10. Kingdom of Yemen/Yemen Arab Republic/North Yemen (1918-1990)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (October 30, 1918-February 16, 1948):  Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid Din of the al-Qasimi Dynasty declared the independence of northern Yemen from the Ottoman Empire on October 30, 1918.  In 1926, Imam Yahya declared himself king of the Kingdom (Imamnate) of Yemen.  The Free Yemenis, a group opposed to the government of the Imam Yahya, was formed in Aden in June 1944.  The group was led by Ahmad Muhammad Numan and Muhammad Mahmoud al-Zubayri.

Crisis Phase (February 17, 1948-September 30, 1962):  On February 17, 1948, Imam Yahya, Prime Minister Qadi Abdullah Amri, and two of the Imam Yahya's sons were assassinated on February 17, 1948.  Sayyid Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Wazir, the former governor of Hodeida, was proclaimed the head of state.  Sayyid Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Wazir appointed Emir Seif el-Islam (sixth son of Imam Yahya Muhammad) as prime minister.  Meanwhile, another son of Imam Yahya Muhammad’s son, Emir Seif el-Islam Ahmad, proclaimed himself Imam on February 18, 1948.  Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the League of Arab States (LAS), sent a two-member fact-finding mission to North Yemen on February 22, 1948.  Troops loyal to Emir Seif el-Islam Ahmad suppressed the rebellion and overthrew Sayyid Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Wazir on March 14, 1948.  Sayyid Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Wazir and some 40 other rebel leaders were executed.  On March 21, 1948, the LAS commission issued a report which recognized Emir Seif el-Islam Ahmad as Imam of Yemen.  Some 4,000 individuals were killed during the rebellion.  Some 1,000 individuals were killed in ethnic/political violence between 1956 and 1960.  Imam Seif el-Islam Ahmad died of natural causes on September 18, 1962, and was replaced by his son, Crown Prince Muhammad Badr.  Imam Muhammad Badr was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Abdullah Sallal on September 26, 1962, resulting in the deaths of some 100 soldiers.  Colonel Sallal proclaimed the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) on September 27, 1962, and the Revolutionary Council (RC) headed by Colonel Sallal took control of the government on September 28, 1962.  Egypt deployed 70,000 troops in support of the republican government beginning on September 28, 1962, and provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on September 29, 1962.  The Soviet Union provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on September 28, 1962.  More than 5,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (October 1, 1962-April 14, 1970): Saudi Arabia and Jordan provided military and economic assistance to the Iman’s royalist troops beginning on October 1, 1962. Iman Mohammed Badr fled to Saudi Arabia on October 9, 1962. Iraq provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on October 9, 1962. Republican troops clashed with Saudi Arabian troops in the northeast part of the country on October 17, 1962, resulting in the deaths of 30 Saudi Arabian soldiers. The republican government sentenced fourteen royalists to death on October 18, 1962 (15 royalists were previously executed on September 28-29, 1962). Colonel Sallal was appointed as president and prime minister of the republic on October 31, 1962.  President John Kennedy of the US offered his good offices on November 27, 1962, and provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on December 19, 1962.  Australia provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on December 19, 1962.  The UN General Assembly voted 74-3 to unseat the royalist delegation and recognize the republican delegation on December 21, 1962.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) established a mission headed by Andre Rochat of Switzerland to provide humanitarian assistance to individuals displaced during the conflict.  Ellsworth Bunker, an envoy from the US, began fact-finding and mediation efforts in February 1963. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General U Thant sent Ralph Bunche on a fact-finding mission to Yemen on March 1-4, 1963. The League of Arab States (LAS) attempted to mediate a cessation of military hostilities. The parties agreed to a ceasefire on April 30, 1963. Royalist troops launched a military offensive against the republican government on May 28, 1963. On June 11, 1963, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 179, which established the United Nations Observation Mission in Yemen (UNYOM) to monitor and verify the disengagement of Saudi Arabia and Egypt from the conflict in North Yemen. UNYOM consisted of 189 military personnel from 11 countries commanded by Lt. General Carl C. von Horn of Sweden.  