Located on the Southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen’s recent history is rife with instability. In 1990 the Marxist South Yemen and North Yemen agreed to unification and became one state under the name of the Republic of Yemen. However, a southern secessionist movement sparked a short lived civil war in 1994.
Since 2004, the Houthis, a Northern Yemen based Zaidi Shia sect, has waged a low level insurgency against the central government. This insurgency saw varying levels of violence between 2004 and 2014. In 2011, large-scale protests inspired by the Arab Spring erupted in Yemen. The Houthis supported these protests and called for the removal of the central government. A transition government was created led by Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. After two years of talks, the Houthis walked away from negotiations for a new government and began to seize land including the capital of Sana. This began the Yemen Civil War. The central government led by Hadi called for outside help and was aided by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Today, the fighting continues.
Meanwhile, extremely dangerous terrorist organizations have taken hold in Yemen. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula controls large swaths of land in Yemen and is seen by the United States as the most dangerous active terrorist group. The Islamic State has also begun to make inroads into the country. The political instability is set against a backdrop of extreme poverty and war related suffering.