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Roots of New Gulf Crisis: Situation in Yemen in 2004-2015 in Facts

© AP Photo / Hani MohammedPeople search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015.
People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. - Sputnik International
On March 26, Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf countries embarked on a military operation in Yemen. The operation started following a request from Yemen's President Hadi for military aid.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The armed conflict in Yemen between Shiite rebels and government forces has been going on since 2004.

The hostilities have resulted in numerous victims and damaged the regional economy. The Zaidi Shiites in Yemen accuse the government of discriminating against the Shiite minority, call for the restoration of a Shiite Imamate, which was overthrown in the September 1962 revolution, and demand that their rights be officially recognized.

In 2009, hostilities moved into an active phase involving the Shiites, Yemeni government troops, and Saudi Arabian forces. In 2010, a truce was agreed upon.

On January 27, 2011, thousands took to the streets in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule, which had lasted since 1978.

According to the country's authorities, more than 2,000 people were killed and over 22,000 injured. Hundreds of people died during mass protests across the country and thousands were wounded. Popular unrest unfolding in Yemen after the Arab Spring uprisings developed into an armed conflict between the opposition and the police.

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On June 3, 2011, Saleh was badly wounded during an attack on a mosque and left for Saudi Arabia for treatment. He returned to the country only in September. In November, he signed an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to settle the Yemeni crisis. However, the transfer of his power to the vice-president in November 2011 did not put an end to the unrest.

Protesters voiced misgivings over the GCC deal, under which the former head of state received immunity, and demanded that Saleh go on trial.

In February 2012, a snap presidential election was held in Yemen in accordance with the GCC plan. Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was elected as president for a transitional period.

Mass Shiite protests resumed in mid-August 2014, with the protesters demanding the government step down.

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On September 21, Houthi rebels took control of the country's capital, Sanaa, claiming that it was something they "had to do," since they believed that the authorities had ignored the interests of the Shiite minority and excluded it from running the country. Civil unrest resulted in the resignation of Mohammed Basindawa's government.

On September 22, 2014, Yemeni authorities and rebels signed a truce deal.

On October 7, 2014, the Yemeni president appointed Prime Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak head of his staff after obtaining approval from the leaders of the country's political parties. Mubarak was expected to form a new government in line with an understanding between the authorities and some political parties, including the Houthis.

However, the Houthis refused to recognize Mubarak as prime minister and called on their supporters to hold protests.

On October 9, the Yemeni prime minister tendered his resignation, arguing that he lacked the support of the Shiite rebels.

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In November 2014, the Yemeni president signed a law to form a government of national unity. Yemen's Permanent Representative at the United Nations Khaled Mahfoodh Bahah was appointed prime minister. Despite protests by the Houthi rebels, the government was sworn in before the country's president.

In January 2015, the situation in Yemen began to deteriorate once again. A group of Shiite rebels attacked the prime minister's motorcade in Sanaa. Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak was not hurt during the incident.

On January 20, armed fighters from the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) took control of the presidential palace in the Yemeni capital.

After the Shiites assumed de-facto control of the Yemeni capital, the president reached a deal with the rebels, promising that the opposition would become involved in running the country.

On January 22, 2015, he tendered his resignation to the parliament. The Yemeni government headed by Khaled Bahah also decided to step down.

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In his letter to the parliament, Hadi called on ministers to start working with him from the city of Aden, where he had moved from Sanaa. According to reports by Yemeni media, he was allowed to move there by the Houthis after mediation efforts by Iran and Oman, who made Hadi's security a precondition for not opposing the constitutional declaration by the rebels and refraining from interfering in the formation of a new government.

However, Hadi declared the Houthi decisions "illegal" right after moving to Aden.

In March 2015, the situation in Yemen deteriorated even more against the background of an ongoing political crisis. The terrorist organization al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operated in the country's south, with the central regions of Yemen becoming an arena for hostilities between army units loyal to the president and Houthi supporters.

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On March 22, Houthis and army units supporting former president Abdullah Saleh took control over the country's third largest city Taiz. There were contradicting reports on Houthis taking over Aden.

Yemeni president Hadi officially asked the Arab League to bring in its troops in order to stop the Houthi advance on Aden, from where he governed the country after leaving Sanaa.

On March 25, the US Department of State said that Hadi had left his Aden residence.

On March 26, Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf countries embarked on a military operation in Yemen. The operation started following a request from Hadi for military aid.

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