Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Backgrounder About Yemen and the Middle East Reset
From Stop Shouting:
Yemen lurks in the back corner of news bureaus in America due to the sheer discomfort that the subject brings up for the talking heads of D.C. What is it about this remote, yet strategic corner of land at the south east corner of the Arabian peninsula that should captivate the reader's attentions?
Information Bullet # 1
Geography. Like most things, geography will explain a lot to the observant.
Yemen's position is astride the Strait of Mandeb (Bab al Mandeb), which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Appropriately, this means “Gate of Tears” ( باب المندب) in Arabic . A narrow passage about 20 miles wide, with small islands interspersed throughout, it hosts two internationally significant shipping channels.
Through this key and narrow choke point, trade flows to and from Europe. It is a major export route for petroleum to Europe, and finished value-added goods from Europe to all points in the East, as the primary shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian ocean.