Yemen officially the Republic of Yemen is a country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 square kilometres (203,850 square miles). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles). It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Guardafui Channel to the south, and the Arabian Sea and Oman to the east. Yemen's territory encompasses more than 200 islands, including the largest island in the Middle East, Socotra. Yemen is a member of the Arab League, United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Yemen's constitutionally stated capital is the city of Sana'a, but the city has been under Houthi rebel control since February 2015. Yemen is a developing country and the most corrupt country in the Arab world. In 2019, the United Nations reported that Yemen is the country with the most people in need of humanitarian aid in the world with 24.1 million.
Historically, Yemen was the home of the Sabaeans, a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years and also included parts of modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 275 CE, the region came under the rule of the later Jewish-influenced Himyarite Kingdom. Christianity arrived in the fourth century. Islam spread quickly in the seventh century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests. Administration of Yemen has long been notoriously difficult. Several dynasties emerged from the ninth to 16th centuries, the Rasulid dynasty being the strongest and most prosperous.
The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early twentieth century. The Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was established after World War I in North Yemen before the creation of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962. South Yemen remained a British protectorate known as the Aden Protectorate until 1967 when it became an independent state and later, a Marxist-Leninist state. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern republic of Yemen in 1990. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was the first president of the new republic until his resignation in 2012. His rule has been described as a kleptocracy.
Since 2011, Yemen has been in a state of political crisis starting with street protests against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and president Saleh's plan to amend Yemen's constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life. President Saleh stepped down and the powers of the presidency were transferred to Vice President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was formally elected president on 21 February 2012 in a one-man election.
The total absence of central government during this transitional process engendered the escalation of the several clashes on-going in the country, like the armed conflict between the Houthi rebels of Ansar Allah militia and the al-Islah forces, as well as the al-Qaeda insurgency. In September 2014, the Houthis took over Sana'a with the help of the ousted president Saleh, later declaring themselves in control of the country after a coup d'état; Saleh was shot dead by a sniper in Sana'a in December 2017. This resulted in a new civil war and a Saudi Arabian-led military intervention aimed at restoring Hadi's government. At least 56,000 civilians and combatants have been killed in armed violence in Yemen since January 2016.
The conflict has resulted in a famine that is affecting 17 million people. The lack of safe drinking water, caused by depleted aquifers and the destruction of the country's water infrastructure, has also caused the largest, fastest-spreading cholera outbreak in modern history, with the number of suspected cases exceeding 994,751. Over 2,226 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April 2017.