Military Review

Yemeni Rift

Yemeni RiftBeing in one of the most oil-rich regions of the world, on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen was deprived of black gold. Therefore, it is now one of the most impoverished states of the Arab world and Asia as a whole. An additional problem for him was internal division - not only into tribes (this is typical of many Arab countries, including very successful ones), but also into two states. The division into the northern (Turkish) and southern (English) parts took shape in the second half of the nineteenth century. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919, North Yemen became an independent kingdom, South Yemen remained an English colony.


In September 1962, a military coup took place in North Yemen, as a result of which the monarchy was overthrown and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) was proclaimed. The ideology of the new government was not openly communist, but clearly left, by the way, uniquely progressive for this country. In particular, slavery was finally abolished in Yemen. As often happened in the Arab world, the military turned out to be the most advanced part of society.

As was to be expected, supporters of the overthrown king with the support of Saudi Arabia (where, by the way, slavery had not yet been abolished at that time), Jordan and Great Britain launched a civil war in the country. It quickly turned into a classical war, because Naser of Egypt came to the aid of the republican forces, of course, supported by the USSR.

Moscow began massive deliveries weapons Republican Army and Egyptians. From the summer of 1963 to the beginning of 1966, the permanent air bridge Krivoy Rog - Simferopol – Ankara – Nicosia – Cairo – San acted, through which the military transport An-12 of the USSR Air Force flew with the insignia of the Egyptian Air Force. Normal loading of An-12 ranged from 4 to 12 tons of equipment and ammunition or 60 – 70 people of personnel (Egyptian soldiers and officers). Soviet military advisers appeared in the Yemeni Republican army.

The number of Egyptian troops in the YAR was quickly brought up to 40 thousand people (at maximum it reached 70 thousand). Egyptians used widely Aviation (including strategic Tu-16 bombers flying directly from Egyptian territory), which soon began to bomb not only the positions of the rebel monarchists in Yemen itself, but also in Saudi Arabia. She announced a general mobilization and turned to the US for help. The Americans deployed several fighter squadrons to Saudi airfields and sent an aircraft carrier connection to the Red Sea. The British from South Yemen also inflicted several attacks on the troops of the YAR. Egypt and the USSR were not ready for a direct war with the USA and Great Britain for the sake of the Yemeni Republicans, so the war in Yemen took a protracted character. Jordan soon refused to support the monarchists, however, this support was not very noticeable anyway. Several attempts to declare a ceasefire have failed.


In 1967, events occurred that affected the course of the civil war. On the one hand, in June, Egypt suffered a crushing defeat in the Six-Day War with Israel, which sharply limited its ability to support Republicans in the YAR. On the other hand, in July, the British were forced to leave South Yemen, where the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen (PDRY) was proclaimed openly socialist (naturally, it immediately received full support from Moscow). In August, Cairo and Riyadh agreed on a mutual exit from the Yemeni civil war. In October, the Egyptian troops, having lost more than 20 thousand people killed, left Yemen. After that, the monarchists besieged the capital, Sana'a, and, as it seemed, were very close to victory. But the USSR organized an air bridge directly to Sana'a, which helped the Republicans to break through the blockade. The war continued for another two years and ended with the refusal of the monarchists to continue the struggle with the condition of their inclusion in the republican authorities.

Two years later, a short-lived war broke out between the YAR and the Democratic Republic of Yemen (September-October, 1972). It did not bring any real results to either side.

In 1978, the opposition National Democratic Front (NDF) emerged in the YAR, which received support from the Democratic Republic of Yemen and Libya. This led to another inter-Yemeni war, which began on the last day of February 1979. The troops of the YAR crossed the Democratic Republic of Yemen border line in order to stop the support of the NDF. However, in the very first three days of the Air Force, the Japanese Democratic Republic achieved air superiority, shooting down four MiG-17s in air battles, destroying six MiG-21s on the ground and up to seven YAR helicopters. In response, the YAR Air Defense shot down two South Yemen X-NUMX. Democratic Republic of Yemen confidently attacked deep into the YAR. The US urgently handed over YAR 22 F-12 fighters and hired Taiwanese pilots for them. In addition, an air defense system was deployed from Iraq to the YAR (yes, Saddam Hussein fought in this case, albeit very limited, for the US against the USSR). On March 5, the presidents of the YAR and the Democratic Republic of Yemen met in Kuwait, where they signed a peace agreement.

After the signing of the world NDF began to weaken. In May 1982, the Democratic Republic of Yemen completely stopped its support, after which the government forces of the YAR finished off the "front-line soldiers."

