed anti-government control, but protests and violent government crackdowns continue in full gear.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yemen Fragments Under Uprising

Country Name: Yemen (English), Al Yaman (Arabic)
Official Name: Republic of Yemen (English), Al Jumhūriyyah al Yamaniyyah (Arabic)
News Category: Divided Countries
Summary: After months of unrest and popular opposition to the government, much of Yemen's territory has fallen out of government control. Several areas are occupied by Islamist militants seeking to implement Sharia Law, while others have fallen under the control of various local groups and military defectors united in their demand for the removal of president and dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Rebel and Islamic extremist control in Yemen, according to news reports. Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are two related Islamic extremist groups. Unarmed protests not shown. Map is my
own work, based on this map by Wikipedia user NordNordWest (license: CC BY-SA). (Corrected: Nov. 20, 2011)
(Note: For updates to this map, follow the Yemen label on Political Geography Now.)

Full Story
When a country faces revolutionary change, the power of the people to oppose their government can result in a loss of control by the state, as opposition groups seize territory bit by bit. Despite the country maintaining international recognition as a single "nation-state", the territory claimed by the state may become divided. While in many cases this means one large rebel group taking control of a large section of the country, in other cases the territory may fragment into various scattered regions under the control of multiple groups. This is the process that has been occurring in Yemen during recent months.

Yemen is located at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, south of Saudi Arabia. A republic made up of 20 provinces or "governorates", it is the only country on the Arabian Peninsula with a democratic constitution; yet it also holds the unfortunate distinction of having the lowest standard of living of any country in the Arab world. Like many other allegedly democratic countries, Yemen has remained under the tight control of a single "president", Ali Abdullah Saleh, for more than 30 years. The current unrest began in January of this year, as part of the "Arab Spring" movement that has seen protests across the Arab world and beyond, and which early on resulted in the overthrow of governments in Tunisia and Egypt. After months of protests, crackdowns, and stalled negotiations in Yemen, an armed uprising erupted in late May.

Armed opposition to President Saleh's government has been undertaken by two largely separate groups. The first group is a loose coalition of "tribes" (social groups held together by family relations) and military defectors who support the peaceful protesters' goal of ousting the president. The second group is a coalition of Islamist militants calling themselves Ansar al-Sharia ("Supporters of Islamic Law"), whose objective is to create an Islamic state in Yemen. The secular opposition groups are most active in Yemen's populated western region, while Islamist activity is centered along the southern coast and in the sparsely populated regions of the east.

The series of 2011 protests and revolutions in the Arab world is sometimes called the "Arab Spring". Yemen is
located at the lower right. Map is from this Wikipedia page (public domain; original graphic).

(More Yemen news from Political Geography Now)