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Volume :6 Issue : 23 1980      Add To Cart                                                                    Download


Auther : By Dr. Rebhi Taher Sahweel


The writer traces the development of the national Yemeni movement since the very early time of its rise. He gives a historical background with a thorough analysis trying to answer a main question, what was the role of the national movement, which was led by a group of army officers, and its influence on the 26 September revolution. Was it the expression of the desire of Yemeni People represented mainly by the national movement?

Imam Yahya came to power after showing courage in liberating Yemen from Ottoman occupation. He was a scholar in Islamic Science as well as philosophy and literature. But he soon turned to be dictator to get rid of his rivals to concentrate power in his hand to drive Yemen to a complete isolation.

The year 1934 witnessed a turning point in Imam’s rule. Firstly when he signed a treaty with Great Britain in which his forces withdraw from several territories in Southern Yemen. Secondly, when he signed “Al-Tayef Treaty” with Saudi Arabia after the treat of Yemeni forces before Saudi’s in Tihama.

These events caused disturbance in his rule and paved the way for the various underground movement to come into existence. The first was “The organization of Struggle” in 1936 under the leadership of Ahmed Al-Muta. Its scheme was to sow dissension between Imam and his loyal men from one side and between his sons, who were called Swords of Islam, from the other side.

It succeeded to cause disturbance and distrust in the system to the extent that Imam appointed his sons in important position occupied by his loyal did and imprisoned most of the Organization’s members. Meanwhile as the opposition increased Imam was obliged to send military and educational missions to some Arab Countries especially to Iraq. These missions, after being in direct-contact with modernization and the growing spirit of Arab nationalism joined secretly to the opposition and most of them were imprisoned in 1930.

In 1938 an intellectual journal was issued called “Journal of Yemen Wisdom”. It concentrated on political reform and cultural subjects. But later the authorities had put censorship on it.

Yemeni People continued their struggle for reform and progress when some of the enlightened vanguard from different social classes managed to organize a new political movement under the name of “Liberals party” under the leadership of Al-Zubairi and Ahmed Noman which was based in “Aden” among the Yemeni Emigrants. It could establish secret branches inside Yemen. It also issued a newspaper “Voice of Yemen’. That new part compelled Imam Yahya to send his son Crown Prince Ahmed to “Aden” to carry a dialogue with its members on reform and constitutional rule.

In 1948 Crown Prince Ahmed launched from “Taiez” a roomer announcing the death of his father Imam Yahya and declared that Yemeni people crowned Abdulla-Al-Wazir as a Constitutional Imam according to the national charter. When leaders of Liberals Party in “Aden” heard this news, they revealed the secret details of the national charter exposing the other liberals inside Yemen who decided to revolt before being captured. They succeeded to assassinate Imam Yahya on 17 February, 1948 and Abdulla Al-Wazir was installed as a legal constitutional Imam but his reign did not last more than 25 days when Crown Prince Ahmed managed to suppress the revolution and put a dramatic end to these revolters, in March the was installed as Imam.

Activities of liberals were reduced after that failure, to a mere correspondence. But after the Egyptian revolution in 1952 Mohamed Al Zubairi established in Cairo “The Yemen Union” and re-issue “Voice of Yeme” newspaper.

Liberals continue their political struggle in Yemen by showing dissension in the royal family. They chose Al-Badr as Crown Prince who understood convincing his father to set free the political prisoners. That choice caused a cleavage to the extent that Imam’s brother Abdulla contacted liberals plotting against Ahmed aspiring to replace him. In 1955 some liberals who support Abdulla as a temporarily stage got in touch with some revolutionary military elements such as Lieutenant Colonel “Ahmed Al-Thulaya” to carry on a coup. They succeeded in attacking the royal palace and compelled Imam Ahmed to renounce the Crown to Prince Abdulla. But that movement faced failure for keeping Ahmed alive and for the liberal’s suspicious attitude towards Abdulla as being an Imperialist agent to the extent that Yemeni Union was dissolved, but for a short time to resume their activities after being allowed to transmit broadcasting from Cairo.

In 1956 “Hashid Conference” followed by rebellious movement in “Hished”, “Nihim” and “Kolan” tribes.

Lieutenant Abdulla Al-lagia with Mohsin Al-Handwana and Lieutenant Al-Olufi who was an officer at Hudaida hospital, which Imam used to visit frequently, placed an ambush. Imam was injured seriously but still alive.

The previous operation regained confidence in Yemeni liberal parties and liberals inside Yemen condensed their contact with revolutionary military elements, which establish a new underground organization: “The organization of the liberal officers”.

In 1962 the sudden death of Imam Ahmed was announced and Crown Prince Al-Badr was installed. In his speech of throne he emphasized that he was going to adopt his father’s policy. The liberals decided to revolt on him before giving him chance to rule. They held a meeting in which they delegate Qadi Abdul Salam Sabra informing marshal “Abdulla AlSallal” that liberals had chosen him as a President.

In the evening of the 25th of September the army was attacking the royal palace in Sana’a to announce the second day the birth of Yemen Arab Republic after hard struggle against Imamate Reign.

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