As a result of all these events, the YAR almost fell out of the number of allies of the USSR, now the former opponents - Washington and Riyadh - had a much greater influence on Sana'a than Moscow. The YAR aircraft were equipped with both Soviet and Western weapons, in which T-55 and M60, MiG-21 and F-5 got along.

But South Korea became one of the main pillars of Moscow in the third world. Aden has become the most important basing point of the Soviet Navy, allowing control of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, that is, the exit from the Red Sea. The Soviet military base also appeared on the island of Socotra. The North Korean Democratic Republic was fully equipped with Soviet weapons and regularly conducted joint exercises with Soviet sailors and marines.

In January 1986, these very Soviet sailors and marines had to organize an urgent evacuation of Soviet, as well as many foreign citizens, including representatives of Western countries from the Democratic People's Republic of Vietnam, because the country suffered a short but very brutal civil war. During the war, a split occurred inside the country's armed forces, so there was an amazing battle of ground forces against fleet. As a result of this war, the People’s Democratic People’s Democratic Republic seemed to remain in the Soviet sphere of influence, but by this time this concept had quickly lost its meaning. In 1988, negotiations began between the YAR and the People’s Democratic Republic on the unification, which officially took place in May 1990.

The formal peer unification in fact strongly resembled the annexation of the 3-million South by the 10-million North. The president of the united Yemen became the president of the YAR, creeping repressions against the former leadership of the Democratic Republic of Yemen began in the country. At the same time, the Armed Forces of the two countries, in fact, were not united, but were geographically intermixed (some units of the Armed Forces of the YAR were redeployed to the south, part of the armed forces of the NDRY - to the north).

FALL Adena

In April 1994, in the north of the country, the armored brigade of the former Armed Forces of the YAR suddenly attacked and defeated the armored brigade of the former Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Yemen displaced here. The immediate causes of such a frank treachery are still not very clear. Of course, the parties blamed each other for what had happened and began to actively prepare for the war that unfolded in early May. Because of the territorial mixing of military units, the Southerners were able to attack from land and air Sana'a, and the northerners - Aden. Moreover, the Southerners struck several blows at Sanaa with P-17 ballistic missiles, widely known under the western name Scud. The troops of the formally united country began deliberately destroying each other and smashing infrastructure.

The leadership of the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP), formerly ruling in the Democratic Republic of Yemen, called for peace several times, but the President of Yemen (former YAR President, who led the country since 1978), Ali Abdullah Saleh, immediately rejected all appeals. 21 May YSP declared the restoration of an independent Democratic Republic of Yemen, only without the "N", that is, the Democratic Republic of Yemen. The leaders of YSP have refused socialism, having quickly transformed into Islamists. After that, they immediately began to receive assistance from Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Syria also spoke on the side of the southerners, albeit purely verbally. In addition, the Southerners began to illegally buy weapons in Moldova and Bulgaria, but did not have much time to get. The northerners were supported by Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Iran.

By the end of May, the parties basically knocked out each other's regular army, after which they began general mobilization. Here, the notorious advantage was on the side of the northerners simply because of the fact that they had more than threefold superiority in population. All the formations of the former North Korean armed forces in the north were defeated, by mid-June the war had completely moved to the south, the northerners began the siege of Aden. In early July, the battles were already on the streets of the capital of South Yemen. These fights were extremely fierce, but the factor of the numerical superiority of the northerners was decisive. 8 July 1994, Aden fell, by the middle of July the war was over, the remnants of the Southerners left for Oman.

In December, 1995, Yemen suffered a short conflict with Eritrea, which, two years earlier, having finally separated from Ethiopia, decided to seize the island of Khanish in the Red Sea. During the operation, Eritreans accidentally damaged a Russian merchant ship. In 1998, the International Arbitration in The Hague awarded most of the islands of Yemen.

After that, Yemen gradually retrained as "the most important ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism", providing the American forces (first of all - special forces) with a territory to fight against Al-Qaeda banned in Russia. At the same time, paradoxically, the creeping Islamization of the country began. Very quickly strengthened its position in Yemen, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula "(banned in the Russian Federation). This was facilitated by the continued internal fragmentation of the country and the total poverty of the population with its equally total armament (each Yemeni family has at least one Kalashnikov). The very large forces of Yemen consisted of many brigades (more than 50), each of which, in fact, was a tribal military unit. Not surprisingly, it was in Aden that in October 2000 of the year the American destroyer Cole was blown up by a kamikaze boat, sustained heavy damage, and 17 seamen died.


