Yemen Recent History

The literary work produced in order to illustrate the dawn of this country and its civilization is varied and abundant. Without all that constituted its legendary part, this literature gives us the certainty that since the most remote times Yemen was inhabited by certainly Semitic peoples, both by race and by language.

But it has been established that the history of the country rests essentially on two periods: the pre-Islamic and the Muslim.

Of the first, which arrived until 630 after Christ, there is no precise information and the dispute has been long to establish which of the two kingdoms, the Mineo and the Sabeus, was the oldest. And of the second it is known that since 631. ninth of the Hegira, there were spontaneous adhesions of Yemeni groups to Islamism, personified both in religion and in politics by Muhammad. Since then, history has been enriched more and more by religious wars and continuous subversions of the imams.

The history that is closest to our times tells us that Yemen was part of the Turkish protectorates of Arabia until the second Balkan war of 1913.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Yemen, a first autonomy was declared on the eve of the First World War. In 1923/24 he extended his dominion to the southern territory of Asir, one of the provinces of Saudi Arabia, still independent.

The delimitation of the borders with the Neged and the nascent Saudi state, carried out on August 18, 1926, was short-lived. On September 2, 1926 a friendship treaty was signed between Yemen and Italy.

The Saudi state was proclaimed on September 21, 1932, and the first conflicts emerged. Ibn Saud began a campaign against the imam of Yemen on 22 March 1934, continuing the conquest program already implemented against Hegiaz and Asir.

Yemen Recent History

With the treaty of June 23, 1934, mediating Britain, Yemen was recognized independent, with some concessions to Ibn Saud. On September 4, 1937, a treaty of friendship between Yemen and Italy was signed in Sana, the capital. On April 16, 1938, Italy and the United Kingdom recognized Yemen’s independence with the commitment not to modify it or let it be modified by others.
On June 19, 1939, Britain recognized Yemen’s sovereignty over the nine islands of Yahya.

At that time, lacking complete knowledge of the country, Yemen was divided into 6 provinces governed by emirs, except the capital Sana, which depended directly on the central government.

And while the economy remained stationary, communications improved with the construction of carriage roads.
In 1945, although it lacked diplomatic representations abroad, the country was admitted to the Arab League and in 1947 to the United Nations.

On May 4, 1946, after an agreement with the United States, Yemen had a loan of $ 1 million from them.

The lack of changes to the state constitution began to provoke the first manifestations of discontent, especially among those citizens who, having studied abroad, were able to observe in practice the backwardness of the laws of their country. At the head of these was the son of the imam, Ibrahim, who in Aden had established a Reform Council and carried out repeated attacks on the government.

The killing of Imam Yahya on 17 February 1948 was attributed to his son-in-law Abdallah Ibn Wazir, who managed to get his successor elected. Two months later, Yahya’s eldest son, Saif Al-Islam Ahmad, ousted him, sentenced him to death and ascended the throne himself.

However, the state did not emerge from its isolation, despite the fact that the whole Arab world, in contact with technical civilization, both European and American, had greatly evolved.

Yemen, although part of the United Nations, remained as an island of the Middle Ages among the advanced world. Meanwhile, all the Jews had been expelled from the country and the Imam, while giving his membership in the United Arab Republic, had done so only to strengthen his personal position within the group of Arab states.

He made no changes to the administration, so much so that when Syria broke away from the United Arab Republic on December 26, 1961, Egypt, on its behalf, also declared itself loose from the federal bond with Yemen.

Imam Ahmad died in September 1962; he was succeeded by his son who, however, was unable to ascend the throne because a group of soldiers, led by Colonel Abdallah Sallal, with a coup d’etat came to power and proclaimed the Republic.

The new state was immediately recognized by both the United States and the United Nations and the Soviet Union in 1963.
The pretender to the throne, Mohammed el Badr, who escaped death, had meanwhile taken refuge in the mountains and, followed by some tribes to him faithful, and with the support of Great Britain, an armed struggle began to regain power. Yemen was divided and immediately two blocs formed as Saudi Arabia sided with the followers of el Badr while Egypt sided with the Republicans.

After alternate phases of fighting, Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed on the cessation of hostilities and withdrew their support. They proposed a popular referendum for the choice of the government institution to be adopted in the country, but everything was useless.
With the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Egypt completed the withdrawal of the huge forces still present in Yemen, having to face an armed conflict elsewhere.

The realists, then, also taking advantage of the rifts that occurred in the republican field, took the opportunity to score some points in their favor. But even on their side serious problems arose because, in the meantime, external support had run out. Thus, while Sallal’s dismissal occurred among the Republicans, El-Badr’s was a realist one. As the unraveling of the monarchist front began to take shape, in March 1970 the Republican Prime Minister Mushin el-Aini met with Saudi representatives in Jeddah to rebuild the state with national pacification.

The new future order was discussed. In which various realist personalities found their place. In December 1970 a new constitution was proclaimed and political elections were called in March 1971.

