The covert war in Yemen, 1962-70

In September 1962, the Imam of North Yemen was overthrown in a popular coup. Imam al-Badr had been in power for only a week having succeeded his father who had presided over a feudal kingdom where 80 per cent of the population lived as peasants and which was controlled through bribery, an arbitrary and coercive tax system and a policy of divide and rule. The coup was led by Colonel Abdullah al-Sallal and a pro-Nasser, Arab nationalist group within the Yemeni military, which proclaimed the Yemen Arab Republic. The Royalist forces supporting the Imam took to the hills and began an insurgency, supported by Saudi Arabia and Jordan, against the new Republican regime, while Nasser’s Egypt deployed troops in North Yemen to shore up the new Republican government.

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