The situation in the country was rapidly deteriorating. In 2004, the Howishi rebels (local Shiites), who demanded autonomy, showed themselves in the north of the country. In September 2009, an open war began between the Yemeni government forces and the Housits. Saudi Arabia, which had lost 73 man during these battles, began to fight on the side of the government. In February, 2010, the government and the Housewits signed a truce, which, however, did not last long. Almost at the same time, in January 2010, Saleh officially declared war on Al-Qaida, which was increasingly active in the south of the country. Since April, 2009, in the same place, in the south, began to act separatists, seeking to restore the Democratic Republic of Yemen (perhaps under a different name). Southerner rebels, Housits ​​and Al-Qaida hated each other, they were united by nothing but even greater hatred for the government of Saleh.

In 2011, Yemen came under the Arab Spring. The first anti-government protests began in January, after which, in fact, another civil war occurred in the country, not between the North and the South, but between tribes on the basis of their relationship to President Saleh. Accordingly, mainly the brigades of the Yemeni armed forces fought among themselves. This, of course, took advantage of Al-Qaida, which quickly established control over a number of regions. In particular, in May a multi-month battle unfolded for the city of Zinjibar in the south of the country, which the Islamists held until September. By November, numerous international mediators (primarily Washington and Riyadh) still squeezed Saleh, convincing him to resign and hand over power to Vice President Al-Hadi, who was successfully elected president in 2012, receiving absolutely democratic 98% of votes . Since such a “democracy” did not suit everyone, the resumption of war was a very short time. Offended Saleh found a common language with some of the former opponents - Housits. What happened next is described in the article “Yemen is the second front for Syria” (“NVO”, 21.04.17). And when and how it all ends - it is absolutely impossible to predict.
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  1. 210ox
    210ox 19 November 2017 07: 45
    A common occurrence. There is no unity, but there is bloodshed. This applies to everyone. But some people, we will not point a finger at this do not take into account. And maybe this is what it is striving for.
    1. xetai9977
      xetai9977 19 November 2017 08: 44
      Thank you for the detailed story. Very interesting.
    2. siberalt
      siberalt 19 November 2017 09: 54
      While the Anglo-Saxons will host the BV, nothing will change there.
      1. Nyrobsky
        Nyrobsky 19 November 2017 10: 46
        Quote: siberalt
        While the Anglo-Saxons will host the BV, nothing will change there.

        This is just one of the factors. But even if you remove the arrogant Saxons from there, then until the Shiites and Sunnis (read Iran and S. Arabia) agree on peace, there will be a massacre for more than a dozen years.
    3. Megatron
      Megatron 19 November 2017 10: 15
      There were photographs somewhere, islands near Yemen, on the banks of which are the old Soviet ISs. I would like to see more.
  2. Herculesic
    Herculesic 19 November 2017 08: 52
    “And the eternal battle, they only dream of peace” is not only about Yemen, it is all over the region! hi
  3. Strashila
    Strashila 19 November 2017 09: 28
    A very good point ... they provided territory for US special forces to fight terrorism ... and Al Qaeda began to sprawl in the country. This trend can be traced around the world.
  4. Old26
    Old26 19 November 2017 12: 22
    Quote: xetai9977
    Thank you for the detailed story. Very interesting.

    Yes, an interesting excursion. I did not expect such material from Alexander Khramchikhin.

    Quote: siberalt
    While the Anglo-Saxons will host the BV, nothing will change there.

    And the same Yemen, there was a time when there were no Anglo-Saxons, but they still cut each other ... And without the Anglo-Saxons.
  5. 16112014nk
    16112014nk 19 November 2017 13: 38
    Quote: Megatron
    There were photographs somewhere, islands near Yemen, on the banks of which are the old Soviet ISs.

    T-34 on about. Socotra
    1. nPuBaTuP
      nPuBaTuP 19 November 2017 17: 24
      And the plastic bag on the trunk, is it like conservation? lol
      1. 16112014nk
        16112014nk 19 November 2017 21: 25
        In general, it looks a little like a package.
        And, most likely, that sand did not get into the barrel of the gun. On three sides of the desert.
        1. nPuBaTuP
          nPuBaTuP 20 November 2017 02: 04
          from this angle it is clear that it is not a package :)
          Even so it’s like conservation wink
          after all On three sides of the desert.
  6. VladGashek
    VladGashek 19 November 2017 13: 45
    In the 80s, Yemeni students studied at our university. Good guys in a beautiful sand-colored form and no socialism in my head. So the "ideas of socialism" are at the top, while the Arabs of the middle class have ordinary worldly wisdom. In the mass of troops, there is the usual poverty of the spirit. The historical excursion of the author is very informative.
  7. polpot
    polpot 19 November 2017 14: 44
    There are places god-cursed Afghanistan and Yemen from this series