Once the internal question was settled, the one created on the southern border of the country remained standing. Here military formations opposed to the government of Aden had gathered and tensions began in the early months of 1972. The Arab League strove to end hostilities between the two opposing Yemen and in Tripoli, Libya, an agreement was made for reunification.

In March 1974 a new government was established, chaired by Hasan Makki, but the military led by Ibrahim el-Hamdi, with a bloodless coup d’etat, placed a military junta in government with the specific task of putting order, both economically and administratively. A few days later a provisional Constitution was promulgated with the program of collaboration with the Arab States, but not of alignment.

The northern tribes, however, continued disobedience to the central government and on 11 October 1977, with the killing of Ibrahim el-Hamdi, the country plunged back into the crisis that resolved on 17 July 1978 with the election of Ali Abdallah Salih, although remaining the country divided between north and south.

In 1980 Saudi Arabia, together with the United States, decided to cut financial aid to Yemen. The southern one then turned to the Soviet Union for economic aid. Then, with the consolidation of pro-Soviet politics, contacts were lost with Iraq which, while previously it had supported the same orientation in its country, had recently gone in the opposite direction.

For this reason, President Al ‘al-Nasir Muhammad, while maintaining close relations with Moscow, approached somewhat towards the moderate Arab countries and, in fact, in 1982 he re-established relations with Oman.

In 1983 Salih was re-elected and the following year in southern Yemen Muhammad was dismissed and he left the country and fled to the north with some followers.

This foreshadowed a return to unity and therefore the mediations of the Arab leaders intensified, first of all Gaddafi, president of Libya.

The Central Committee then appointed Prime Minister Haydar Abu Bakr al-Attas as new head of state on February 8, 1986, while Prime Minister became Yasin Sa-Id Nu-Man. The following July 1, Salih met Al-Attas in Tripoli, after having restored the air links between Aden and Sana.

On November 16 Al-Attas was appointed president. In 1987 an important political event was the conclusion of the long trial in absentia against Muhammad and his followers. There were many death sentences and many prison sentences for 15 years.

In 1988 relations with Oman and Egypt were restored, in the meantime broken. Then a five-year economic development plan was formulated and, in collaboration with the Soviet Union, construction began on a 230-kilometer long oil pipeline from Sabwa to the coast.

Following the rethinking of the leaders of southern Yemen, for which they reconstituted themselves to review foreign policy, especially in relation to the Soviet Union, important contacts were established with the north for a possible reunification. And this happened on May 22, 1990, with a new Constitution and with the foundation of the Republic of Yemen. Abdallah Salih, former president of the north, was appointed as president, and Southerner Ali Salam Al-Bid as vice-president. The best way to exploit oil fields was immediately thought of. Amidst a thousand difficulties, the completion of the reunification process continued and on 27 April 1993 the elections were won by the Northern People’s Congress of the People, opposed by the southern Yemeni Socialist Party. The Union for Reforms emerged as the needle of the balance,

And this election, while on the one hand more sanctioned understanding with the Northern Party, on the other hand instead marked a divergence with the Southern Socialist Party, so while the Confederate vice-president, although confirmed, went to settle definitively in Aden Abd al-Magid Zandani, the ideologue of Islam, was elected by the Parliament to join the Presidential Council, made up of 5 members.

With this the ancient hostilities flared up and the civil war resumed. King Husayn of Jordan unsuccessfully proposed a solemn agreement on February 20, 1994; new clashes took place immediately between Sana and Aden.

South Yemen proclaimed an Independent Republic in May but fell on July 7 after a prolonged siege. All the secessionist leaders fled abroad.

In September 1994 Salih made some amendments to the Constitution. On 1 October he was re-elected president and appointed Abd Al-Aziz Abd Al-Gani as prime minister. And in government one third of the preferential votes went to the Islamic Union.

But the ruling coalition, made up of the General People’s Congress and al-Islah, was not calm. While the former recognized the reforms required by the World Bank to provide support, al-Islah refused them. Furthermore, al-Islah reproached Congress for attending an economic meeting in which Israeli officials were also present.

With this situation came to April 27, 1997 when legislative elections were held. It was a genuine triumph for the President’s party; it was thus possible to launch a single-colored government of the General People’s Congress.

However, the repercussions of the civil war continued to be felt, as well as Islamic terrorist attacks, whose main occupation for some time was to kidnap foreign tourists.

In December 1998, the terrorists of the “Aden-Abyan Islamic Army”, during a blitz conducted by the security forces to free them, killed 4 of 16 tourists held hostage. The terrorist leader and some of his followers were sentenced to death in May 1999.


Presidential elections took place the following September and Salih was re-elected with 96% of the vote.

In foreign policy, in 1995 Yemen had reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia for the definition of the borders. Nevertheless, some border clashes occurred in July 1997.

In the same year 1995, Yemen had to endure a fortunately brief armed confrontation with Eritrea with which it argued over control of the al-Hanis islands in the Red Sea. And on this topic, in October 1998, an international arbitration in favor of Yemen was pronounced, officially declaring the matter closed.

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