The evolution towards Yemeni statehood can be viewed as the convergence of two separate and conflicting societies. North Yemen, know known as the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), was ruled by the Ottoman Empire until its dissolution. In sharp contrast, South Yemen was ruled by the British until 1937 when it became a crown colony. The land that did not fall under crown colony designation became two separate protectorates. Over the next few years rival factions – the Marxist National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) – were engaged in a power struggle.

CIFP Yemen Brief