The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968

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The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968

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Title: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968
Author: Orkaby, Asher Aviad
Citation: Orkaby, Asher Aviad. 2014. The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: The deposition of Imam Muhammad al-Badr in September 1962 was the culmination of a Yemeni nationalist movement that began in the 1940s with numerous failed attempts to overthrow the traditional religious legal order. Prior to 1962, both the USSR and Egypt had been cultivating alliances with al-Badr in an effort to secure their strategic interests in South Arabia. In the days following the 1962 coup d'état, Abdullah Sallal and his cohort of Yemeni officers established a republic and concealed the fate of al-Badr who had survived an assault on his Sana'a palace and whose supporters had already begun organizing a tribal coalition against the republic. A desperate appeal by Yemeni republicans brought the first Egyptian troops to Yemen. Saudi Arabia, pressured by Egyptian troops, border tribal considerations and earlier treaties with the Yemeni Imamate, supported the Imam's royalist opposition. The battleground between Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and al-Badr was transformed into an arena for international conflict and diplomacy. The UN mission to Yemen, while portrayed as a symbol of failed and underfunded global peacekeeping at the time, was in fact instrumental in establishing the basis for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. Bruce Condé, an American philatelist, brought global attention to the royalist-republican struggle to control the Yemeni postal system. The last remnants of the British Middle East Empire fought with Nasser to maintain a mutually declining level of influence in the region. Israeli intelligence and air force aided royalist forces and served witness to the Egyptian use of chemical weapons, a factor that would impact decision-making prior to the 1967 War. Despite concurrent Cold War tensions, Americans and Soviets appeared on the same side of the Yemeni conflict and acted mutually to confine Nasser to the borders of South Arabia. This internationalized conflict was a pivotal event in Middle East history as it oversaw the formation of a modern Yemeni state, the fall of Egyptian and British regional influence, another Arab-Israeli war, Saudi dominance of the Arabian Peninsula, and shifting power alliances in the Middle East.
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