Jordan provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the republican government on July 22, 1964.  UNYOM was withdrawn from North Yemen on September 4, 1964.  President Ben Bella of Algeria and President Aref of Iraq began mediation in Alexandria, Egypt on September 11, 1964. Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed a ceasefire agreement in Erkwit, Sudan on November 3, 1964, and the ceasefire went into effect on November 8, 1964. Republican troops and royalist troops resumed military hostilities on December 3, 1964. Saudi Arabia and Egypt negotiated the signing of a ceasefire agreement between republican troops and royalist troops in Jedda, Saudi Arabia on August 24, 1965. Saudi Arabia agreed to end military assistance to the royalists, and Egypt agreed to withdraw its troops from North Yemen. Republican and royalist representatives held negotiations in Harad between November 23 and December 24, 1965. The royalists accused Egypt of dropping gas bombs on royalist-held territory from December 27, 1966 to July 23, 1967. Tunisia imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of President Sallal on February 11, 1967, and Jordan imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of President Sallal on February 18, 1967. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) investigated the accusations of gas bombs from January 24 to June 2, 1967. Kuwait mediated negotiations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on August 17-19, 1967. Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed a Sudan-mediated agreement in Khartoum on August 31, 1967. The LAS established a three-member military observation commission (Iraq, Morocco, Sudan) to supervise the withdrawal of Saudi Arabian and Egyptian military personnel from Yemen. Saudi Arabia ended its military assistance to royalist troops on October 12, 1967. President Sallal was overthrown in a military rebellion by dissident republicans troops led by Abdel Rahman Iryani on November 5, 1967, and a three-member Presidential Council chaired by Abdel Rahman Iryani took control of the government. Royalist troops resumed military operations against republican troops on November 6, 1967. The Soviet Union provided military assistance (weapons) to the republican government in November 1967. Prime Minister Mohammed Ahmed Mahgoub of Sudan appealed for a ceasefire on December 8, 1967. Egyptian troops completed their withdrawal from North Yemen on December 15, 1967. Saudi Arabia resumed its military support of royalist troops on February 28, 1968, but ended the assistance in March 1968. Saudi Arabia again resumed its military assistance to royalist troops in November 1969, and royalist troops captured Sada on February 17, 1970. Saudi Arabia facilitated negotiations between royalist and republican government representatives in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and the parties signed a peace agreement on April 14, 1970. Some 40,000 individuals, including some 1,000 Egyptian soldiers, were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (April 15, 1970-December 31, 1978): Some 30 leading royalists returned to North Yemen from exile in Saudi Arabia on May 23, 1970. Saudi Arabia provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on July 23, 1970, and Britain provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on July 29, 1970. Elections to the Consultative Council were held between February 27 to March 18, 1971. General Hassan al Amri formed a government as prime minister on August 24, 1971, but he was sent into exile to Lebanon on September 1, 1971. Muhsin el Aini formed a government as prime minister on September 18, 1971. Qadi Abdullah Hijri formed a government as prime minister on December 31, 1972. The government suppressed a rebellion on May 6, 1973, and 39 individuals were executed for subversion between May 19 and August 22, 1973. