North Yemeni Civil War 1962-1970

[ 1962 - 1970 ]

Although Ahmad had indicated that he supported many of the popular political, economic, and social demands (e.g., creation of a cabinet with real responsibilities, abandonment of the principle of economic autarky, and the establishment of free public education), his own government soon resembled his father's in nearly all respects. An attempt on Ahmad's life in 1955 only brought about increased repression; in fact, his paranoia concerning the loyalty of the tribal elements prompted a number of irrational acts that eventually cost his son the support of the tribes against the revolution of 1962...

In the north, meanwhile, Imam Ahmad died (of natural causes) in late September 1962, and his son, Muhammad al-Badr, became imam. Within a week, however, elements of the military, supported by a variety of political organizations (and quite possibly some foreign powers), attempted to assassinate the new imam and declared the foundation of the Yemen Arab Republic. The imam escaped into the northern highlands and began the traditional process of rallying the tribes to his cause. The new republic called upon Egypt for assistance; Egyptian troops and equipment arrived almost immediately to defend the new regime of 'Abd Allah as-Sallal...

In North Yemen, the conflict between the imam's royalist forces and the republicans had escalated into civil war. Participation, however, was not limited to the Yemenis: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Jordan supported the royalists, whereas Egypt and the Soviet Union and other communist-bloc states supported the republicans. Britain and the United States, as well as the United Nations, also eventually became major players, even if only at the diplomatic level. By the late 1960s, however, the Yemenis decided that the only logical outcome of the conflict was a compromise, which would have as its most important side effect the departure of the various foreign forces. Accordingly, with the blessing of the two major foreign participants -- Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- the northern Yemenis agreed upon the Compromise of 1970, which established a republican government in which some major positions were assigned to members of the royalist faction. It was, nevertheless, agreed that the imam and his family were not to play any role whatsoever in the new state; accordingly, the imam went into exile in Britain.


In 1962 a military coup overthrew the royalist government in Yemen. Nasser intervened to support the new republican government against the Saudi-backed royalists, who were attempting to regain control. This undertaking proved to be a great drain on Egypt's financial and military resources. At the height of its involvement, Egypt had 75,000 troops in Yemen. Egypt's intervention also increased inter-Arab tensions, especially between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt's defeat at the hands of Israel in the June 1967 War obliged it to withdraw its forces from Yemen and to seek peace. A settlement was achieved at a conference in Khartoum in 1967.

Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and Yemen Arab Republic 1962 1970 View
Saudi Arabia and Egypt 1962 1970 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts