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Volume :16 Issue : 63 1990      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE FREE YEMENI MOVEMENT AND ITS DOCTRINEOF REFORM (1944–1948)

Auther : Dr. Abdul-Aziz Kaid Saif

 

         This study examines the Free Yemeni Movement’s doctrine which climaxed into the historical process that led to the events of the 1948 upheaval.  In this study, I have tried to analyze the change from the standpoint of intellectual history.  The approach used in this study is both historical and analytical.  The historical part focuses on the emergence of the Free Yemeni Party in Aden in 1944 as an opposition party against the Imam regime in Sana’a.  However, the analytical approach is used to examine the basic concept of the party’s doctrine, taking into account the different interpretation and criticism of the 1948 Constitutional Regime’s document, known as Al-Mithaq Al-Watani Al-Muqaddas.

         The most controversial subject was the question of the reformation of the Imamate institution.  The Free Yemeni Movement involved a new sort of awareness that spread through the Arab World.  It brought both new perceptions of the traditional heritage and an attempt to adapt to new ideals.  The Free Yemenis expressed their religious beliefs in terms of their modern education.  They were not “free thinkers”; their ideas were expressed within the framework of the prevailing religious and national concepts and categories.  They were determined to replace the Imam Yahya’s rule with a representative constitutional system.

        Consequently, they formed a coalition that consisted of intellectuals, merchants, state bureaucrats, Sadah, Qadah and army officers.  On February 18, 1948, the above coalition succeeded in bringing about the collapse of Imam Yahya’s regime.

       Although the Free Yemenis’ coalition had succeeded in overthrowing the Imam Yahya’s regime, they didn’t last in power longer one month later, the Crown Prince Ahmad was able to mobilize a counter-attack from the country-side and in effect regained power from the new constitutional regime headed by Sayid Abdullah Al-Wazier.

       The constitutional government failed because it was the work of a number of interest groups who had nothing in common except their opposition to the Imamate regime.  The coalition’s goal was primarily the downfall of the Imam’s reign and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy.  The revolutionaries had no plan to destroy the state’s infrastructure.  Unlike the old regime, they didn’t attempt to mobilize the masses as their economic and class interests would have made this unlikely.

        Yemen’s position with respect to Arab policies was no less important in deciding the fate of the 1948 revolution.  The constitutional government’s struggle to obtain speedy recognition from the Arab League was useless because most of the Arab League states were monarchies and showed no sympathy to the new regime.  On the contrary, they adopted a hostile attitude towards it…..  Nevertheless, the short-lived coup of 1948 revealed the existence of an uncompromisingly nationalistic opposition group whose actions culminated in the successful 1962 revolution, the downfall of the Imamate regime and the establishment of the Republican system.

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