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Osman, a member of the Presidential Council, was assassinated in Taiz on May 30, 1973. Eight individuals were executed for their involvement in the assassination of Sheikh Mohammed Ali Osman on December 13, 1973. President Abdel Rahman Iryani dismissed Prime Minister Qadi Abdullah Hijri on February 11, 1974, and Hassan Makki formed a government as prime minister on March 3, 1974. President Abdel Rahman Iryani, chairman of the Presidential Council, was overthrown in a military coup on June 13, 1974, and the seven-member Military Command Council (MCC) headed by Lt. Colonel Ibrahim Muhammad Hamadi took control of the government on June 14, 1974. Lt. Colonel Hamadi became head-of-state in 1975. President Hamadi dismissed Prime Minister Muhsin Aini and appointed Colonel Abdel Latif Deifallah as prime minister on January 16, 1975. President Hamadi appointed Abdel Aziz Abdel Ghani as prime minister on January 23, 1975. President Hamadi was assassinated on October 10, 1977, and Lt. Colonel Ahmed Hussein al-Ghashmi was chosen as chairman of a three-member Presidential Council on October 11, 1977. The MCC issued a decree on February 6, 1978, which provided for the establishment of a Constituent Assembly. Ahmed Hussein Ghashmi was elected president by the Constituent People’s Assembly on April 22, 1978. The government suppressed a military rebellion led by Major Aalim in May 1978, resulting in the deaths of some 50 individuals. President Ghashmi was assassinated in Sana’a on June 24, 1978, and a three-member Military Command Council headed by Abdel Karim al-Arashi took control of the government on June 25, 1978. Saudi Arabia condemned the assassination of President Ghashmi on June 25, 1978. The Constituent People’s Assembly elected Lt. Colonel Ali Abdullah Saleh as president on July 17, 1978. On August 10, 1978, the government sentenced 30 military officers to death for their involvement in the May 1978 military rebellion. President Saleh suppressed a military rebellion on October 15, 1978, and 21 individuals were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion on October 27 and November 15, 1978. Some 150 individuals were killed in political violence between April 1970 and December 1978.

Conflict Phase (January 1, 1979-May 31, 1982): The National Democratic Front (NDF) headed by Yahya Shami rebelled against the government beginning in 1979. Libya and South Yemen provided military assistance to NDF rebels. President Saleh appointed Abdel Karim Ali al-Iryani as prime minister on October 15, 1980. The Soviet Union provided military assistance (weapons and 600 military advisors) in support of the government. Kuwait facilitated the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the government and NDF rebels on November 26, 1981. Government troops and NDF rebels resumed military hostilities in southern North Yemen in December 1981. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mediated a ceasefire agreement on April 3, 1982. NDF rebels captured Juban in April 1982, and government troops attacked rebel positions in Juban in May 1982. South Yemen agreed to end its support of the NDF in May 1982, resulting in the defeat of the NDF rebellion.

Post-Conflict Phase (June 1, 1982-May 22, 1990): President Saleh was re-elected without opposition by the Constituent People’s Assembly on May 22, 1983. Elections for the 159-member Consultative Council took place on July 5, 1988. President Saleh was elected head-of-state by the Consultative Council on July 17, 1988. North Yemen merged with South Yemen to form the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990.

[Sources: Al-Abdin, 1979, 36-48; Banks and Muller, 1998, 1022-1028; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 111-112; Brecher and Wilkenfeld, 1997, 324-329; Burrowes, 1987, 1-27, 94-117; Butterworth, 1976, 341-344; Clodfelter, 1992, 1039-1040; Degenhardt, 1988, 413-414; Donelan and Grieve, 1973, 228-232; Facts on File, October 4-10, 1962, October 11-17, 1962, May 23-29, 1963, September 2-8, 1965, June 22, 1974, October 15, 1977, June 30, 1978, November 17, 1978; Jessup, 1998, 816-819; Keesing's Record of World Events, March 13-20, 1948, March 16-23, 1963, February 8-15, 1964, January 16-23, 1965, October 9-16, 1965, July 30-August 6, 1966, February 25-March 4, 1967, August 12-19, 1967, September 23-30, 1967, February 24-March 2, 1968, March 21-28, 1970, June 27-July 4, 1970, August 1-8, 1970, October 9-16, 1971, March 18-24, 1974, July 22-28, 1974, February 3-9, 1975, December 9, 1977, June 9, 1978, November 3, 1978, March 16, 1979, March 6, 1981, November 1983; Middle East Journal (MEJ), Winter/Spring 1963; Middle East Record (MER), 1967; Nye, 1971, 162-163; Nye, 1971, 162-163; O’Ballance, 1971, 65-188; Wainhouse, 1966, 421-435; Weisburd, 1997, 184-186.]