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The capital of Yemen has been seized by Shiite rebels. Sept. 21, 2014.

The small Arab nation of Yemen is where the “Arab Spring” began, and its citizens have had nothing but political turmoil and warring factions since then. Yemen is located on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

The population of Yemen is 65 percent sunni Muslim and 35 percent Shia. But on Sunday, Sept. 21, there are reports that the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, has been seized by Shiite rebels, and that the Yemini Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa has resigned.


The Shia rebels have been battling Sunni troops for days. Earlier in the day, a UN envoy, Jamal Benomar, announced that pro-government forces and Shiite rebels were about to sign a deal. Despite that announcement, the shelling and gunfire did not let up, residents have fled, shops are shuttered, flights are grounded and the Al-Iman University has been ordered closed until mid-October.

While Shiite are in the minority in Yemen, they are more populous in the northern highland region, which is where Sanaa, the capital, is located.

Yemen has been wracked with political turmoil since former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted from power in 2012.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]