Yemen (Arabic: اليَمَن al-Yaman), also known as the Republic of Yemen (Arabic: الجمهورية اليمنية al-Jumhūriyyah al-Yamaniyyah) is a country located on the southern tip of Arabia, bordered to the south by the Gulf of Aden, the north by Saudi Arabia and the east by Oman. Once part of the Ottoman Empire, the north of the country became independent in 1918. The Aden area, a long-term British colony due to its strategic position on the edge near the Red Sea, became independent after an insurgency in known as the Aden Emergency by the British, where the British withdrew earlier than planned in 1967. Two years later, the country became Communist. The North was fairly neutral in the Cold War, while South Yemen became a Soviet client state, but relations were friendly. In 1990, after long discussions, the two countries unified. A brief civil war broke out in 1994, which the government won. Today, it can only be called a failing state, with much of the government run by tribes, two civil wars going on (with Shia Houthi rebels and Islamist separatists) where the Americans are involved in a manner that may or may not involve Tomahawk cruise missiles, a high illiteracy rate and dwindling oil and water supplies. And, as if that weren't enough, the country saw massive protests in early 2011, which have resulted in President Saleh's vows to resign. On November 23, Saleh officially signed an agreement drawn up by the Gulf Cooperation Council to begin a power transfer, bringing an end to his 33-year reign.
The flag's red, white and black stripes, all taken from the Pan-Arab colors, symbolize the blood of the fallen, hopes for a bright future, and Yemen's troubled past, respectively. The stripes were a common element of the flags of North Yemen and South Yemen, both of which featured a green star at the center and a sky-blue chevron with a red star on the hoist side, respectively.